August 9, 2008



According to its MySpace page, its status is "swinger," its sign Aries and its mood happy -- and that last bit is an understatement.

The newish Hot Pop shop in the Third Ward is a sanctum sanctorum to bright, bouncy cuteness.

It's gleaming, lacquer-like shelves are lined with urban playthings for grown-ups: designer vinyl toys, home accessories, art, T-shirts, jewelry, books and custom-designed sneakers, all with an anime/graffiti/DIY (do it yourself) aesthetic.

We loved the Plushforms, designer dolls with faces or outfits that you apply yourself with paint, markers or applique. Cool, too, were the Neighborwoods, blank wooden creatures with oversize, globular, egg-shaped heads that you also decorate to your liking. Or how about plush, no-calorie toy food?

This store also has one of the best collections of perky products from Alessi, an Italian company, that we've seen locally. If you want a little kitsch for the kitchen, how about salt and pepper shakers in the shapes of hanging, purple and orange paradise birds, or a lime green toothpick holder that mimics bunny ears poking from a top hat (pull the ears, get a toothpick)?

Hot Pop is also outfitted with a full art gallery in the back. In the current show -- bright, crisp paintings by John Lytle Wilson -- monkeys and robots battle for existence in the universe.

Hot Pop, 213 N. Broadway, is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Information: (414) 273-1301 and

-- Mary Louise Schumacher

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