‘Giant Robot Biennale 4’ to showcase Asian pop culture at the Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles)

Many people complain about something lacking from their lives, but few actually do anything about it. Eric Nakamura is different. He has not only filled that gap, he has created a new movement.

Nakamura is the creator of Giant Robot, now a store with a sister gallery in Los Angeles, which spurred an ever-growing interest in Asian and Asian American pop culture. He is also the curator of the exhibit, “Giant Robot Biennale 4,” set to open Oct. 11 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Giant Robot began as a ‘zine, covering Nakamura’s interests, such as live action robot shows, kung fu films, imported toys and international foods.

I grew up with a mix of both cultures (American and Asian) and I didn’t see a publication out there that documented that kind of hybrid,” Nakamura said.

After being deluged by readers asking if they could visit the Giant Robot office to see the products advertised in the ‘zine, Nakamura decided to open a store. Then he took his hybrid idea a step further by also using the space to exhibit art.

Today, some 21 years and a plethora of copycat store/galleries later, Nakamura still shrugs the notion of success. However, he credits Giant Robot’s longevity to his devotion to fairness and honesty.

The culture of Giant Robot is an artist family experience, which is different. We do things contrary to how a gallery would do things,” Nakamura said.

The exhibit, which runs through Jan. 24, is the fourth time Giant Robot and JANM have united for an art exhibit.

Asian and Asian American pop art has exploded in popularity,” said JANM president and CEO Greg Kimura. “Giant Robot really is the premiere example of that. It’s bringing some of these known and some of these rising artists to the public consciousness and, because of that, JANM is becoming known as a place where folks can come to discover very interesting and frequently provocative contemporary art.

Nakamura has divided “Giant Robot Biennale 4” inside JANM, devoting the ground floor to drawings, including comics, ‘zines and sketchbooks, and showing art from a range of disciplines upstairs.

Two large murals by Andrew Hem and kozyndan will also be featured in the exhibit, as well as work by artists, such as James Jean, Jim Lee, Kim Jung Gi, Katsuya Terada, Luke Chueh, Audrey KawasakiNathan Ota, Mu Pan and Yoskay Yamamoto.

In addition, there will be a photography installation from Hamburger Eyes.

Nakamura finds it hard to name a favorite artist, but he admits that he roots for “the underdogs who are working extra hard.” An example of this is Yumi Sakugawa, whose work can be seen in ‘zines and comics. There will be a video installation featuring a ‘zine reading by Sakugawa.

Kimura is also a big fan of Edwin Ushiro, citing the artist as “someone to watch.”

He’s huge right now, but he’s growing even bigger as a national and international artist,” Kimura added.

There will be a replica of Ushiro’s studio on site in which visitors will be invited to draw.

Kimura also likes Rob Sato’s technical ability and admires the shocking imagery of Mari Inukai, stating that the artists makes you feel differently about the world around you, as well as art itself.

“I like to think that Giant Robot has established a culture of some sort that maybe changed the landscape a little bit of what art is and then what a shop is like and what culture can be,” Nakamura said. “These are things that I grew up with that were separate and we unified and turned it into a package of some sort.

Want to go?

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday-Sunday and noon-8 p.m. Thursday from Oct. 11-Jan. 24. Free opening celebration 7-10 p.m.

Where: Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.

Tickets: $9 adults, $5 seniors and children 6-17 and free for children 5 and younger.

Information: 213-625-0414, www.janm.org

Also, check out the Giant Robot Store!

Giant Robot Store

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-7 p.m. Sunday.

Where: 2015 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles.

Information: 310-478-1819, www.giantrobot.com

GR2 Gallery

Hours: Noon-6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday.

Where: 2062 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles.

Information: 424-246-7626, www.giantrobot.com

“Welcome Home” by Esao Andrews will be on exhibit in “Giant Robot Biennale 4” at the Japanese American Naitonal Museum in Los Angeles Oct. 11-Jan. 24.

InStyle: Hello Kitty is getting her wwn museum exhibit in Seattle this fall

Hello Kitty Is Getting Her Own Museum Exhibit in Seattle This Fall

InStyle (by Tess Kornfeld):

Hello Kitty just turned 40, and she’s celebrating the big milestone by hitting up the West Coast. But she’s not leaving Japan for the sunny beaches of California as you might expect. Instead, our favorite cartoon cat is getting her very own exhibit at the EMP Museum in Seattle, WA.

Starting on November 14, the Hello! Exploring the Supercute World Of Hello Kitty retrospective will be on display, honoring the 40th anniversary of Sanrio‘s bow-wearing and pink-loving pop culture phenomenon—even though we don’t think she looks like she’s aged a day.

The exhibition, which comes straight from the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, will look back at Hello Kitty’s evolution over time. And get ready for some major flashback moments. Among the artwork and pieces featured will be over 600 Hello Kitty products that have been released since the character was just a wee little kitten. Some of the vintage treasures like stationery and the first telephone to feature Hello Kitty go back as far as the 1970s. But the exhibit also features more modern pieces, such as the iconic plush toy-covered Hello Kitty dress worn by Lady Gaga in 2009 (shown above) and a couture bustier that Katy Perry wore to the Brit Awards that same year.

You can catch the fabulous feline’s exhibit in Seattle through May 2016. And the Sanrio star’s East Coast fans may get to join in on the fun soon, too. The brand is hoping to bring the exhibit to additional museums throughout the country, although specific plans have yet to be announced. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed.

Hello Kitty Doc Martens Boot

“The Gaze of Kitty” by Kazuki Takamatsu

“Kittypatra” by Simone Legno for Tokidoki

George Takei to donate part of proceeds of his Broadway production “Allegiance” to Japanese American National Museum

AsAm News: 

Actor George Takei is working his social media magic for a good cause and for his legacy project.

He launched an Indie Go Go campaign this weekend to support his Broadway production of Allegiance, the story of a Japanese American family ripped apart by the loyalty questions asked while they were incarcerated in World War II.

Takei’s goal is to raise $250,000 and in just two days, he’s already raised nearly $70,000.

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Allegiance opens on Broadway with previews in October before its official opening on November 8 at the Longacre Theatre.

You can read George’s entire story of Allegiance, see a video which includes highlights from Allegiance’srecord breaking run at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego and give to the campaign at Indie Go Go.

A Hello Kitty Cafe is finally coming to California

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Audrey Magazine:

 

Calling all Hello Kitty fans in California! We have even more good news for you. The 40th anniversary of our most beloved Sanrio character brought us the Hello Kitty exhibit in the Japanese American National Museum, the Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt and even the very first Hello Kitty Convention. Well, it looks like the celebrating is far from over.

During the Hello Kitty con, a pink food truck not only brought adorable donuts and macarons, it also brought exciting news: A Hello Kitty Cafe is finally coming to California!

Aside from it’s expected opening in 2015, not much is known about the upcoming Hello Kitty cafe. Although the website it still rather mysterious, it links to an Instagram showing a number of Hello Kitty themed food and the pink food truck.

 

 

Top 15 adorable Hello Kitty cakes

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Audrey Magazine:

Sanrio seems to be going all out this year for Hello Kitty’s 40th birthday. In fact, the world’s first ever Hello Kitty Con was held this past weekend. And don’t worry if you missed it. The convention may be over, but the birthday celebrating sure isn’t.

The Japanese American National Museum’s newest exhibition, Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty, will be up until April 26, 2015. You can also take part in the Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt until November 21st, which has participating locations offering limited edition Hello Kitty themed food and beverage items as well as a collectible Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt enamel pin.

So why all the big fuss, you ask?

Sanrio’s Yuko Shimizu introduced this iconic, mouthless kitty in 1974. According to Sanrio, Hello Kitty, who’s actual name is Kitty White, was born in London, England. She is the same height as five apples stacked on top of one another and her weight is three apples put together.

By 1999, Hello Kitty was appearing on 12,000 products yearly. By 2008, Hello Kitty was responsible for half of Sanrio’s billion dollar revenue. There were over 50,000 different Hello Kitty branded products in more than 60 countries.Today, Hello Kitty is worth $5 billion a year and has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Even if you can’t make it out to the Hello Kitty exhibit or participate in the Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt, you can still celebrate the birthday of our beloved Hello Kitty with one of these adorable Hello Kitty cakes.

Check out the  Top 15 Adorable Hello Kitty Cakes below.

 

 

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“Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty”: The largest Hello Kitty retrospective ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

 

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of everyone’s favorite expressionless cat, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles is hosting the largest ever retrospective on Hello Kitty to be held in the United States.

Titled “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty,” the exhibition encompasses a selection of rare and unique Hello Kitty-branded items chosen from the Sanrio archives, alongside contemporary artworks by artists including Buff Monster, Edwin UshiroPaul Frank and Kozyndan. In these art pieces, the iconic feline is reinterpreted into a number of wonderfully weird and wacky mélanges of disparate pop culture motifs, in doing so paying homage to Hello Kitty’s wide-ranging impact on art and culture throughout its 40 years in the limelight.

Curated by Christine Yano, author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific, and Jamie Rivadeneira, founder and owner of the Los Angeles pop culture boutique JapanLA, you can buy your tickets for this retrospective here before it ends in April 2015.

 

 

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

 Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Image of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is the Largest Hello Kitty Retrospective Ever in America

Hello Kitty is not a cat, plus more reveals before her L.A. tour

A Hello Kitty plush doll from 1976
Link

2014 V3 Digital Media Conference

 

V3con Honorees 2014 600x312 LA Ticket Giveaway: 2014 V3 Digital Media Conference

8Asians:

 

V3 Digital Media Conference is coming up right around the corner. The event kicks off on Friday June 20th with an Opening Awards Reception. Then, the all day conference takes place on Saturday June 21st. Both events are being held at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo (LA). Here is the website for more info: http://v3con.com/.

Registration includes admission to Friday’s Opening Awards Reception and Saturday’s all day conference, including breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Check out the full schedule and the list of speakers.

Broadcast journalist Ann Curry, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold and singer-songwriter Judith Hill will be honored at the 2014 V3 Digital Media Conference, presented June 20-21 in celebration of Asian American contributions to media and culture.

 

The third annual conference, presented by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association, recognizes the “Vision. Visibility. Voice” of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in digital and social media, with the goal of showcasing the most influential and interesting Asian Americans online while connecting diverse communities and building new media skills.

 

The two-day event, which drew more than 500 attendees in each of its first two years, will consist of a gala evening awards reception Friday, June 20, to be followed by an all-day conference on Saturday, June 21, both at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles.

 

“As in past years, we are privileged to bring together such prominent and influential honorees,” said Jocelyn “Joz” Wang, founder and executive director-advisor of V3con. They have taken diverse paths toward a common destination of advancing the stature of Asian Americans and our culture.”

The three “V” awards given at V3con recognize the contributions, talents and values of path-breaking individuals who have enabled Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to become recognized as a significant force in media and the broader community.

 

This year’s recipients will be recognized at the Friday event for their roles in significantly raising the profile of the AAPI community in the mainstream.

 

Check out this link:

2014 V3 Digital Media Conference

Link

Japanese American museum hosts Year of the Horse festival

 

LA Times:

Japanese American National Museum in downtown Los Angeles. (Lori Shepler/Los Angeles Times.)

It’s festival time at the Japanese American National Museum in downtown Los Angeles. 

In celebration of the Year of the Horse, the Japanese American National Museum is hosting a festival Sunday that includes pony rides, candy sculpting and food, like buckwheat noodles eaten for good luck.

The Oshogatsu Family Festival, celebrating the New Year, is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m, at the downtown museum at 100 N. Central Avenue. The event will feature origami (the art of paper-folding), an onigiri (rice balls) making contest, and the raffling every hour from noon to the close of the festival of horse candy sculptures by artist Shan Ichiyanagi. The events are free to the public.

This is our family festival, which we provide for the public to celebrate the new year, taking Japanese traditions and also integrating some Japanese-American traditions as well,” said Helen Ota, external affairs officer for the museum.

The event will also feature Japanese music and dance, as well as Zen archery performances, Ota said.

Check out this link:

Link

“Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986” exhibition coming to Los Angeles

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The Japanese American National Museum presents “Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986” from Oct. 12, 2013 to Feb. 9, 2014.

Through a selection of images from comic books representing four turbulent decades, “Marvels & Monsters” illustrates how evolving racial and cultural archetypes defined America’s perceptions of Asians.

This exhibition draws from noted science fiction author and cultural studies scholar William F. Wu’s comic book collection — the largest archive of comic books featuring Asians and Asian Americans — that was donated to the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections through the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.

Curated by “Asian Pop” columnist Jeff Yang, this exhibition is a unique and fascinating look at how the images and characters of Asians and Asian Americans featured in comic books during times of war and unrest coalesced into archetypes that still remain today.

The exhibition places a selection of noted archetypesGuru, Brain, Temptress, Manipulator, Alien, Kamikaze, Brute, and Lotus Blossom — within both a historical context and a comparative discourse with contemporary Asian American writers and creators, including Ken Chen, V.V. Ganeshananthan, Larry Hama, David Henry Hwang, Naomi Hirahara, Genny Lim, Greg Pak, Vijay Prashad, and Gene Luen Yang.

The exhibition also contains elements designed to encourage direct engagement with the archetypes, such as life-size cutouts of the eight archetypes that allow visitors to put themselves “inside the image” and an installation called “Shades of Yellow” that matches the shades used for Asian skin tones in the comics with their garish yellow Pantone.

Marvels & Monsters” ends with a library of present-day graphic novels by Asian American creators and an area where visitors can color original heroes designed by Bernard Chang (“Supergirl”) and Jef Castro and Jerry Ma (“Secret Identities”).

A free preview reception for “Marvels & Monsters” will be hosted by the JANM Young Professionals Network on Thursday, Oct. 10, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. The preview will debut original monologues and short performances in a special showcase. These winning pieces will commemorate JANM’s West Coast premiere of “Marvels & Monsters” by rethinking, subverting, deconstructing, or satirizing the eight Asian pop culture archetypes depicted in this exhibition.

Check out this link:

“Marvels & Monsters” Asian comic book exhibition coming to Los Angeles