Happy New Year from a WaterDragon

And I’m letting my Chinese side take over here so this won’t seem like a belated New Year’s greeting!

Well, I’m off to the New York Gift Show this weekend and I’m hoping to find new and exciting things there. For many of my vendors this is the only time we get to meet in person. I know that the world has changed and we are all getting used to shopping online (and believe me, I’m glad you do shop online!) but sometimes I just have to see stuff in real life to be assured that it is of good enough quality to offer to all of you.

New York is also a great place to check out other museum stores and see what’s happening on the other side of the country.

If I can get my technology to cooperate, I will try and post photos of some of the people that make and sell the items you have come to love in our store!

Wow! Thanks Stan!

To let you know how busy things are here at the Museum, I totally forgot that yesterday was the last day for the Stan Sakai Labbit auction. Imagine my surprise to get an email from eBay notifying us that Stan’s Labbit sold for over $1500! Stan has graciously donated the proceeds of this sale to the Museum, and for that we are grateful. We are also proud to have helped Stan participate in his first custom toy show!

Drawing the Line videos all online!

There’s just one more month to see Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism at JANM!

If you’d like a taste of what is in the exhibition, all of the  Drawing the Line artist videos are online now. You can check them out on our YouTube channel.

Here’s the video of musician and dancer Nobuko Miyamoto, founder of Great Leap.

If you’re a fan of Nobuko, don’t miss her performance this coming Tuesday at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions:

Nobuko Miyamoto—What Can a Song Do?
Tuesday, January 24, 7pm
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, 6522 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90028.

Nobuko Miyamoto and Chris Iijima. Courtesy of Photographic Collections, Visual Communications. © Visual Communications.

Together with a group of guest musicians and activists from the 1960s/‘70s and the present, Miyamoto brings alive the dynamic moment when her 1973 album “A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle of Asians in America,” created a heartbeat for the Asian American Movement and shared rhythms with Black, Latino, and Native American cultural and political activists.

General admission is $10, students is $5, and it’s FREE for members of JANM and LACE! Tickets available at the door.

One last Drawing the Line update! We asked Yoshimi Kawashima (a former intern and current JANM volunteer!) to write an article about Gidra magazine for our Discover Nikkei site. Yoshimi is a current UCLA student active with the Nikkei Student Union (NSU), so thought she’d appreciate the assignment. We think she did a great job! GIDRA: The Voice of the Asian American Movement

Update (added 1/20/12): We’ve pulled together a Nikkei Album on our Discover Nikkei site with all of the Drawing the Line videos with brief summaries of each video. Check it out >>

Car designer Larry Shinoda

When you walk into the museum now, one of the first things you notice as you enter the front doors to the Pavilion is a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. I pass by the car every day on the way to my office, and I always see visitors stopping to admire it.

Photo by Gary Ono

But why a Corvette in the Japanese American National Museum?

It’s because it was designed by Japanese American automotive designer Larry Shinoda, and it’s part of the Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism exhibition on view through February 19, 2012.

Untitled drawing (Stingray), Larry Shinoda. Pencil on paper. Gift of the Shinoda Family, Japanese American National Museum (2003.124.3).

Upstairs in the exhibition galleries, we also have a number of his original drawings and sketches of various other cars he designed like the Mako Shark concept car, and the Boss Mustang. There’s also a bunch of historic photos, trophies, and other memorabilia that were donated to the museum by his family after his passing in 1997.

I have to admit that I don’t know much about cars, but the aerodynamic sporty style is very cool to see, and his personal story is very interesting too. His father died when he was a young child. From early on, he was always interested in cars and in drawing. He and his family were incarcerated at Manzanar during WWII. After the war, he grew up in Southern California where he built and raced cars, leading to his work designing and building cars.

The Watase Media Arts Center created a video about Shinoda for the exhibition with interviews with his sister and a long-time good friend:

The video is included on the exhibition DVD available for purchase through the Museum Store: Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism in Post-War Los Angeles (DVD) >>

By the way…Shinoda didn’t just design cars. He also worked on pretty much anything that moves such as Roger Penske’s race trailers, motor homes, tractors, big rig trucks, and even the Goodyear Blimp logo. And for those who were wondering…no, he’s not related to the other famous Shinoda that we have featured at the museum!

One more bit of trivia…the wedding dress currently on display in our Common Ground exhibition was made by Larry Shinoda’s mother!

“Farewell to Manzanar” screening with Director John Korty!

Our Farewell to Manzanar screening is coming up this Sunday! The special guest will be Director John Korty who will participate in a Q&A following the screening.

One of our volunteers recently interviewed the award-winning director for our Discover Nikkei website about how he got into filmmaking, and about making Farewell to Manzanar into a film.

Read the interview >>

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If you haven’t already purchased tickets for this special screening, here’s the info:

Farewell to Manzanar screening
Japanese American National Museum
Sunday, October 23, 2011 • 2pm
Join Director John Korty for a Q&A following the screening!

$25 Members; $30 non-members, includes admission and a complimentary copy of the DVD.

Purchase tickets >>

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If you can’t make it to the screening, you can also order copies of the DVD from the Museum Store. The DVD includes bonus features: the Remembering Manzanar documentary created for the Manzanar National Historic Site; and an interview with Jeanne Wakatasuki Houston from when she was honored at the Museum’s 2006 Gala Dinner.

Order the DVD from the Museum Store >>

View video clips from the interview on Discover Nikkei >>

“Farewell to Manzanar” release on DVD

After 35 years, Farewell to Manzanar will FINALLY be available for people to buy!

In 1976, the made-for-TV movie was shown on NBC, directed by John Korty from a screenplay written by the original authors of the book—Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and her husband James D. Houston. It was a film made for a mainstream audience using Japanese American actors and many crew, something that is still pretty unheard of today.

There were several reasons why it was never re-broadcast, and only rarely shown after its initial viewing. It was also never made available for sale for the public, despite constant requests from the community, as well as from many educators who use the book in their classrooms as part of their curriculum.

Personally, I’m really excited about the release on DVD because I’ve never actually seen it. I do remember reading it in junior high school for a class assignment, and I’ve heard about the film version so many times. I used to work in the Museum’s Store for many years, and one of the most consistent (and persistent) questions I got year after year was whether we had it for sale. I’m so glad that I can now finally say “Yes!”

FAREWELL TO MANZANAR SCREENING

The Museum is doing a special screening of Farewell to Manzanar on Sunday, October 23 at 2pm in the Democracy Forum. Join special guests for a screening and Q&A. Tickets are $25 for Members or $30 for non-members, and includes Museum admission and a complimentary copy of the DVD. Purchase tickets for the screening >>

You can also order the DVD from the Museum Store >>

LEARN MORE

We asked Esther Newman, one of our volunteer writers, to write a series of articles about the film for our Discover Nikkei website. The first one was published today: Farewell to Manzanar on DVD—Timeless and Timely

Additional pieces will look at director John Korty and the actors in the film.

The Last Labbit Auction!


And it starts in just a few minutes. I have to stay online long enough to have it go live so I can post the links. Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo Labbit made an appearance on the back cover of Stan’s 199th comic book issue, so I imagine the bidding will be fierce for this piece. The Year of the Labbit show is over but Stan’s Labbit is still on view in the Museum Store.

There are still some fine Labbits available on janmstore.com, but they are going fast. We sold 6 more after the show was over!

Oh and Save the Date: Stan Sakai will be at the Museum for a booksigning on October 30. Check our web site for details: janm.org

Here you go! >>

2011-2012 Museum Store Catalog is coming your way!

I just uploaded the new catalog items to our web store. The catalogs went to the post office yesterday and should be arriving at your homes soon.

Just an FYI, there are a few items whose arrival will be later in the season. Look for our big launch of the “Farewell to Manzanar” DVD in October. There is a long story about how this film is finally being made available for sale after 35 years. You will be hearing more about this historic event soon.

Some of our items are coming from far-off lands like France and Japan. And one new item is a special Museum product (you will see it on the cover!) which is making its way on a boat from China. But click on the new catalog cover on the janmstore.com homepage and start making your wish lists for the holidays!

We hope you enjoy the selections we’ve sourced for you this year. And remember to shop, share and support us through the store!

Check out the 2011-12 Museum Store Catalog online >>