San Francisco State University – I went to school at SFSU in 1991 for a semester. It was nice to be asked to speak on campus at their art gallery. Of course it’s perfect timing that it happens at the same time as the Oakland Museum of CA exhibition (SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot). Just a few minutes before the 6pm start time, the group was small, but by the time to talk began, the space was filled. Granted it only takes 20+ people to pack the room, it was nice to see students, art fans, and a few “older” faces. The question and answer is always more fun, and the questions went for a while. It’s when I can tell stories I didn’t plan on telling and that makes the talk more random and hopefully interesting to hear. One wanted to know what he needed to do, since he wanted to follow in my footsteps. It was a great honor to be able to try and explain what wisdom I have accrued to a younger person who’s just getting started. Thanks to Jill Shiraki for setting this one up.
Oakland Museum of CA – I paid a visit on Friday for no official business except to meet up with friend Gordon Yamate, Bert Gatchalian, Tiffany Sun, and a few great staffers there. I gave a private tour which was as detailed as I cared to be at the moment. It lasted about an hour and now that I know what to talk about, I’d do it again. Want one? Just hit me up. The stories that you don’t get to read on the walls on the museum, could be among the best parts of the exhibition. I stayed to make some zines and color a page. I need to improve my skills with colored pencils. The exhibition is as exciting on friday as it was on the first day. Yes, I’m proud of it. I’ll be back up there May 30th and will probably do another tour.
Japanese American Museum San Jose – I don’t get to San Jose often, but it was nice to be able to visit a place that seems so close to home. The museum is filled with stories from Concentration Camps. I spoke upstairs in a meeting room that had a round table and chairs surrounding. As it was getting close to beginning, one of the first faces was an old neighborhood and childhood friend, Bill Chuan. He walked in and I practically started laughing. What the fuck? The surprise was funny and for some reason enlightening. I still can’t believe I saw his familiar face just 30 years or so later. Then family members. Practically long-lost came in. Diane, who’s wedding I attended as a young man came in with her sister, Elaine, and their father and my uncle Jim. The weird thing is that Jim has eyes that are cool grey. He looks like my father. It’s a strange feeling when you recognize someone because of their resemblance of someone else. I haven’t seen them perhaps in decades. Also the volunteers, many of whom I actually have met and know were there as well – welcoming me.
Other old friends came through along with GR readers, and Duane Kubo who was part of Gidra, a 70′s Asian American “movement” newspaper that I hold in high regard. He said that he wanted to meet me as much as I was excited to meet him. He’s a legend and was also part of the founding group of Visual Communications in LA. With long hair, he’s that Asian American who looks cool, hippie, and filled with energy. He even said something too generous. It went something like this: “If you were around then, you’d have been part of Gidra.” He said it casually but made it a point. I’m dwarfed even thinking about that quote. Even with 16 years of indie magazine making in my past, Gidra is still beyond what I could ever accomplish with GR. I shit you not. Gidra was a publication that I researched extensively when I was on a soul search for what Asian American magazine that I could like before GR and now this quote? Oh yeah I did a talk too. Thanks Komo for setting this one up. (all of the photos are from JAMsj)