Drawing From Memory

Just one more reminder about the Allen Say event this weekend. Don’t want any fans to miss the opportunity to see some original artwork and to hear Allen speak about this special book. There’s also a great review (one of the many this book has received) on this web site. You have to go to “D” and search for the title Drawing From Memory to access the review.

This is my favorite photo from the book. Sensei Noro Shinpei looks like a cowboy even though he’s wearing a kimono. You can sense the excitement and promise in the wistful young Allen.

Purchase the book from the Museum Store Online >>

2011 Lexus winner Karen Nakawatase with Tammie Kanda of Toyota

2011 Lexus Opportunity Drawing Winner!

Congratulations to Karen Nakawatase of Fountain Valley, CA, winner of the 2011 Lexus Opportunity Drawing! Nakawatase was the recipient of a new Lexus RX450h hybrid, courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. Her winning ticket was drawn on April 16, 2011, at the Japanese American National Museum’s annual Gala Dinner & Silent Auction in Los Angeles. Nakawatase (left) is pictured here with Tammie Kanda of Toyota (right).
2011 Lexus winner Karen Nakawatase with Tammie Kanda of Toyota
Photo by Nobuyuki Okada
Thank you to everyone who supported the drawing, which raised more than $120,000 in donations to support diversity education programs at the Japanese American National Museum.

Today’s Groupon: Discount on our Tea Fest!

I was excited to see today’s Groupon discounts for our very own Chado Tea Room! There are three options:

  • For $10, you get two tickets to the first annual Los Angeles Tea Festival on August 13 and 14 (a $20 value).
  • For $30, you get afternoon tea for two people and $25 worth of loose-leaf tea (a $61 value).
  • For $48, you get afternoon tea for four people and $25 worth of loose-leaf tea (a $97 value).

Have you been to our Chado Tea Room? It is a wonderfully civilized place to have Afternoon Tea. A hidden gem. I love it!

Well, I just wanted to point out these fabulous deals, especially the discounted tickets to the Tea Fest in conjunction with our Saturday, Aug 13 Summer Festival — our most popular event of the year! — just in case there are a few rare JANM blog readers out there who do not get the Groupon alerts. The Chado Groupon is available until the end of day Saturday July 30th!

Chado Groupon Deal >>

Jerome Lu's Hyperactive Shaolin Rabbit

I say Labbit, you say Rabbit

I have received a couple of inquiries as to the origin of the title for the Year of the Labbit show, so I thought perhaps an explanation was in order. I was not trying to confuse, confound, or humiliate anyone for not being able to pronounce Ls and Rs (like my mother planned to when she wanted to name me Laura so neither my Chinese nor Japanese grandparents would be able to say my name correctly –Lola, Rora,..)

Jerome Lu's Hyperactive Shaolin Rabbit
Angry Asian labbit! (Jerome Lu's Hyperactive Shaolin Rabbit)

 

The blank toy that was used for the show was an already existing product created by Kid Robot and the artist Frank Kozik. I wondered about the name since the toy had absolutely no reflection of any Asian influences. I assumed it was a combination of the Latin based word for “rabbit” which in French at least is “lapin” and  “rabbit”, and left it at that. There were never any indications that this was aimed at an Asian audience, it never came with Asian themed accessories, and wasn’t questioned until I decided to use it for the blank canvas for this show, at this Museum, and called the show the Year of the Labbit.

I contacted the artist to ask him how the Labbit got its name. Frank told me that his first version of this toy was a mean-looking rabbit with a cigarette in its mouth and a scar on its forehead. I had seen this in his artwork as a “Smorkin’ Labbit”, and indeed several toy versions were made with variations of rabbits and other inanimate objects (like watermelons, hamburgers, etc. all smoking cigarettes.) Frank said that he sent his Smokin’ Rabbit design to Asia for final production. When he received his first shipment of packaged product, someone in Asia had changed everything to Smorkin’ Labbit! Rather than scrap the whole project and return everything for a re-do, he decided to let serendipity to play into his product and kept the name as is.

The version of Kozik’s toy we are using is called the Happy Labbit and is a little more family friendly and cute. But basically I chose it because its shape offered the most surface area for artists to paint on.

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.

National Asian American Theater Conference


The National Museum is honored to be one of the hosts the 3rd Annual National Asian American Theater Conference & Festival. Here is the schedule of performances that will be taking place here @ JANM:

National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (Tateuchi Democracy Forum)

June 23, 2011

7:00pm NAATCO: A Number by Caryl Churchill

9:00pm May Lee-Yang: Ten Reasons Why’d I’d Be a Bad Porn Star

June 24, 2011

7:00pm Brandon Patton and Prince Gomolvilas: Jukebox Stories

9:00pm Jason Magabo Perez: The Passion of El Hulk Hogancito

June 25, 2011

7:00pm May Lee-Yang: Ten Reasons Why’d I’d Be a Bad Porn Star

9:00pm NAATCO: A Number by Caryl Churchill

June 26, 2011

2:00pm Jason Magabo Perez: The Passion of El Hulk Hogancito

4:00pm Brandon Patton and Prince Gomolvilas: Jukebox Stories

For schedule information, visit www.caata.net/.

More Spaces Available in our Introduction Udon Making Class!

We have a few spaces available in our introduction to udon making class with Sonoko Sakai!

Find out how to make real and delicious udon noodles! Wear close toes shoes with soft soles. Bring an apron and a tupperware to take home your udon. $75 members; $85 non-members, includes admission and supplies. RSVP early, 12 students max.

For more information about Sonoko Sakai and her other workshops, visit www.cooktellsastory.com/.

RECAP: Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival

For the last four years, JANM is honored to be the host of the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival! Here is a sample of the blogs and stories out of this years fest!

www.honeysmoke.com/9883/mixed-roots-2/

Here is my favorite quote from the blog:

“Have a story? Write it, perform it, film it, or sing it. We all know everyone has a story to tell. I, for one, am delighted two Mixed Chicks created the festival four years ago. Held at the Japanese American National Museum in the heart of Little Tokyo, the festival is a home of sorts. It’s a safe place, a place where anyone can be whatever she wants to be.”

Check out this NPR story about the festival:  www.npr.org/2011/06/14/137174973/mixed-roots-festival-embraces-mixed-race-authors

Also, check out some pics: www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150635748970276.682967.345188765275

See you at next years Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival!