L.A. Heat: Taste Changing Condiments opens tonight at CAM with the inventors of Sriracha and Tapatio

On Tuesday morning, I got to check out a preview of the L.A. Heat: Taste Changing Condiments group show at the Chinese Museum. The impressive 30-artist lineup–which pays tribute to the Sriracha and Tapatio hot sauces that spread culture around L.A. and beyond–features many names that will be familiar to Giant Robot heads: The Clayton Brothers, David Chung, Kwanchai Moriya I grabbed a photo with contributing artist Michael C. Hsiung and co-curator/Interim Executive Director of CAM Steve Wong in advance of the packed opening.

Also present on press day were artists Trinh Mai, Michael Massenburg, and Ching Ching Cheng–each is as cool as her or she is talented. Tonight’s gala will be open to the public and will feature most of the artists as well as the inventors of the Southern California-based Sriracha and Tapatio, David Tran and Jose-Luis Saavedra, Sr. Excellent art, culinary legends, and a cool museum celebrating its tenth anniversary–check it out tonight in El Pueblo de Los Angeles, right across from Olvera Street!

Reception info -

Address -
Chinese American Museum

425 N. Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012




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Interview by Mr Bobby Hundreds

It’s been 10 years since I’ve been interviewed by The Hundreds (link).

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Giant Robot Time: 3.7.14

Sun 3/9 3-5pm Nathan Ota Mono Print workshop; 3/15

Sat 3/15 5-10pm GR 20th Anniversary

Sat 3/22 7-10pm Game Night

Read it here.

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Ultraman returns to the U.S.A.

Perhaps you were driving around the warehouses of Downtown L.A. or even Pasadena last November and thought you glimpsed Ultraman coming to the rescue of a motorist. You weren’t crazy and it actually happened! Next week, humankind’s champion from Nebula 78 is returning to the American airwaves (and the Internet) to promote State Farm’s services to the Chinese market. The Tsuburaya team flew from Japan to Southern California with their suits and expertise to shoot the campaign and I was there.

At the catering table, I chatted with a Tsuburaya business rep and trainer about what’s happening with the Ultraman franchise these days, as well as what it was like to wear the suit back in the day. Of course, I also snagged time for some pictures with the commercial’s star, Ultraman Neos, a close relative to the costumed hero of my youth and pop culture’s missing link between Superman and Godzilla!


What do you do at Tsuburaya?
I’m a Tokyo-based sales guy who brings Ultraman to other countries.

Did you grow up as an Ultraman fan?
No, because Ultrman didn’t have a TV series from 1980 to 1996. I watched Kamen Rider and Power Rangers, instead.

But there were still stickers, puzzles, and toys. Ultraman is all over Asia! Can you talk about Ultraman’s popularity among Asians?
He is very popular because Asia doesn’t have its own hero and we’ve been showing since the seventies. So people in their thirties, forties, and fifties are familiar with the character. I think that’s why Ultraman is still popular today in all age groups.

What sorts of licensing are you doing in Asia right now?
Right now we’re doing a Happy Meal campaign with McDonald’s. We don’t do alcohol, medicine, drugs, or adult products.

How often is new Ultraman material produced?
We do not produce a TV series every year but try to make a movie or series every other year so people don’t forget about us.

Is it important to keep the costumes, puppetry, and miniature sets that Ultraman is known for instead of using cg for special effects?
Good question. The older generation wants to see the original style but the kids prefer computer graphics because the models don’t look real to them. Two years ago, we used both and there were pros and cons.

You don’t want to mess with a legend, but you need to please the kids.
It’s a challenge to decide to use both or one or the other. It’s very controversial. (more…)

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Giant Robot Time: 2.28.14 – Scrambled Eggs now available online!

Normally, we’d post it in it’s entirety, but while is being worked on, you’ll have to read GR Time at this link. – Read it here.

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Show reviews: King Buzzo acoustic set at the Satellite plus A Minor Forest, Dum Dum Girls, Kevin Seconds, and SMIC2 with Baja Bugs, CH3, and Money Mark

King Buzzo played his first ever acoustic set at the Satellite last night and it was amazing. I really didn’t know what to expect when Scion announced the free show. Would it be Melvins Lite light? Were marshmallows going to be provided for “Kumbaya” moments? No way. It was heavy as shit, with Buzzo singing as if he heard the bone-crushing music of the Melvins in his fuzzy head while trying to break his acoustic axe’s unorthodox-tuned strings with every stroke. The badass set started with a super dark Alice Cooper cover and ended with my favorite Japanese psychedelic doom metal band’s namesake song, “Boris.” Somewhere in the middle of the show he previewed a cut off his upcoming album and surveyed a bunch of Melvins tunes. It was great. You had to be there–or not. There was a ton of SLR-wielding dudes filming the event so you should be able to check it out on the Scion AV site one of these days… Props to Tweak Bird for playing a far-out opening set. I arrived half-way through and was stuck in the back of the room, too far to take photos, but they ripped.


You might have noticed that the GR site went down a week or so ago. Here are some friends’ shows that were casualties but need to be on this blog…

Dum Dum Girls record release show at The Echo on January 28. I like the new LP but the new songs sound even better with the proper band propelled by my pal Sandy Vu’s killer chops and beats. Killer set of psychedelic pop goth with an extra dude added for bonus texture. I expect this lineup to be out of their collective minds by the time they hit Coachella.

A Minor Forest at The Satellite on February 8. Back in the day, drummer Andee Conners stayed at my house with J Church, P.E.E., and this band, A Minor Forest, which just got back together for some reunion shows. They were tighter, heavier, and more mathy than ever. Perhaps more fun, too. So great to seeing him and the dudes in action and hanging out on the sidewalk, as well as opener Rob Crow.

Kevin Seconds at Amoeba Hollywood on February 13. Okay, I don’t personally know the singer from 7 Seconds but Eloise is now part of the youth crew after attending the in-store commemorating his great new solo album. Accompanied by his wife Allyson and Kepi Ghoulie, the new songs aren’t meandering singer-songwriter stuff but brief, earnest bursts of energy that rip. Sound familiar?

Save Music in Chinatown 2 on February 9 at Human Resources. Our fundraising has now reached about $7,500 to put toward music education at Castelar Education in Chinatown. The lineup of our second benefit matinee was a dream for me:

DJ Adam Bomb from KXLU’s Bomb Shelter played first-generation L.A. punk and hardcore (Weirdos, Circle Jerks, X, Dils, Adolescents…) complemented by vintage 7″ singles from my friends from KCHUNG.

Hector Penalosa from The Zeros brought his Baja Bugs, the rippingest Beatles cover band ever–which channels the Plimsouls and Undertones as much as The Fab Four–then previewed  new solo work. Hector is a national treasure of O.G. punk rock, who has supported Save Music in Chinatown since the beginning.

Channel Three played an all-out, full-blast set of Posh Boy classics with guest stars Maria Montoya on “You Make Me Feel Cheap” and Tony Adolescent singing a rad cover of “California” by The Simpletones. Not only one of my favorite bands ever but some of the nicest dudes, who brought a huge crew to support the cause.

Money Mark was ditched by the guys that were supposed to play the matinee and instead brought a carload of vintage, junky, and discarded gear/treasures for a funky demo that got the little kids grooving and reminded adults how much fun music should be.

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GR2: 20 Years Art X Mags Exhibition

Mar 15th – April 2nd 2014

Reception Saturday March 15, 2014 5-10pm

Mar 15th – April 2nd 2014
Reception Saturday March 15, 2014 5-10pm

Giant Robot presents: 20 Years Art x Mags Exhibition
Giant Robot began in 1994 as a zine which soon became a full-fledged magazine and published for 16 years. Today, Giant Robot exists as a website, a shop, and as a gallery. Although the exact date of inception is a mystery, the date published on the cover of the first issue says it all – No. 1 and 1994.

Featuring many artists who have appeared in Giant Robot and some who haven’t.

The list includes:

Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Ryan McGinness, Rob Sato, Geoff McFetridge, Pete Fowler, kozyndan, Shintaro Ohata, Matt Furie, Albert Reyes, Shizu Saldamando, Souther Salazar, Megan Whitmarsh, Stella Lai, Saelee Oh, Seonna Hong, Adrian Tomine, Amy Davis, Ai Yamaguchi, James Jean, Heisuke Kitazawa, Scott Wilkowski, Jeff Soto, Mari Inukai, Sean Chao, David Horvath, Dehara Yukinori, Luke Chueh, Kohei Yamashita, Yoskay Yamamoto, Edwin Ushiro, Ako Castuera, Bobby Hundreds, 326, Rachell Sumpter, and yes plenty more TBA.

This exhibition will precede the epic SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot at the Oakland Museum of California. April 19 – July 27th, 2014.

For any additional information, contact Eric Nakamura ([email protected], twitter: giantroboteric) GR2 – 310-445-9276.

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LA Zine Fest – 20th Anniversary GR Zine Packs!

Released at the LA Zine Fest. Issue 1 and 2 with a sticker sheet and button. I took shots of many of the folks who grabbed a set. It was also an honor when some folks bought a Giant Robot zine pack and issues of Cometbus together! Get your zine packs


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Pizza of Misunderstanding

QUICK, someone get Angry Asian Man on this!!!

Oh, wait… never mind, this was just a matter of really poor spelling.

Read the exciting story here. Not as exciting as this one, but clearly, the pizza delivery industry still has some chinks to work out in its notification armor.

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GR2: Nathan Ota Scrambled Eggs… Preview

Some images for Nathan Ota – Scrambled Eggs

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Gross Starbucks

Last week there was Dumb Starbucks that LA lined up for, and the news that Subway was using a chemical found in yoga mats to make their ever-fresh breads. It’s been an exciting time for global brands!

The suspect chemical, azodiacarbonamide, is banned in Europe, Australia, and conscientious Singapore and Japan, but still fine for everyone else to eat – and we know that pretty much anything goes in China.

Starbucks China has come clean and admitted that they also use azodiacarbonamide in their pastries, and they’re a bit unapologetic about it. It’s considered a legal food additive in the U.S. as well as China, just maybe not the most PR friendly of ingredients.

Funnily enough, Subway China has come out and stated that they don’t use azodiacarbonamide in their restaurant’s breads. That’s mostly because their bread comes from New Zealand where the chemical is banned as a food additive.

That’s a globalization WIN!

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The Twins Story – Separated at Birth and Recently Found

And Twins… years apart, miles apart, and they discovered each other with the help of Facebook… the story has been going around, but now you can some video insight on ABC.

See more US News from ABC|ABC World News

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Love for Leni hits LA

Last fall we wrote about bone marrow registry drives fueled by love for Leni Hsiao, a now nine month-old hapa cutie (Chinese and Jewish) who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. There have been several fundraising and awareness events inspired by Leni, and now one is coming to LA.

The event will feature artwork and items from these generous creators, with all proceeds going towards Leni’s medical expenses:

Alelli Tanghal, Alice Dison, Amanda Lopez, Anthony Samaniego, Aryo Toh Djojo, Bam and Lanie Barcena, Bill McMullen, Cern, Charlie Becker, Chase, Claw Money, Dallas Clayton, Daniel Racz, David Choe, Deanne Cheuk, Dez Einswell, Dorothy Hong, Dwindle, Eileen San Felipe, Faile, Gary Baseman, Geoff McFetridge, Hassan Rahim, HVW8 Gallery, Indie 184, James Jean (Hundreds), Jessica Rivas, Jordin Isip, Justin Krietemeyer, Katsuo Design, Kristofferson San Pablo, Matt Goldman, Michael C. Hsiung, Nomade, Our Open Road/Adam Harteau, Perfekt World, Rachel Pitler Hsiung, Raphael Tanghal, Rich Jacobs, Rich One (NASA Crew), Rich Tu, Ryan McGinness, Sayori Wada, Shepard Fairey, Stephen Platt, Stephen Stickler, Steven Harrington, Tamar Levine, Theme Magazine, Tim Biskup, Tobin Yelland, Tofer Chin, URNY, Vanessa Salle, Vashtie, Vicki Yeung and others. Other items are available to bid on by Adidas, Girl/Eric Koston, Han Cholo, Innovative Leisure Records, Jen Lu/Hook Ups Decks, Karlita Designs, Knotwork LA, Knowhow Shop, lovejac, The Oinkster, Maximiliano, Sony BMG, Public School, Rick Williams, Talib Kweli, Warby Parker, YogaVibe and more. Bake sale goods provided by Ticings.

In an interview with Amanda Hsiao, mom to Leni and her big sister Mae, we learn more about leukemia, Leni, and the love she’s inspired.

GR: Can you talk a bit about Leni’s initial diagnosis and what kind of support was available for you as a family dealing with leukemia?

AH: Leni’s initial diagnosis was obviously a shock to us. We are not from families that have a history of a blood cancer, or any type of cancer for that matter. We come from very different national and religious backgrounds which is thought to lessen the odds of having a genetic diseases or abnormalites, so it took a long time to accept what we were hit with. Also, the fact that her type of leukemia is extremely and incredibly rare, it made us even more shocked then we already were.

Immediate support came from our amazing friends who helped us with our other daughter Mae, and our dog Luna. Support also came from our wealth of friends who volunteered to order us dinner every night at the hospital. You cannot imagine the gratitude I have for this. Support came from friends who ran our websites, blogs, and Instagram to help us get the word out for help, support and awareness. Support came from an amazing team of doctors and nurses who initially treated her and ultimately saved her life. Support came from charities like Friends of Karen and Red Dog Foundation – just two of a bunch that immediately helped us financially.  Ironically, we consider ourselves lucky in an extremely unlucky situation with what support we had as this was all happening.

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GR 20 Years: Reprinting Giant Robot Issue 1 and 2

LA Zine Fest is around the corner, it’s next sunday and by then, I’ll have reprinted Giant Robot 1 and 2 with a separate short intro that tells you just a bit about those issues. Making copies isn’t the same as it was in 1994, you no longer have to photocopy a page and reload the machine to copy on the backside and do this until you’re done. It’s true that some machines did it all automatically, but if you’re pasting pages together, then they often get jammed. Now, you can print it digitally. Actually, someone else can print it digitally for you. That said, these two issues are a distant memory. I wish I were more nostalgic. Yet, it’s nice to see them again. It’s also a great honor to know that somehow I’ve withstood 20 years of time after the first issue of Giant Robot.

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First Indian Guess Girl is Priyanka Chopra

Yes, she’s hot. A sort of a Cindy Crawford meets Amy Winehouse, minus the crack and track mark hiding tattoos. Priyanka Chopra is a “Guess Girl”. She’s relatively unknown, but is a Bollywood star having made 40 movies (which could now be 50), and she’s now reaching out towards music in America in music, modeling and acting. She was a Miss World winner in 2000 and is now 31. Will she “make it?” Has she already made it? Does she need this? We’ll see fairly soon if her songs hit, but meanwhile she’ll be looking good in black and white in Guess ads. Anyone know where they advertise these days? (New York Times)

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Rodman Goes to Rehab and Kenneth Bae Goes to Prison Camp

We all know that Rodman and Bae have nothing to do with each other thanks to the Rodman meltdown. Now that Rodman’s North Korea adventures are buried in everyone’s news feeds, Kenneth Bae makes his own headlines by being moved to a prison camp. When this piece of news gets buried, he’ll be fucked. (CNN)

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Giant Robot at the LA Art Book Fair

It was our first time setting up at the LA Art Book Fair at the Geffen MOCA. I thankfully had a “home field” advantage with JANM being next door and it helped. The event itself is a happy event that features both publications that are puzzling and ones that reflect the world in and around Giant Robot. Comics, zines, and indie art publications are packed in the “zine” area. Although we were set up in a more art publisher room, it was a great experience. We featured David Horvath from Uglydoll, Luke Chueh and Shizu Saldamando signing their books.



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Save Music in Chinatown 2 preview: Adam Bomb

I met Pat Hoed when he was playing bass for Down By Law. It was after the Chemical People moved on as Dave Smalley’s backing band, and I recall that lineup playing at Jabberjaw as well as releasing a pretty great double 7 inch. Actually, I interviewed them for Flipside, too, and I fondly recall having pato and chips with Pat and Jaime Piña at Jaime’s pad after a Chems show…

Since then, our paths have continued to cross. Way back when it would be at the Hollywood Book and Poster booth at Comic-Con and then at underground wrestling events (where Pat did commentary as Larry Rivera) in the alley behind Mondo Video A-Go-Go on Vermont. Afterward, it was at Brujeria gigs (the Satanic drug-dealing Mexican death metal band in which he donned the bandana and sang as Fantasma, whom I interviewed along with Pinche Pinch for Giant Robot) and punk movie premieres (We Jam Econo, Filmage).

But what came to mind as I was setting up the next Save Music in Chinatown show was him playing vintage punk and hardcore records as Adam Bomb, his alias for the famous KXLU hardcore show, The Final Countdown. I can’t believe that my old friend and L.A. punk mainstay (who was in Nip Drivers, Left Insane, and a ton of other bands) said yes.

Really stoked that you’re contributing to our benefit! Did you go to punk shows in Chinatown back in the day?
Hello, glad to be a part of this! When those Chinatown shows were happening, I wasn’t able to drive. The Hong Kong Cafe seemed so far away. And out here in Los Feliz, I was alone on punker island. None of my friends wanted anything to do with this strange music so I was confined to shows at Baces Hall and the Other Masque that was on Santa Monica and Vine. Good times, man!

Last time I saw Adam Bomb in action was the closing of Track 16 with Middle Class and Meat Puppets. You played a great set. Do people ask you to come out and play records very often?
That was a great show and I thank Jordan and Dave of We Got Power for the opportunity to have played that one. I don’t get too many invitations these days. I also still play bass in quite a few bands so I think it’s hard for people to distinguish my true aim: bass or DJ? It would be nice to pick up some more DJ action but with so many people doing it these days, it’s tough. Maybe I need some “representation.”

How many bands are you in currently, anyway?
Right now there is The Golden Rulers, Black Widows, The Probe, and The Rush Riddle Orchestra. I’ll let you know if anything else comes along. I’ll never get tired of bass!

Do most people on the street know you as Adam, Pat, or Fantasma?
All three! I don’t mind it–but don’t forget Larry Rivera!

Anything else to add?
Really looking forward to this event, man! I’m down for anything that helps to further the efforts of music education in this city. And cheers to you for putting this together, Martin. See you on February 9!

Save some dough by purchasing advance tickets at the Eventbrite page and then check out the archives of Adam Bomb’s greatest Final Countown shows on KXLU featuring Venom, Suicidal Tendencies, The Circle Jerks, C.O.C., The Mentors, The Beastie Boys, and more. 

You can find out more about the man, the myth, my friend, at the links below:

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Iijima Hiroki : Portrait of a Kendama Samurai by Matthew Ballard

It’s no secret, there’s a bunch of us at GR who play kendama. We’re all newbs and pretty much suck, but the fella who started us out is Krom sponsored pro, Matt Ballard. He makes videos super well, and this is his latest about a kendama player from Japan named Iijima Hiroki who mixed kendama and dancing. You won’t see any of us do anything like this, including his tricks. He’s quite great.

Iijima Hiroki : Portrait of a Kendama Samurai from Matthew Ballard on Vimeo.

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Arthur Chu – Jeopardy Champ is Playing Money Ball

He searched for Daily Doubles by going out of order, he’ll play for the tie, and he wins money. People hate his style, but he’s gaming. (The Wire) You can follow some of the links in The Wire to learn more about what he’s doing. 

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