421 University Avenue, Hillcrest
Babette Schwartz's taste stems from a fascination with pop-culture campiness, and this is the hook upon which her toy store dangles. After paying her dues, and her rent, doing makeovers at Kmart, and performing private dance shows, Schwartz hit paydirt with a retail store geared for boomers steeped in white-trash kitsch and nurtured on TV's glass teat. "My idea was I would have a job, I would have a much-needed outlet for my form of artistic expression -- shopping -- and I would be able to share my finds and unparalleled taste with the world. Lord knows the world could use some influence from me, and as Nordstrom seemed to have lost my application for the buying staff, it seemed like a win-win situation." Stock perennials include the Fart Machine Remote Control ($19.99), Lawn Flamingos ($14.99), Powerful Elvis Prayer Candles ($12.99), and Magic 8-Ball fortune tellers ($11.50). Opening a direct line from the trailer park to the pearly gates is easier with fantastic plastic icons such as the fluorescent Virgin Mary Night Light ($21.99), wind-up Nunzilla robot ($10.99), Nun Snow Domes ($6.50) and Rubber Squeaky Nuns ($5), or by anointing thyself with holy toiletries like Wash Away Your Sins soap bars ($8.50) and bubble bath ($12.99).