Long Beach: Work in Progress (April 26, 2013)

I don’t talk about my day job here very often, but I think that a lot of you will appreciate this. Imprint Culture Lab is a company that showcases up-and-coming, under-the-radar, and imported ideas. Eric Nakamura actually helped kickstart the earliest ones, bringing in high-powered friends from the worlds of streetwear, tech, otaku, and craft. I’ve been helping out with the newest one, which takes place in the home base of Imprint and its sister company interTrend.

The topic was born when the founder of Imprint/CEO of interTrend Julia Huang (above, right) told me that her companies were moving from a high rise to the second oldest building in Downtown Long Beach. I created a job for myself documenting its renovation, digging into the building’s sordid past as a psychic temple, researching the local history, and showcasing the community’s energy and upside in a blog. While sitting in on a meeting to choose a direction for the next Imprint, Long Beach seemed like a perfect choice to me. With the company investing and placing roots in the neighborhood, it was time to give back and grow it.

Long Beach: Work in Progress, which takes place next Friday, will have four panels. Authors Cara Mullio and Jennifer M. Volland will talk about their new book for Hennesy+Ingalls on Case Study House architect Edward A. Killingsworth. On the subject of music, Joe Escalante from The Vandals (above, left) and Jack from T.S.O.L. will represent Long Beach’s first generation hardcore punk subculture and Chhom Nimol and Zac Holtzman will talk about their relationship Long Beach’s Little Cambodia.

To talk about food, I recruited the Pulitzer Prize winning writer Jonathan Gold (above, left). It turns out his uncommon knowledge of local eateries is equaled by his LBC stories about Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, who were coming up from when he was a music writer. To represent Long Beach’s longtime involvement with skateboarding, I selected pro Chad Tim Tim, O.G. skater Justin Reynolds, cinematographer Ricki “The Dude” Bedenbaugh, and shoe designer Paul Kwon–all homies as well as rippers (top right: Justin, Chad, Paul).

To complement my old friends and new ones, the Imprint crew has asked longtime supporters John Jay (W+K Garage) and jeffstaple (Staple Design, Imprint) to present the keynote speech and handle the closing discussion, respectively. I can’t even list all that the team has done in terms of planning, preparing, and funding. How lucky am I that my job has been simply to round up and work with creative people that I really respect and push culture in the process? (I also got to make a program/zine and will be introducing the panels, talks, and speakers…)

For more information and a link to ticketing, check out the Long Beach: Work in Progress site. (Or hit me up directly…) Hope to see you at the historic and long-shuttered Edison Theatre, opened by the City of Long Beach just for this event, on Friday, April 26.