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Gift pick No. 49: Brian Poor's animatronics

For the second-to-last gift pick in our series featuring Southern California artists and artisans, we thought it fitting to go Hollywood. Brian Poor has made a career building animatronics for film and TV, and in his spare time he creates whimsically odd robots and interactive sculpture you can find at Gold Bug in Pasadena.

The Hazmat Cheshire Cat, for example, has motion sensors to detect when an admirer might be nearby, prompting the tail to wag. And those big, glassy cat eyes? They actually follow you around the room.

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"You see the craftsmanship," said Theodora Coleman, one of the proprietors of the family-run boutique, noting how Poor's work can be appreciated as much for its clever construction as for its novelty.

The Hazmat Cheshire Cat sells for $7,500. Other pieces by Poor at Gold Bug have run from $1,200 to upwards of $40,000. The current selection includes an animatronic foo dog and a crab-bot.

If the sculptures are beyond your budget, the store is an emporium of other eccentricities — a fun spot we first first noted in 2009. It's entertainment unto itself, even if you've got everyone checked off your shopping list.


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