What’s Up – News and Events
$1.00 for each Hope doll sold will be donated to Schools for Hope. The charities we work with will receive an additional $3.00 for every Kamibashi Cares String Doll purchased via our website from 11/25-12/25. We will also donate 5% of our website sales between that period to MINNA Feedback in Western North Carolina.
Just in time for Halloween: Skygor , Skullgnome and Kitix are part of the Boogily Heads characters designed by Gus Fink Studios. They are cute and a little scary, but always good FUN for Halloween! Sold exclusively at Kamibashi.
The String Doll Gang will be 10 years old in 2015! Help us celebrate by submitting your Happy Birthday-themed idea to this year’s ‘Create Your Own String Doll’ Contest! Submit your ‘Happy Birthday’ design by October 10, 2014. The winner will be announced on our Facebook page on October 15 and will be prominently featured in 2015 on FB, our website, and in our wholesale catalog.
What better gift for a teacher or a grad than a string doll that is all about them! Graduates will love being reminded that being out of school is just as fun as being in it. Our Super Teacher dolls lets our favorite instructors know that we appreciate the difference that their hard work really makes. They are perfect all year long for teachers of anything - music, art, sports — you name it!
March 11, 2014:
String Space Shuttle Lands at Kamibashi!
String Space Shuttle
Lands at Kamibashi!
The Space Shuttle
that you will
after a long and
Cheer on Team USA
at the Winter Olympics in Sochi
with these pocket-sized athletes:
Shredder Girl & Boy (sd1152g/b)
Check out our ALL SPORTS section of the Sting Doll Gang to find even more dolls to cheer on.
Just In Time For Your Last Minute X-mas Gifts:
Officer O'Malley (sd1206) by Lisa M.
Officer O'Malley makes sure you never have to call for backup.
Bones (sd1205) by Erin B.
Bones supports you when you're about to crack from too much pressure.
Casey Jones (sd1204) by Kira G.
Casey Jones makes sure your caboose is always on time.
Get a FREE Santy doll from now until December 24, 2013 with any order that includes one or more of these contest-winning doll!
Your Kamibashi Team
Each year we donate 5% of our holiday season online sales to the MANNA food bank in Western North Carolina and to local families in need.
The charities we work with will receive an additional $3 for every Kamibashi Cares string doll purchased over our website from now thru X-mas.
Kamibashi is a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation. Your purchase benefits the artists we work with and their families.
Get a FREE Santy with any purchase of $20 or more! Special offer valid through Cyber Monday, December 2, 2013.
It's time for our annual "Create Your Own String Doll Contest" and we can't wait to read your great ideas for the newest member(s) of the String Doll Gang! Last year we had so many great ideas that we picked 2 winners, so anything can happen...
As we turn the page to a new year together, we thank you for support and wish you all the best in 2013! — Kristen & Chris
Sending all of our love and best wishes your way for a wonderful Holiday Season.
Our 2012 "Create Your Own String Doll Contest" on Facebook once again yielded a bounty of fun ideas. Our two winners were Amelia Earhart (by high school senior Alexis) and The Gradugator (by college students Casey and Leah). Finally, in our first-ever "Fan's Choice Award," Walker the Waiter, by middle school student Hunter, took the title with 205 likes! You can see Alexis and Hunter posing with their dolls on our Facebook page - congratulations!
Kamibashi loves nothing more than to support great causes, and we've created 3 new dolls to help us do just that. Clara, named after Red Cross founder Clara Barton, reminds us now more than ever that everyone deserves our compassion and aid. For every Clara doll sold, we will donate $1.00 to the American Red Cross. Fifty cents from the sale of both our male and female DJ dolls will go to NextAid, an organization that supports women, children, and youth in Africa. Both of these music-lovers make sure you never miss a beat!
If string dolls could talk, our final four new characters would have quite an interesting conversation! Representing both the tough and rugged (Gunnar the Viking, Wade the fisherman, and Rosie the Riveter), and also the delicate (Georgia the Southern Belle), we'd like to think that they would all be civil and listen to each other's opinions, despite their different backgrounds and political affiliations. After all, each one is a valuable part of the String Doll Gang, and a united Gang is stronger than a divided Gang any day of the week.
DJ Girl & Boy make sure you never miss a beat. Kamibashi will donate 50 cents from the sale of each doll to NextAid which improves the lives of children, youth, and women in Africa by promoting and implementing sustainable solutions. NextAid.org partners with community-based projects and grassroots organizations in Africa.
Treat the ghosts and goblins in your life to some String Doll Gang fun, including our new female Vampire, who protects you from harm when you're out past your bedtime together with her male companion.
Take a swim with our brand new string dolls, Otto the Octopus and Jimmy the Jellyfish who have just joined our sea-life bunch of characters! Pack your bathing suits, get out of the heat, and stay cool everyone!
Kamibashi is now a member of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF)! Although we’ve always practiced Fair Trade principles, which include working with artisans in developing countries (in our case Thailand) and paying fair prices for their amazing work, we couldn’t be happier to be official members. It took us a while to get our application completed and our membership finalized, but as our new string doll Myrtle the Turtle reminds us, “slow and steady win the race.”
Fans of the String Doll Gang know that each doll's name and special power are written on the doll's fabric tag, but for folks who are not as in-the-know, we've created product cards which spell it out nice and clearly.
The back of each card gives a little history of the Gang and has the doll's individual UPC code as well. There is room for 20 different carded dolls on each side of our spinning floor display for a total of 200 dolls when it's fully loaded. Pretty handsome, eh?
Sports are a hit with all ages (just like the String Doll Gang!), so we have expanded our selection of athletic dolls to include 8 popular sports. Whether you are an active player or a home-team enthusiast, there is bound to be at least one new sports doll who you'll be a fan of.
If you don't see one that makes you want to stand up and cheer then check out our new sports page to see what other sports dolls are part of the Gang — the list has grown and we know there's one that's perfect for you!
During this season of giving, Kamibashi will donate 5% of our website sales from the full month of December to needy families and our local food bank here in Asheville, NC. Thank you for your support of Kamibashi and also those in need, and have a wonderful and safe holiday season!
During December, we will also donate $3.50 (i.e., an additional $3) to the charities we work with for every Kamibashi Cares doll we sell from our website.
Kamibashi wants you to let folks know that you're selling the coolest product out there, so we are now providing FREE String Doll Gang posters for your shop's window! Choose your favorite character from 10 of our top sellers and we'll send you an 11 x 17 print in the mail. To order, send Juli an e-mail with your store name, address, and which poster you'd like.
Please note that this offer is good for any store who has ordered since July 31, 2011.
The Gang just got bigger with the arrival of our latest batch of new string dolls. As always, there is something for everyone, from our snowboarder Shredder (who makes sure you're riding the mountain every powder day), to The Scarecrow (who knows you're sharper than you thunk), to our cheerleader Winnie, who helps you show your SPIRIT! See what the others do here!
Our two newest String Dolls, Ben Franklin & Betsy Ross, have arrived just in time to celebrate the 4th with fellow patriotic dolls Lady Liberty, Lieutenant Ryder, and AstroNeil, among others. It's people like Ben, who reminds you that energy and persistence conquer all things, and Betsy, who helps you be a star-spangled success in life, that make us proud to be American! Happy 4th of July.
We mean it when we say that the String Doll Gang® is fun for the whole family, and that includes Dad! With Father’s Day right around the corner — June 19 that is — tell him you love him with a String Doll Gang® character picked out just for him. We promise he’ll dig it!
Our 2nd annual “Create Your Own String Doll Contest” netted us over 30 great ideas for new String Dolls, making it nearly impossible to choose just one winner. Grand prize went to 14-year-old Nina, whose Jester idea is sure to be one of the cutest string dolls ever. We’ll also be making the three 2nd-place winners as well — Humpty Dumpty, Pyro, and Cleanalina. Keep your eyes on our Facebook Page, where we’ll be showing the first samples as soon as we get them. Thanks to everyone who participated — we feel so lucky to have such creative fans!
Moms are some of our biggest fans, and no matter who your mom is or what she does, there is a String Doll (or two or three!) that is perfect for her. Yay for moms!
We love you Moms, in all your different roles. Thanks a million for doing the most important job on the planet!
Happy Mother’s Day!
It's time for our 2nd annual "Create Your Own String Doll" contest and only Kamibashi's Facebook fans can enter! The winning doll will be produced, added to the String Doll Gang as a permanent member, and the doll's designer will receive ten free copies of their very own String Doll.
We are psyched to read about your great idea for the newest member of the String Doll Gang! Please fill out the Entry Form (PDF 274 KB) with your String Doll idea and e-mail it back to: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to: +1-864-751-5744. We can't wait to see what you come up with — have fun! Thank you so much for participating! We'll be announcing the winner on our Facebook page on May 1. Good luck to all!
In response to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami tragedy, Kamibashi has created Ganbare Bear (gahn-BAH-ray Bear), a limited edition string doll whose total net profit will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross.
Ganbare is a Japanese term that means "persevere during challenging times." It is also used during sporting events when fans are cheering on their team. Please show your support for Japan and everyone there by helping us donate as much money as possible through the sale of our newest String Doll Gang member, available for a limited time only.
We'll update the contribution total daily on our Kamibashi Cares page so check back often.
The Kamibashi fun continues with 5 more new String Doll Gang members, including Lieutenant Ryder, the newest addition to our Kamibashi Cares line (see below). Also included in our latest group is Winston the cat, who makes sure you always land on your feet, and Daisy the flower, who makes sure your youth blooms eternal. Rounding off this diverse new bunch are KamiBot, who does the chores for you so you can go out and play, and Axe-her Rose, who gives you eyes in the back of your head — a good-luck power that is perfect not only for roller girls but also teachers and parents too!
We've been talking about it for years and now we finally have it — a military string doll that benefits soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lt. Ryder, named after the very first paratrooper, makes sure you hit the ground running and complete your mission safely. Team him up with Kamibashi and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, who will receive $1.00 for every doll sold, and you've got a winning combination. The Fund's most recent effort was construction of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence a $60 million, 72,000 square foot facility dedicated to research, diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury, which afflicts many thousands of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Just the organization we were looking for — thank you Intrepid Fallen Heroes — you deserve the Medal of Honor!
Thanks to your generosity, we were able to adopt three local families over the holidays as well as send a check for $1000 to the Manna Food Bank here in Western North Carolina. We are so lucky to be doing something we love for a living and even luckier to be able to give some of it back to those who are less fortunate. See our Kamibashi Cares page for other ways you help us make the world a better place, and stay tuned, because next month we'll be debuting our next Kamibashi Cares doll as well — we can't wait! Thank You for our best December ever!
We often get asked what people do with our products, and the answer is pretty much anything! Kamibashi dolls can be used as keychains, bag or backpack charms, fan pulls, desk buddies, or dangling off your rear view mirror... you name it! In addition to these everyday uses, some fun ways to use our String Dolls, Koonin Family Pets, BLABBOS, or DEBO Superheroes for the holidays include present toppers, stocking stuffers or as ornaments on your wreath or tree. For the entire month of December we'll be donating 5% of our website sales to the Manna Food Bank here in North Carolina, giving you an additional reason to shop, top, stuff, and decorate with Kamibashi!
We love every member of the String Doll Gang but there's a special place in our hearts for our seven Kamibashi CARES String Dolls. When you purchase a Kamibashi CARES doll, we donate 50 cents to one of several organizations who are helping to make our world a better place. As of today, we've donated a grand total of $4223.50 to The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), America's Wetland Foundation, Pretty in Pink, and the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT). To find out how much has been donated to each of these charities per quarter, see the new thermometer featured under each group's logo on our Kamibashi CARES website page. A huge thanks to you for being so generous and for helping us to support such great causes!
Ready or not, here she comes! Although we're not quite ready for winter weather, we are more than excited to welcome Snowflake, the newest member of the String Doll Gang. She is as beautiful as freshly fallen snow but comes without the cold, shivers, and shoveling. We love that about you, Snowflake!
The String Doll Gang™ goes to Hollywood! What if the members of the Gang could move? We're about to find out! The Jim Henson Company recently acquired all media rights to The Original String Doll Gang, and is preparing to pitch a stop-motion animation show to several major TV networks in both the US and Europe. The show is aimed at tweens, with the pilot written by Carl Greenblatt of the animated series Chowder. To find out more see our press page — and we'll keep you updated on our progress. Exciting stuff!
For the past 5 years we've had the pleasure to work with Japanese artists Minoji and Ryo Takagi of Kirieya and we couldn't be happier to showcase their newest works in our greeting card collection. If you've never had a look at our greeting card or framed print pages we invite you to do so now — you won't be sorry!
Our "Create Your Own String Doll" contest on the Kamibashi Facebook page yielded not one winner but three! First place went to Cupcake; a sweet idea sent in by Jordan S., who teaches children's cooking classes and whose students, "can't wait to get Cupcake!" Runners up went to Cirene the Butterfly and Wally the Weightlifter by fans Aleisha and Roger respectively.
Congratulations to our winners and a big Thank You to all of the participants — we have some very creative fans out there and we look forward to having another contest next year!
Get a taste of the farm life with your very own Koonin Family Pet Cow! Choose from 3 different shapes, each of which is made with different scrap fabrics, accessories, and paintings so that no two cows (or Koonin Pets in general) are ever the same. See the Koonin Family Pet page to see what mottos our new friends live by, and if you find yourself mooved then be sure to have us send one your way!
We've just started our first-ever “Create Your Own String Doll” contest and we're accepting entries on the Kamibashi Asian Art Facebook page through March, 2010. The winning doll will become a member of the String Doll Gang and the winning designer will receive ten String Dolls of his/her design. For complete rules and more info see the discussion board “Create Your Own String Doll” located in the “Boxes” section of our Facebook page or click here. Only Kamibashi Facebook fans can win so if you're not yet our fan then now's a great time to become one!
It's String Doll Fever here at Kamibashi where we just received our first batch of our 14 newest String Doll Gang members! There's a little something for everyone, such as Chuck, who keeps you out of the penalty box when you're skating on thin ice. Seamus the Sheep, who helps you sleep, is another doll whose special power we know many folks could use. To make room for these and other future new Gang members, and in honor of 2010, we are going to slowly retire 10 of our earliest dolls who will be saying their final goodbyes when we run out of stock in the coming weeks and months. To find out which dolls will be heading out into the world on their own look for the words “Adios Amigos!” on the doll's panel and the sign to the left of the doll's name.
We just debuted a special page on our website that details who we are donating your hard-earned money to when you buy one of our Kamibashi Cares (KC) dolls. With your support we sent checks totaling $1800 to five fantastic charities who are helping make the world a better place for humans and animals alike. Each quarter we will send these charities 50 cents for every "Kamibashi Cares" doll that we sell – many thanks to you for helping us help them! Also exciting is the arrival of our 7th KC string doll, Pacho the Parrot, whose proceeds will benefit the Amazon Conservation Team based in Arlington, VA.
After many long hours put in by Markuz Wernli Saito, our favorite designer ever, we present to you our brand new website. Thanks Markuz for making our products look almost as good online as they do in real life – we can barely contain our excitement!
What do you get when you mix the characters of our favorite local artist with the handiwork of Opportunity Threads, a sewing co-op who live and work in the same beautiful mountains as us? The cutest little Freak-O-Bags ever, of course!! We are very proud to introduce four new FOB characters by Julie Armbruster, the first in a series of FOB characters that she has designed exclusively for us. Made entirely in the US, Julie's creations are cute enough to hug, and evil enough to fit in perfectly at Kamibashi. Way to go Julie and Opportunity Threads – we are psyched to be working with y'all!
We're always excited to introduce our latest String Doll Gang creations, but this time we have an added reason to be pumped up: our first 6 "Kamibashi Cares" dolls are part of the mix! Kamibashi will donate 50 cents for each doll sold to various charities that support either wildlife preservation, breast cancer research, or Hurricane Katrina relief. We look forward to adding more charity dolls in the future and thank you in advance for your support – we couldn't do it without you!
How excited are we to be working with the company that brought us the Muppet Show? The Jim Henson Company will act as our licensing agent starting this month. So who knows – maybe sometime soon you'll be hearing about String Doll Gang movies and DEBO video games. Only time will tell, but we are pretty pumped to be in such fantastic company! You can read all about it here.
In honor of Earth Day, we are rolling out our latest product – the Freak-o-Bags! FOBs are cute and weird little plush dolls that open up to reveal a sturdy eco-bag that you can use instead of those icky plastic bags that always end up in the ocean and harming our environment. Freak-o-bags also have a carabineer clip that you can hook onto your backpack, purse or keys so you'll never forget to bring it along! Made by the Koonin Family in Thailand, each FOB is one-of-a-kind and fair trade too. Yay for saving the Earth!
Say Hi to the newest Kamibashi crew members – Buffy and Zoe. They have arrived to help guide Kamibashi to the next level of success and we welcome them with open arms. You can find out more about them on the Who We Are page – glad to have you on the team guys!
Check it out! All 80 String Doll Gang members now come with a woven fabric tag that will never rip or wrinkle, as well as a lobster claw clip and keyring that will ensure your little buddy does not fall off your bag or keychain. String Dolls and their owners can now stop worrying about loss – PHEW! As before, each string doll's name appears on the front of the tag, and his or her special power appears on the back. Best yet is that the price is the same as before – pretty nice, eh?
Just when we thought there was no way to make our everyday lives a little easier, the DEBO Superheroes™ came into the picture to change all that. Made by the DEBO art collective in Thailand, these 2 - 3" vinyl Superheroes stay the same shape but change their features regularly so they never look quite the same. Each one comes in a limited edition of 50 (the number is stamped inside the doll's tag and ensures that no two orders are ever the same) and helps you overcome such irritations as delayed planes, bad hair days, and finding true love. Thanks DEBO Superheroes™ – we needed ya bad!
Happy New Year!! We've decided to "go green" in '08 and have eliminated the packaging that The String Doll Gang® comes in. When we started telling stores about this we heard back that many of them actually took the dolls out of the bags when they received them, so that was good news! This will also save us some "bagging" money and will allow us to improve the string dolls so that they are better than ever without having to raise the price, and that's always a good thing too! (stay tuned for news on that...).
Now that our String Dolls no longer come in a bag, we also have a new wood display for them which is free with an order of 50 dolls. This same display can also be used for our other two handmade dolls: The Koonin Family Pets™, and our newest product (coming soon!) DEBO Superheroes™! Order 25 each of two different products and get a 50 - 50 display with a different header on each side, or if you'd like to use it for all 3 we have a three-way header as well!
We are teaming up with Pocorn Posters, a great company out of Glastonbury, CT, to sell 11 x 14" and 11 x 17" framed prints (with different framing options) of all of Minoji and Kirieya's wild and wooly images.
We're still hammering out the details, so keep checking back for ordering information, prices, and choices. But you can still order some framed prints through us if you can't wait that long. Look here!
Plus, we now have a Leprechaun String Doll named Finnegan, just in time for St. Patrick's day. Give one to all your Irish friends for good luck!
What's new is that we're going to update this section of our website a little more often so that it truly reflects all the goings on at Kamibashi and in a timely fashion too. The newest event as of this writing is that we've taken the most popular Minoji and Kirieya postcards and turned them into greeting cards. We've also started printing our cards in greater quantities which has resulted in a cheaper price for us and in turn you. Our web store prices will be updated to reflect this soon, so if we haven't done that yet please check again in another few days. We are also happy to report that all of our paper products are printed in the U.S. and always have been.
Also new on the Kamibashi shelves are Sid and Bella, the two latest members of The String Dolls Gang®. Both of the kids come in an array of different hair color and Bella's outfit also changes color. Although Sid is always wearing his signature black pants, his body comes in white, blue, and red, making Sid the most diverse member of the whole String Doll crew. Hope you love 'em as much as we do!
It's been almost 3 weeks since our return from the (wholesale) National Stationery Show in NYC and we are still sending out boxes! The show is really great – I mean, what's not fun about meeting all kinds of cool people from all over the US and Canada (some people even come from overseas!) and talking about your products?
We got a great response from stores who bought from us last year (it was great to see everyone again!) and we met lots of new cool store owners too. Thanks everyone! We couldn't be happier about the kinds of stores that are into what we have to offer. If you live anywhere near one of our stores we highly recommend checking them out – not only for Kamibashi stuff (though definitely don't leave without buying some!!) but for all of the other great products they carry. These people have good taste!
If you don't live anywhere near one of our stores then use the Buy Now option that Chris has been working hard to put up. We are really excited about being able to sell online to people who don't get out shopping much or who don't live near a Kamibashi store. Have fun clicking away, and if you have any questions or would like to make any comments please write me at: email@example.com. Thanks and happy shopping!
Wow, we're back for good here in the U.S. (it's been 4 weeks and 2 days now since we moved from Japan!) and everything's going great!! We're in our new place outside of Asheville, NC (very cool town, put it on your list of places to see) and are working feverishly to strip wallpaper and also get ready for the Stationery Show in NYC next month (Booth 5023 – it's only open to store owners so if you're one of them then please come have a look – you won't be sorry!)
Up til now we've mostly been working to get Kamibashi ready for our big move back from Japan, and now that we're here it's time to really get things rolling and get all the great stuff we've put together out there for folks like you to see. In addition to finding fun new stores to carry our stuff, we'll be working on putting "Buy Now" buttons on everything so you can buy direct from us if there's not a store near you – be on the lookout for that later this spring.
The latest fun product news is that we found another really cool score on our travels this winter and we can't wait to have it in our hands. We call them The String Doll Gang™ and they're these awesome little characters that are handmade in Thailand using just one piece of string + some tiny accessories to really bring out their personas. They're best used as keychains or hanging off your backpack (though you can use them however you want – hey, why not put a couple on your Christmas tree this year!) Pictured here is Little Prince, and if he could talk Iwould bet you a tenner that he'd win more than one princess heart. Get acquainted with The String Doll Gang™ on our site in just a couple of weeks and then we'll have them for sale (with those Buy Now buttons I was talking about) to send out to you as soon as we can get enough of them for ourselves. All kinds of exciting things to look forward to...including wallpaper free walls!
More Minoji products are on the way and we are psyched! In addition to the postcards seen online, we're going to be adding some new great designs and putting them onto greeting cards and t-shirts. We'll be putting everything on the site before the National Stationery Show in New York in May (Booth 5023 – it's only for wholesale so come have a look if you're a store owner!) We'd have even more cool new products ready but we're in the midst of moving back to the US from Japan (can't wait till that's over!!), so we'll add more before the L.A. Gift Show in July.
Just as exciting will be the addition of 1 more great Asian artist this spring – Ryo Takagi of Kirieya has just joined us with his very cool hand-cut silhouettes that we've put onto postcards and greeting cards. Other new artists joining us by mid-July this summer will be Taiwanese designer and all-around creative guy Mr. Eyeball, and Thailand-based Japanese painter Kyoko Abe – check back then to see postcards, greeting cards, and t-shirts with their art as well. We just can't wait!
The beautiful card featured here, made with one of Kamibashi's yuzen papers, was sent to me as an "RAK" (random act of kindness) by Heather Taylor, a member of the Oriental Stamp Art group (OSA) management team. OSA is a web group whose members all share a love of oriental art and stamping. They produce handmade cards, calendars, and bookmarks, etc. which they send to their friends, family members, and each other. I was introduced to this group by Gene Limtiaco, who came across our site while doing a search on Kimono and then posted our address on the OSA list so that others could check us out. I too joined the group to see what it was all about, and found not only an extremely talented group of artists (have a look here at examples of the beautiful cards they make!) but a close-knit community of kind, friendly, and generous people from all over the world who support each other in their creativity and everyday lives as well. How cool is that?!
Kamibashi and Markuz Wernli will be organizing a show in Kyoto on exquisite Textile & Tobacco Box Designs from Laos, Thailand, Japan & China. The exhibit takes place in a traditonal old style Japanese merchant house.
Reception is on Friday, June 11 , from 18:00.
Open: June 11 - 27; 10:00 - 20:00
Place: Honenin Noriba, Kyoto (near the Philosopher's Path) 36-1 Shishigatani, Sakyo-ku, Honenin-cho, Nishimachi.
Please e-mail Kristen for further information.
We are pleased to announce the launch of our website! Shop for Japanese papers and Asian textiles using our easy-to-use online catalogue. Our goal is to convey not only the beauty of Asian craft on paper and fabrics, but also the story of the people behind the products. Your comments and suggestions are appreciated – please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
In our first act of charity, a Kamibashi shawl raised $500 in a silent auction for the Alliance Française in Chicago. The auction was held at a benefit party at Union Station (Chicago's main railroad station) on May 14th, 2004.