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Get Your Frankenfreak On with JennyPop.com

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Here at Retro-a-go-go! we appreciate all sorts of artwork as well as artists, like Mitch O’Connell and Shawn Dickinson to name a few.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Jennifer Susannah Devore. She is an artist and a published author and is always up for having fun and most importantly she refuses to participate in “adulting” much like myself.

Every year at San Diego Comic-Con she purchases a new parasol from our booth and has a lot of fun with it. Last year, she cos-played as Scooby-do’s Daphne one day and Velma the next. Our parasol has never looked better.

But that is not all, in addition to being a terrific model, she is also the "Longest-running contributor w the longest name" in SDCC Souvenir Book history with 10 yrs. of published articles. Her writing is peppy and interesting just like she is.

She likes what we are about at Retroagogo!, including all of our mischief, that she wrote a terrific and fun-to-read article. By the time I was done reading the article not only was I flattered, but I said to myself after reading it, “I LOVE RETROAGOGO!” After 16 years of owning this business with all the ups and downs, it felt so special to feel real love for it all over again. Here’s the article—it will not put you to sleep I promise, it is punchy, clever and filled with good Energy just like, Jennifer Susannah Devore herself!



Get Your Frankenfreak On: Retro-a-go-go!

Re-published with permission from JennyPop.com

"We make what we love. So being passionate is a big part of the equation. If we don't feel a product or design has our thumbprint of originality, quality, and uniqueness we don't create it or offer it. Our aim is to make you smile with some funny gifts peppered with our own brand of smart-ass humor."

Kirsten Pagacz, founder/co-owner and Big Chief in Charge, Retroagogo.com

For many an Earthling, a quick assessment of 2020 might lead to the same conclusion: "Adulting bites!". As a Disney-weaned-and-raised, adult-toddler suffering from a, self-diagnosed, severe, adulting allergy, 2020 not only has me crying and reaching out for my fave blanky, TV, but also for my fave purveyors of the fun, the funky and the feel-good. Some folks indulge in comfort food, some in risky behaviour. Moi? Media and Mastercard, in moderation, of course. A preferred purveyor is the delightfully devilish domain of Retroagogo.com (Ragg!): recognizable to some of you JennyPopCom Instagram followers, as JennyPop's unofficial parasol supplier.

So, the world wasn't perfect mid-Century. We know this. You know what was perfect, though? Saturday mornings ... and the cereal, before hippies took all the fun out of our breakfast. (I know of what I speak, because, raised by well-meaning , NorCal hippies, Moi was subject to oatmeal, wheat germ or a poached egg on wheat toast every morning.) Cruel sugar-rations implemented during WWII, led to an inevitable dumptruck of pure cane goodness generously added to post-War cereals. With the reintroduction of sugar, came real breakfast fun: back-of-the-box mazes to do as you watched Scooby-Doo (soooo easy to solve), bowls of blue or pink milk to slurp when all the cereal bits were gone, plus all the dorky mascots children, and many adults, still cherish today. What better time than now, amidst the weirdest couch-potato contest in modern recollection, to indulge in comfort TV and comfort sugar highs, at least the happy memories thereof? I mean, really, what's better than a sugar-crash nap in front of the TV, peacefully drifting in and out to the antics of Scooby-Doo, Spongebob or Grandpa Munster?

Aside: borrowing from a Big Bang Theory convo re: breakfast-cereal mascots, why no chicks? With the exception of Strawberry Shortcake and Barbie, neither of whom I've seen on the shelves in a very long while, they're all dudes. Although, to be fair, I don't do the grocery shopping and even when I do tag along, I only pay attention to the chip aisle, wine aisle and wherever they keep the Swedish Fish. Come to think of it, are all Swedish Fish male? The Volvo symbol is actually the male symbol:; also it represents the chemical symbol for iron and the god of war, Mars. I digress ...
 

Raj: I did the research. Tony the Tiger, Dig'em the Frog, Cap'n Crunch, Toucan Sam, Count Chocula, Trix the Rabbit, Snap, Crackle and Pop. Not one cereal mascot is a girl. It's a total breakfast sausage fest. Leonard: Are we done with this? Raj: Almost. Franken Berry, Boo Berry, Sugar Bear and the Honey Nut Cheerio bee, I believe his name is Buzz.
-The Big Bang Theory, "The Egg Salad Equivilency" (S6e12)

So, maybe Saturday morning monsters don't get your happy memories revving. How about Elvira, Bettie Page, wicked mermaids, rockabilly, tiki culture, retro Ford, Mars Attacks or The Munsters? Whatever floats your feelgood boat, whatever makes your devil puss purr, whatever your freak, get it on at Retro-a-go-go! Ragg specializes in yesteryear. A lot of folks like yesteryear, yore, olden times, back when, the good ol' days, den guten alten Zeiten and alllll the other times Rachel Greene can name. From General Mills to General Motors, from hot rod to hot chicks, retro and vintage galore awaits you with a wink and tip of the gas station attendant's cap, all showroom-shiny and straight off the assembly line in all-American, Howell, MI.

STOP ADULTING! It's tedious and boring! Isn't it about time to brighten up your own face and heart with your happy memories of being a kid?
-Retro-a-go-go! Big Chief in Charge, Kirsten Pagacz

Nestled in the historic, Detroit-suburb of Howell, MI, a farmers' market and Autumn festival kind of town where one wouldn't be surprised to see Pee Wee Herman contentedly bicycling, sits Retro-a-go-go! HQ. On a Mayberryesque street, in a modest brick building, tagged with space-retro, Jetsons-styled, mid-Century-turquoise signage, hums the full Ragg operation. Sure, a tour around their brick-and-mortar or supafun website evokes a full-time funhouse. Yet, as any business-owner will tell you, there's some wicked work ethic behind all the carousels and cotton candy kiosks.

Rocketing from "a kitchen table business" to a full-blown, operational warehouse, including Michigan-manufacturing and shipping, started with a prosaic, de rigueur train ride to Chicago, to visit the fam. Toodling along the rails, Kirsten perused her latest copy of Prick magazine ... tattoos, kittens. Minds out of the gutter. Therein, she spied something she really liked, really needed. All it took was that one little prick: hot rod, rockabilly and pin-up tattoo artist of note, Mitch O'Connell. Within a year, Kirsten and her husband, deadly Doug P'Gosh (Ragg artist and Art Department Head) had licensed O'Connell's work, as well as the unearthly va-va-voom of unrivaled, 1950s, pin-up vixen, Bettie Page. Bettie was their first, as Kirsten tells it.

Fifteen-plus years later, Ragg is still the purveyor of, amongst myriad themes, the OGs: Bettie Page and Mitch O'Connell. Sharing shelf space with Bettie and Mitch is a Who's Who of American pop-culture: The Munsters, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Vampira, Hershey's, Pepsi Co., Weird-Oh's, Bela Lugosi, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Elvira, Mondo, NBC Universal, Mars Attacks, Doug P'gosh, Ghoulsville, General Mills and bonkers more. Available on a bevy of kitsch, Ragg just might be a great place to start your Xmas or Hanukkah shopping. It's never too early! You know there's somebody on your list who loves, nay, needs, a retro tee, tin sign, flask, lighter, embroidered patch, enamel pin, parasol, wallet, tiki barware, silk scarf, cocktail ring or even original artwork.

Before you go ... shall we play a game?

Marry, kiss, kill ... Boo-Berry, Franken Berry, Count Chocula?
(Wait, that's just supa wrong.)


Marry, kiss, kill ... Lily Munster, Bettie Page, Elvira?
(There, that's way better.)

For now though, we're talking Hallowe'en and Ragg's runaway best-seller is the Giant Ghoulsville Mask. At 19" tall, these Vac-tastic plastic, 3-D, high-relief masks are, as Ragg! founder Kirsten waxes romantically, "thoughtfully inspired by our warm memories of costumes, characters and playsuits of the 60's-70's found at the local Five & Dime Stores". With characters ranging from Pumpkin Puss to every Munsters character, from voodoo skulls to space zombies, from toxic brides to Hot Stuff devils, Ghoulsville masks can funkify any espace d'ennui that needs a funfusion of lighthearted, happy horror. Still hankering for a Saturday morning sugar high? 3-D masks are also avail in your fave, General Mills monsters: Boo-Berry, Franken Berry and Count Chocula,

Clearly, Ragg can outfit your personal Haunted Mansion, year-round. Yet, for Hallowe'en, pay special attention to their spookiest swag selections of The Munsters, Pumpkin Puss, Hot Devils, Mars Attacks, Ghousville and General Mills monsters. Whatever 7-yr-old You needs, Retro-a-go-go! has, save the pastel-colored milk in your bowl. That's on you.

Kirsten Pagacz is right. Stop adulting! Well, as much as possible. Sometimes, you have to pay the mortgage or take your dog to the vet. Yet, if you can plaster your walls, and life, with enough silly to stimulate the sunny side of your soul, think how grand each day could be! In an arrested state of silly, Moi is always on the lookout for oases of merry ... then, one day, I saw an oasis of the horror-silly. It was Ragg!

I first happened up Ragg at San Diego Comic-Con, where the freak and the chic come to geek. Since that first visit, approx ten years ago, Ragg has become a JennyPop must-visit at SDCC, primarily for their fab and funky parasols.

Be it an SDCC or Viva Las Vegas Rocabilly Weekend booth, their Howell, MI brick-and-mortar store or their website, Retro-a-go-go! is a frabjous place to visit. As Kirsten hopes, "You might grow nostalgic for places you've been before or be turned on to new things that you are seeing for the first time ... ". As with world travels, one often brings back souvenirs to recall fond times. Maybe it was Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, Boston, Aruba, Vegas, San Francisco, Dubai or Disneyland (Oh, Lady Fortuna, when will we get to go to Disneyland again?!); or, maybe it's your childhood? If you can bring back childhood souvenirs, to recall fond times, especially now, why wouldn't you? Find your pep, make some joy, even if just for a bit. Add something to your day that gives you a smile, even for a twee glance, a quick peek at a little piece you, and maybe only you, love. Go-go on then! Get yourself some hometown happy and please your brain at Retroagogo.com!

As for the Big Chief in Charge, if she wasn't Wunderkind-ing enough, running herself Ragg-ed with the sickly sweet stench of kitsch success, Kirsten is also a pubished authoress, having penned a witty memoir of mental health, in a most pleasing, LOL, read aloud in the car, kind of David Sedaris-style: Leaving the OCD Circus: Your Big Ticket Out of Having to Control Every Little Thing

My OCD was like a secret friend that always had interesting things for me to do.

As with martinis and vintage cocktai hats, one published book is never enough. (Moi? Perpetually on #6, of all of the above.)

"I am presently writing another book," informs Kirsten. "I consider it a dark comedy! Life is absurd and laughing is the cure!"

Why wouldn't you buy a giant Lily Munster mask, Bettie Page paraasol or Creature From the Black Lagoon tiki mug from this chick? I'm going to, right now ... well, after I pay the mortgage.

Happy Hallowe'en, kittens! Stay safe, stay sage, stay silly!


Make sure to Check her out even more on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter and see her author page on Amazon.

I have bought and I am currently reading, “Being the Account of a Young London Squirrel” from the Savannah of Williamsburg series. I am also looking forward to reading, “The Darlings of Orange County".

You just don’t know what she is going to do next, but rest assured, it will be genuine, original and creative!

Thanks for the great article, Jennifer and most importantly, for being truly awesome.

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