Bean Jam

Bean Jam

Nashville, here we come! Last year I waxed poetic about Nashville, the birthplace of my father.  Just down the road in Columbia, TN where my grandfather was born.   At the State Capital in Nashville there’s a tomb of a distant relative, and littered across the cemeteries many a Cathey find their residence, and of course, Cathey’s Creek, with a church by the same name, and certainly an adjoining cemetery which holds the bones of my relatives.  Apparently, Catheys still reside on Cathey’s Creek Road, so the church parishioner says, as we pulled up in our rented mini van, headlights blazing, much to her surprise…I hollered out the window, “Hello, my name is Jonathan Cathey.  I think this place was named after my family!”  She seemed indifferent, however hospitable, and revealed there might be a few of “us” buried out back.   The conversation taking place among the flicker and flare provided by the jubilant fire flies, creating a soft canopy of glowing dots scattered throughout the thick air, and the serenade of crickets, and other insectly beasts, however, serene, and peaceful.  I quite much like Cathey’s  Creek.  I can see why my relatives settled there a century or two ago

In a sweet twist of luck I’m able to trace my roots with the advent of Bean Jam, not having visited Tennessee other than a time, many moons ago.  A Southern California resident, life long, where the mighty blue Pacific holds my heart, and always will.  I’ve had a natural curiosity to explore Tennessee for obvious reasons but hadn’t.  Leave it to a friendly guy, with a glass half full outlook, who inspires positivity, friendship, togetherness, community, and passions, contagious to all he encounters…the man with the effervescent slogan, rebranded from the My Little Pony dogma, “Friendship is Magic.”  It certainly is, sir.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to explore my roots, during an event which is all about bringing like mindedness, friendships, shared passions, and creative values together for a night of fun, revelry, surprises, prizes, laughs, hugs, and a beer or two.  Thank you for the friendship.

Bean Jam is a celebration of community, an offshoot of Fan Jam for the folks who’s cars, trains, and aero-planes can't make the journey to San Diego, we decided to bring it smack dab in the heart of the nation, the literal chest, not so far from the mighty Mississipi, near the Great Smokey Mountains, the famed Applachians, and to the pulsing beat of Music City, right on the doorstep of Mr. BB King’s, the gentlemen suitor for none other, the lovely lady Lucille, god rest his soul.

This year will not disappoint.  New games, familiar games, new faces, new friendships, familiar friendships, great prizes, surprises, swag, hugs, eats, drinks, beers, and high fives!  We’re going to turn this mutha out!  Tomorrow, I’ll post the Fan Jam blog just to prove that we can turn this mutha out, and the moving pictures will instruct how we turn this mutha out!  Without further ado, here are the particulars:

Where:  BB Kings, 152 2nd Ave North, Nashville, TN 37201

What:  Bean Jam – includes food, drinks, swag bags, games, prizes, surprises, and a heck lots more.

When:  Sunday, Aug 25th – 6p-9p.

Tickets:  Tickets go onsale, tomorrow, Friday Aug 9th, at Noon PDT @  Tickets are $100.00/ea, only a two ticket maximum purchase per person purchasing.

Capacity:  Only 80 tickets will be available.

Purchasing Rules:  No refunds, no swaps via TLS, no trades via TLS – make certain that you know you can go, we will not honor refunds even if the excuse is good.

See everyone in 2 weeks!

TLS at Comic Con, Part III - Fan Jam!

TLS at Comic Con, Part III - Fan Jam!

This year marked the 5th annual Fan Jam.  An idea first presented by a friend of the Company, with the simple implication, “Let's do something special for folks who like, and support TLS”.  Great idea (I thought), a fan appreciation event but without the walls and borders between folks who like TLS and the folks who work at TLS…a “break down the velvet rope” style event in which we all mingle, chop it up, share our passions, have some good eats, a few drinks – a “Jam” of sorts.  I, coming from the music side of things (“things” being an operative for just about anything), and often default to music analogies – I liken my Company to a bunch of musicians, on tour, in a van, all playing our part to make a song, our products, the actual song.  Everyone playing a role, creating symphonic harmony, and not exclusive to just the folks building the products but inclusive to the folks participating with the products through the retelling of story, the joy of collecting, sharing, trading, selling – the plenary whole.   Or, a “jam” – we all play!  Naturally, the event would be called “Fan Jam” – we’re all fans, we all get to play.  

The first Fan Jam was at a DIY steakhouse.  That’s the definition of “Jam”…literally; everyone cooked his or her own steak.  We sat at group tables, we mingled, we ate, we drank, we shared, we introduced, we made new friendships, we cemented old ones.  Also, the first exclusive Fan Jam item, a signed, and numbered print on archival paper documenting the range of Transformer Action Vinyls released to the present per the present, but aptly now in the past, being 5 years has expired since.

We quickly realized this might be an event we could recreate, making it an annual tradition, if we could amplify the participation.  We ditched the diy steak in favor of prepared steak, found a bigger venue, a good one for feeding guests, and intimate enough to encourage dynamic engagement through sharing, show and tell, games, activities, and competition.  I called a good friend, an owner/founder of Tender Greens, “Hey man, can I rent your restaurant out for the night?”  He quickly replies, “Sure.”  That was that.  My buddy is a visionary – he cares about the planet, sustainable food solutions, urban farming…he’s a teacher, mentor, an inspiration, a frequent guest of Ted Talks, and I’m lucky to call him a friend.  A liege to conscious constructs, it's a no brainer to support a business like Tender Greens, and knowing the quality is top notch, the TLS Army will certainly enjoy the banquet.  I had outfitted 5 of his restaurants with art.  I had curated and produced two restaurants arcades with the help of artists who are friends; the other three were outfitted with my personal art.  We're creatively connected through our experiences (Erik and I), and I owning a creative business, let's keep those channels and circuits open, a boogie down at Tender Greens makes perfect sense.  In short, Fan Jam 2 was held at Tender Greens, splitting from the seams, packed, and loaded with bounteous energy, a true Jam.  Folks were happy, naturally let’s partake in a Fan Jam 3!

Fan Jam 3 launched like a birr, an exertion, and intensity, a room filled with high spirits, and joy. 

Fan Jam 4, splitting from the seams, double stitched even.  Fevered pitch.

Fan Jam 5 – this year, equally powerful.  I understand there’s a need for more space, to include more participants, it’s clear that the will to participate exceeds the capacity…the event, certified provenance, is best in an intimate setting for the exchange; games, one on ones, group activities, competitions, team work...if we go too big we loose the rendering, and value of creative and meaningful participation.  I curate the activities but the show is the participants, and I would hate for that stage to flip where the participants are TV watching as we try our best to perform a dance or two to the delights of some.  We will figure it out for Fan Jam 5, with the intent to include all, the very least all we can. 

Fan Jam 5 did not disappoint, you, the TLS Army brought “it”, and by “it”, I mean “IT”, as in CAPITAL I.T.; passion, devotion, fun, exuberance, imagination, you know, the “IT”!  Thank you to all who came, we have a deep love affair; the TLS Company, and the TLS community, certainly a harmonious matrimony.  I had a great time hosting.  A special thanks to the TLS Crew for their tireless, hard, imaginative, talented, and awe-inspiring work.  A special thanks to Steve Johnson for really being the inspiration, and driver, if not, the motivator to make Fan Jam what it is, a fun, engaging celebration for everyone.  Here’s to another great year on the books, and many more to come!  Enjoy the video…the TLS Film Crew duo crushed it as always.

Last thought – this was TLS’ 10 year Anniversary!  We’ve muscled it out for 10 years, through the thickets and such, growing the TLS mission each year, exponentially.  Thank you to all who came to help celebrate our decade old existence.  Here’s to 10 more!


Alien Day Exclusive at Hot Topic!

Alien Day Exclusive at Hot Topic!

When I was 19 I got a job at a NaNa, a sort of punk rock atelier.  A fresh face from Orange County, new to LA, just enrolled in Santa Monica City College, came to LA to play in bands, make records and make it big (so I thought).  Anything music related I was drawn to.  I had begged a friend’s girlfriend who had managed a NaNa location on 3rd Street in Los Angeles (across the street from where the Orlando Hotel stands now), for a job, any job!  I had a crap car, some punk rock tee shirts, camo shorts, Vans, a drum set and nothing more.  I didn’t know if I were going to be homeless or famous. I needed a job!  Those Stafford Loans were micro and ordering a pizza was an opulent expense.  Fortunately, Jill (my friend’s girlfriend at the time) took pity on my poor dimpled cheeks, and gave me a job.  My job?  I skated out in front of the store for hours until pretty girls would walk in, ask for Doc Martins and I would (coquetry) fetch sizes and colors batting bashful eyes.  It was a great job for a drummer with no money, who loved to skate. 


I would bring my skateboard to SMCC.  There I would skate in the quads, practicing kick flips ad naseum.  There were few other kids kick flipping their days away.  Soon we became a cult of kick flippers, a crew of sorts.  Mike Eizinger from Incubus and Mickey Madden from Maroon 5 were among the Kick Flippers.  A guy with a cow print shaved head would sit in with us, draw cartoons and make hilarious jokes.  He would try his hand at kick flipping, shave layers of skin off his shins then go right back to drawing cartoons and telling jokes, in a slurpy lisp.  Eventually, a punk rock girl with short blue hair joined in and eventually our slurpy, lispy friend pulled his attention to this blue haired girl.  That girl was a 16-year-old Tara McPherson.  How she started a Junior College at 16?  I have no idea, but she was there. 


So, what does this all have to do with Aliens?  A lot!


I remember Aliens as a kid.  These creepy, slimey cockroach shell-ish looking humanoid creatures that killed in a mindless, annihilation, hive like way.   Anything that moved was fair game for a ravenous slay.  Cut to my slurpy, lispy friend and his new girlfriend.  My friend was a huge H.R. Giger fan.  I had no idea who H.R. Giger was.  My friend knew a ton about Mr. Giger.  I had a friend in high school that played guitar.  He couldn’t jam because he couldn’t ride on a riff long enough to get a groove down, he was always toggling to micro riffs that had nothing to do with one another, not like a “prog” way, but in a “I have no idea what I’m doing and I can’t jam” way.  This guy was really into Fangoria.  First time I saw a poster of Pinhead was in this guy’s room.  I had a poster of Michael Jordan and some guy getting barreled at Pipeline in my room.  I was new to this horror as fanship world.  I digress.  Cut back to my shaved head friend with the cow print dye job – he and his girl moved into an apartment behind an alley in Santa Monica.  They lived upstairs.  Their house was a confectionary of Toys, Nostalgia and Horror.  I had never seen anything like it – Robby the Robot, Shogun Warriors, Star Wars toys and they had a huge Alien toy!  It scared the shit out of me!  I would sometimes crash there and I would be forced to stare at this eyeless drooling banana shaped-head death creature, and a large figure of Pinhead!  WTF!  I couldn’t think of a more unpleasant place to sleep – my sleeping totems where a large deadly alien and the demon man, Pinhead.  Joy!  I would look at the other wall and there was a Geiger poster, which had tails and ingested mechanisms coming out a half woman creature with exposed breasts.  Needless to say, I slept light and had a few strange dreams at their place.  This was the first time I heard the term “Xenomorph” – I was like “Xerox-wha?”  “What the hell are you saying?”  It left an impression.  This was around 1994.  Eventually, I was filled on the whole Giger story, saw all the Alien movies and became a fan of the hive, and those trying to survive the hive.  Really a story of species dominance and survival, for both!  Here I am, 24 years later and I’m making little Xenomorphs that are magically fun to play with!  What are the odds!


We’ve been working on Aliens for almost a year – increasing the articulation, the poseability, the play value, the accessories – Aliens is TLS’ Gold Star Standard!  What better way to preview Aliens than to have a one off, limited edition matte black Xenomorph with a spring loaded inner jaw, bendy tail, with 15 points of articulation, a commemorative Alien Day foot stamp and collectors packaging, and ONLY available online at Hot Topic!  Check Hot Topic’s webstore for availability.  Don’t sleep on this one, these are gorgeous.  I think Giger would approve!


Alien Day Update!

Alien Day Update!

I’m sure you’ve heard it before.  It goes by many names; Murphy’s Law, Mercury in Retrograde, Human Error, Bad Luck, Black Cats, Lucky Number 13...if you believe in superstitions or voodoo (I do), some times the Universe has its own inexplicable plan and the best thing you can do is surrender to it’s omnipotent and unrelenting forces.  In the end, everything gets a fair shake, things pan out, people quench their satisfactions and all will right itself in the ancient order of great feels and timely (delayed) wants. 


Planes, Trains and Automobiles…no, really.  Would you like to hear the story of the Alien Day Hot Topic exclusive?   So then, I will tell you.  The kind folks at Hot Topic opted in on a “first look” TLS Aliens exclusive.   TLS had powered through a micro production of a beautiful black matte 3.75” xenomporh with a spring loaded inner jaw, a bendy tail, and articulation of the extraterrestrial kind.   The commemorative Alien Day xenomorph comes with a commemorative “Alien Day” foot stamp, and collectors box.  If you’re a Giger, TLS, Action Vinyls, Hot Topic , Ridley Scott or Sci-Fi fan this is a must have, magnified more so by the low edition size.  Everyone is pumped!  The Nerdette does an amazing periscope featuring the terrifying and agile creature, TLS splashes the omni destructive xenomorph all over our social media – this is going to be HUGE!  The production is finished, just in time for a barely postponed Alien Day drop.  Excitement swells.  Then wanting “colonists” search the vast reaches of space for rich finds, to find nothing.  A day goes by, another day, then another, still no xenomorphs to bag, tag and take home to the trophy case.  What gives?  This gives!  The kind folks from the forwarding Company opted to send the entire shipment to Atlanta.  The problem?  Hot Topic’s DC is in LaVergne, TN.  A far hop from Atlanta…believe us, LaVergne, TN was specified on the shipment instructions.  The story gets better.  After fumbling the items through keystone cops levels of cloddishness, the xenomorphs finally popped out the other end of Customs’ trachea, like a good little xenomorph baby should (the host heart still beating as the host’s throat spills onto the tarmac).  The items are released to the airlines in Atlanta.  After some passionate sonnets by yours truly to the forwarding agents, the folks find it in their kind hearts to correct their mistake and ship our beloved xenomorphs to LaVergne.  Trucker 1 misses the pickup, let's wait for tomorrow.  Trucker 2 misses the pickup, let's again wait for the following day.  Trucker 3 misses their pickup window, again, another day must pass.  This is happening against the backdrop of what could only and comparably, (and audibly), be-sound a passionate performance rivaling Liz Taylor’s meltdown in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”.  The Forwarding Agent lucidly absorbs the passionate performance which raises their hand to relay the well deserved Oscar (for moi), finally securing a truck as an “or bust” ultimatum, or a “you better drive it yourself” option.  They opted to make sure their designated trucker picked up the cargo and got their ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ tail to LaVergne as fast as Dolly Parton could hum the musical hit, “9 to 5”, or as fast as Burt Reynolds could upholster a rec room with lushes chest hair.  Jokingly, we asked the forwarder if the cargo delivered (our expectations blown to smithereens like the remnants of the Death Star), which he replied, as if the house was not burning down these last two weeks for him, “Yes, it delivered Saturday.”  I simply replied “LOL”.   So, there you have it folks – Planes, Trains and Automobiles!  You can’t make this stuff up.  I’ve seen it all, nearly 10 years in with TLS, you just have to laugh, or call yourself Pied Piper. 


Conclusion – Hot Topic has receipt of the xenomorphs and I’m sure they will be up for sale (FINALLY!) this week!  So keep your eyes peeled and don’t let those face huggers hug too tight!

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

I wake up, excited, feelings of surging adrenaline, anticipation; I can hardly control my speed – my brain a million miles a minute, my speech volume on 10, my feet fast as Scooby Doo’s.  The sun is piling in the open aired home.  A breeze settles.  The flowing fabric, rippled in waves, like the movement of a flag proudly cresting it’s way over the tops of trees, sheer and light curtains flanking the open window.  The breeze like an unsuspected guest blindly palming it’s way through narrow lanes, off to more distant destinations.  A guest, a stranger.  The sounds of Stevie Wonder, “Songs in the Key of Life” gently rowing beneath the rush of the kitchen faucet’s persistent whistle.  A mindful hum, a warm, welcoming tune filling the room with light, with life, with joy.   Mom.  A lyric here followed by muddled hums and “la’s”, with improvised-life-longed choreographed movements – foot, ankle, knee, hip, playful as it were and practiced through a lifetime, unknowing.  Unconscious to the conscious, performing for an audience of one.  Lemon scented cleaning supplies amplify the room, in a delicate dance wurlitzing with the sounds of the stereo and the breeze intruding every so often just to silently exit, and then again.  Repeat.  It’s summer.  It’s 4th of July. 


To the Den I go.  Yes!  Perched on the sill, atop a wood flanked stoop, a box of fireworks.  A Roman Candle, Blossoms, Snakes, Piccolo Petes, Sparklers!  It’s endless!  I can’t wait for the sun to retire, for the night to take over.  Yet, I can’t let the sun leave so soon!  There are trees to climb, bikes to ride, popsicles to lick, hamburgers to chomp – can you believe it?  It’s SUMMER!  No school, no shirts, hardly any clothes.  Just my OP shorts, the fresh, clean ocean air, dragging over the sun kissed hills spotted with black trunked Oaks, wild grass, wild flowers and a California glow-like as shiny as gilded spindles and bales. 


Hours pass as tiny feet race.  There is no tired.   As the sun dims, the hills glisten with gold plumes.  Young hearts race.  Is it night?  Is it soon?  The day has been an odyssey, the night only begun.


Families start pouring into the streets, dragging coolers filled with water, drinks and refreshments, aluminum chairs with plaid nylon strips anchored to one side of ellipse’d aluminum piping, then to the other, the nylon sagging, in a perfect bowl as bottoms settle in.  Here comes Dad.  His black mustache pulled up on either side, his cheeks stretched into a delightful grin.  Out comes the parade of boxes, with colorful plumes of red, white and blue.  Some boxes bigger than others, like the people carrying them – tall, skinny, fat, short.  An arsenal of magic, like infantry, flank the front line, combat to a naked street.  We are the back line, waiting for the front line to fire.  One by one, the wicks a blaze, setting slow working fuses in a rustle of blue sparks negotiating its way down to  cardboard collars and stocks.  BOOM!   Fire balls, sparkles, flames, whistles, plumes, rooster tails – the whole night sky ablaze!  Magic!  Eyes opened like dinner saucers, mouths agape, screams of joy.  For hours it continues, until the last light dots the night sky.


The 4th of July.  My favorite Holiday.


Be safe, be kind, be tolerant. 


Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!