Labbit Custom Show UPDATE

Here’s an update on our Year of the Labbit Custom Show opening on Thursday!

Whew, working to open two shows a week apart is insane! It always gets done, often without all the behind-the-scenes drama showing up in the final product (see my last post re: drama.)  However some important items you should know: 1.) the Labbit Show opens at 6:30 PM on Thursday, July 14. We won’t unveil until then. 2.) Admission to the exhibition is FREE that evening. 3.) Some of the Labbits will be auctioned off on eBay through out the run of the show. These include Labbits by Mike Shinoda, Kip Fulbeck, higashi glaser and Stan Sakai. The auctions will be posted on the Year of the Labbit page on our web site. Each auction will last a week so you will have plenty of time to bid.

Online sales for the other pieces will be up (gulp!) hopefully by the opening night. I can’t tell you exactly when, but keep checking our site. We won’t start selling until the show opens however.

Year of the Labbit

Anyone who has ever organized a custom toy show will tell you that when the art starts rolling in, it’s like you are having your own private Christmas. The quality and ingenuity of the work is very high for this show and we are now thinking that some of the pieces may be auctioned off during the run of the exhibition. Details to come!

The task of photographing all these pieces and prepping them for the web store hasn’t gotten started yet, but I wanted to share a few teasers that were created from photos sent to me by the artists.

I’m not sure what order these will come up in, but the artists are Konatsu, Mark Nagata, and Stan Sakai. I’m sure you will be able to figure out who did what!

Allen Say

Drawing from Memory

Excerpt from "Drawing from Memory" by Allen Say

I received my preview copy of Allen Say’s upcoming book yesterday and can’t wait to carry it in the Store. Drawing from Memory is based on his 1979 novel, The Ink-Keeper’s Apprentice, which was essentially a biographical account of the defining moments of an artist as a young boy. I read Ink-Keeper’s Apprentice after buying El Chino for my four-year-old child. (I really bought it for myself, because I was blown away by the story of a Chinese American bullfighter!) I wanted to know more about the author and to find other books by him. The story captivated me in its stark, straight-forward examination of life of a pre-adolescent living in post war Japan. It was a story that was at once very extraordinary, yet surprisingly familiar.

Drawing from Memory, the new book, is a fleshing out of Say’s story with the the talent which he has become best known for—his achingly beautiful paintings. He tells the real stories behind the novel, shares pictures and details of his friends and beloved sensei, Noro Shinpei, and also frames a picture of life in post-war Japan.

The visual look of this book shows the versatility of Say’s art—his command of color, line, framing, and storytelling—along with his keen sense of zen spareness. He knows how much is enough.

Allen SayHere’s a link to the promotion Scholastic is doing with 65,000 librarians. Click on non-fiction. You’ll have to wait through two other promos, but you’ll be rewarded with a sneak peak at Drawing from Memory.

And mark your calendars because Allen Say will be here on September 17 for a Public Program and booksigning. (We will also have some of the original artwork on display that weekend!)

Gardener’s Haiku Museum Mug

Curator or Shopkeeper?

The Museum Store was recently featured in an article in Hyphen Magazine, entitled “Curated Retail”. Ironically, I just read an article about how the word “curate” has been appropriated by all things pop-culture and is consequently over (and incorrectly) used.

But for years I have been describing the work we do in the Store as curatorial. This isn’t necessarily the case with every museum store, although it should be. Selecting or developing merchandise that reflects the museum’s mission is harder than slapping your name and logo on to an otherwise generic souvenir (magnet, spoon, thimble, or—shiver—shot glass.) If a person buys something from our store without going into the exhibitions, I want that person to remember where that object came from and take away a story that will make the name of the museum resonate in his/her memory whenever it is handled. Maybe next time, they will actually come into the museum to see the exhibitions!

Gardener’s Haiku Museum MugWhen a customer wants to know where our logo mugs are, I steer them to the flowerpot mugs produced for Landscaping America. The mugs include a haiku written by a Japanese American gardener. They are also printed with lead-free glaze, which I felt was an important (and surprisingly difficult to implement) aspect for a product that represented custodians of the garden.

We don’t have a lot of the expected tchotchkes in a museum store, but each item has been selected for how it relates or reflects Japanese Americans and their culture—which is vast and diverse. It rankles me to meet with a vendor who assures me that his product is a “hot-seller in ALL the museum stores” as if all museums had the same mission or should sell the same things. And don’t get me started on shot glasses—the only places where I think these really work are at Alcatraz (they have Mug Shots) or museums that are about the Old West or cocktails.

Member Appreciation Days!

Member Appreciation Days is this Friday, May 20th through Sunday, May 22nd. We’ll be giving 20% off store purchases to our museum members and to the members of the following cultural institutions. So sign up for a JANM membership and start your museum shopping spree on the cheap!

Not in the L.A. area? We’re honoring the 20% discount at our Museum Store Online too!

Check janmstore.com for full details >>

  • Autry National Center
    www.theautry.org • 323.677.2000
  • Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
    www.olacathedral.org • 213.680.5277
  • Chinese American Museum
    www.camla.org • 213.485.8567
  • Craft and Folk Art Museum (Saturday & Sunday only)
    www.cafam.org • 323.937.4230 x22
  • FIDM Museum & Galleries (Friday & Saturday only)
    www.fidmmuseum.org • 213.623.5821
  • Fowler Museum at UCLA
    www.fowler.ucla.edu • 310.206.7004
  • Heritage Square Museum
    www.heritagesquare.org • 323.225.2700
  • J. Paul Getty Museum (both locations)
    www.getty.edu • 310.440.7300
  • LA Phil Store at Walt Disney Concert Hall
    www.laphilstore.com • 213.972.3440
  • The Library Store at Central Library (Friday & Saturday only)
    www.librarystore.org • 213.228.7550
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
    (Grand Ave. location only)

    MOCA Grand Avenue • 213.621.1710
    www.moca.org
  • Museum of Latin American Art
    www.molaa.org • 562.216.4102
  • Orange County Museum of Art
    www.ocma.net • 949.759.1122
  • Pacific Asia Museum
    www.pacificasiamuseum.org • 626.449.2742 x20
  • Pasadena Museum of California Art
    www.pmcaonline.org • 626.568.3665
  • Pasadena Museum of History
    www.pasadenahistory.org • 626.577.1660
  • San Diego Museum of Art
    www.TheSanDiegoMuseumofArt.org • 619.696.1971
  • Santa Monica Museum of Art (Friday & Saturday only)
    www.smmoa.org • 310.586.6488
  • Skirball Cultural Center
    www.skirball.org • 310.440.4505
  • Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray

    Toyo Miyatake on Comcast this month

    Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray

    The Watase Media Arts Center’s award-winning film, Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray is going to be shown on Comcast throughout the month of May!

    About the film:

    Having smuggled a lens and film holder into one of America’s concentration camps during World War II, Toyo Miyatake was among the first to photograph this national disgrace. Yet it was his little-known artistic pursuits before the war that honed his discerning eye.

    Produced by Karen L. Ishizuka and directed by Robert A. Nakamura with music by David Iwataki, the film is a penetrating portrait of the photographer’s quest to capture the beauty and dignity of everyday life.

    The many awards that "Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray" has won

    The film has won numerous awards, including:

    * Official Sundance Film Festival Selection

    * Grand Jury Award Best Documentary Short, Florida Film Festival

    * CINE Gold Eagle

     

    See it on Comcast this month:

    Comcast has a video on demand service called “Cinema Asian America” which was launched in December 2010, featuring a monthly-curated series of Asian American and Asian films—award-winning films fresh from the film festival circuit and classics. These films include both short and feature-length works and the genres range from documentary to narrative to experimental.

    From May 1–31, 2011, Toyo Miyatake will be available to all Comcast digital cable subscribers with On-Demand. See below for a list of all major Comcast markets in the U.S. The film will cost $0.99/view.

    For those who are able to view Comcast programs, through their digital cable menu, viewers should click on the “On Demand” button, and then look under the “Movies” folder. In this will be a “Movie Collections” folder and inside of this viewers will find “Cinema Asian America” and will be able to access the film.

    You can also purchase the film on DVD from our Museum Store >>

    (The recently released DVD includes Japanese subtitles & includes Moving Memories as a bonus feature. Hosted by George Takei, it features restored and edited home movies from the 1920s and 1930s taken by Japanese American immigrant pioneers as they made America their new home.)

     

    Comcast TV Market:

    Birmingham, AL • Dothan, AL • Huntsville, AL • Little Rock, AR • Tucson, AZ • Fresno, CA • Sacramento, CA • San Francisco, CA • Santa Barbara, CA • Colorado Springs, CO • Denver, CO • Hartford, CT • Washington DC • Ft. Myers, FL • Jacksonville, FL • Miami, FL • Orlando, FL • Panama City, FL • Pensacola, FL • Tallahassee, FL • Tampa, FL • West Palm Beach, FL • Atlanta, GA • Augusta, GA • Savannah, GA • Peoria, IL • Chicago, IL • Champaign, IL • Rockford, IL • Ft. Wayne, IN • Indianapolis, IN • South Bend, IN  • Charleston, KY • Paducah, KY • Louisville, KY • Monroe, LA • New Orleans, LA • Shreveport, LA • Boston, MA • Springfield, MA • Baltimore, MD • Salisbury, MD • Detroit, MI • Kansas City, MO • Minneapolis, MN • Columbus, MS • Hattiesburg, MS • Jackson, MS • Albuquerque, NM • New York, NY • Youngstown, OH • Portland, OR • Harrisburg, PA • Johnstown, PA • Philadelphia, PA • Pittsburgh, PA • Wilkes-Barre, PA • Charleston, SC • Chattanooga, TN • Knoxville, TN • Memphis, TN •Nashville, TN • Tri-Cities, TN • El Paso, TX • Houston, TX • Salt Lake City, UT • Richmond, VA • Roanoke, VA • Seattle, WA • Spokane, WA • Wheeling, WV