When people ask me where my new studio is, I just ask them if they know where Mr. Mopps’ is, and they always do. The Mr. Mopps’ toystore is a landmark for anybody who is a kid, has a kid, was a kid or has raised a kid in Berkeley within the last fifty years, and you know — that’s a lot of people. Very convenient for me! Devon and Jenny are the owners these days, having saved Mr. Mopps’ from extinction a couple of years ago by coming forward at the last minute to buy the business from the founders when it was about to close forever. Of course, if you know anything about Berkeley you’ll know that if you get involved with something people who have lived here for a long time care about you will hear more than you ever imagined possible about how much better whatever it is you’re working on was before you came along and started changing it. Undaunted, Devon and Jenny have been refurbishing the shop and refreshing the merchandise and generally reinvigorating the whole block the store’s on, including my little storefront, and as a result next month we all get to celebrate the store’s fiftieth birthday, instead of the pathetic two-year anniversary of its demise. How about that!

They are good neighbors and incredibly nice people, and we’ll be printing a limited edition birthday poster (free!) at Family Book Lab so as to share in the festivities. It’s a reduction linoleum print (carve a little, print, carve some more, print again) and I’ve held off printing the image of Mr. Mopp himself (the birthday boy) so that the poster can be completed by the party guests on the day of the event. It’s going to be a big party! Balkan brass band! Maybe a barbershop quartet! Perhaps nobody peeing in their pants, but still, Devon and Jenny and their families are planning One Heck of a Party.

September 16th, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you are a kid, have a kid, or have been or raised a kid in Berkeley in the last fifty years, you may want to be there.

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