Ten Things in 2011

This isn’t a Top Ten list like “Best Concert, Best Movie, or Best Toy”. It’s a list that’s as important and there are highlights in them all, but by no means is it a Top Ten of anything. They’re just important as everything else – family, friends, and so on. Maybe I’ll try and turn out a list that’s more like that…


 We painted the mural on the wall. That alone was an 11 hour project. 


Zen Garage – The year started off great with the Zen Garage art opening just a few days before the new year. Yet, the actual New Year’s Day kicked off with the Oshogatsu program at JANM. It was motor vehicles including the Giant Robot Scion Car I designed but also custom motorcycles and the now vintage David Choe Scion. Thanks to Len Higa and Shinya Kimura for jumping on board. The year began with a GR show in a museum – it’s a great start with you get to do a project with friends, new friends, and a place like JANM. Collaboration can be more fun than doing something alone.


 It’s great when artists install their own work. 


James Jean Art Show – Aside from it being one of the greater or even greatest art shows of the year, it also indelibly marked the night that the earthquake struck Japan. I recall, it was at the after party, the twitter messages were beginning. An 8.9 quake? The thought of a giant quake was one thing, yes there would be lives lost and yes a lot of damage, but less than an hour later, the Tsunami hit the shores and that’s when the things got real, it became internet news for days straight.

Michael Arias shot photos and posted them on our site. Here’s one post


Japan Tsunami Benefit – Not long after the Earthquake and Tsunami, we were able to put together a benefit. It’s not easy to set up an event that is truly for someone else, but we were able to do it. Conventional business would say, “after expenses” but we didn’t. Literally 100% of the funds for much of the artwork went to Unicef and we lost our shirts for it. With the help of Intertrend ad and marketing agency who matched up to $10,000, we wrote a hefty check in the amount of $33,000. It’s not about how much, but more about how we were able to rally our artists friends to make a difference. I’m hoping by now, it’s obvious that all the hard work some of you put into making money to buy shit, there’s so much else happening that’s more important than you, your shit or your money.


Saelee Oh, Seonna Hong, and Michelle Borok


GR2 Benefit – Following the support for Japan, a few months later we did our own. Robots art show. Again an amazing show of support from our close friends everywhere. It gave us another great look at the support GR has from people all around. We forget about that and it’s right in front of us. On a side note: Michelle Borok, close friend, manager, curator and more, gave me a speech. I didn’t want to hear it, but she made me hear it. In a nutshell it went something like, “LISTEN. NO, LISTEN! You have done so much for me, and showed me… NO LISTEN!” I was too touched to hear it all, but she made me. Here’s what the event looked like.

Surrogate Valentine – Trolling around film festivals can be fun. Goh Nakamura starring in a film? Yes he did it and 2011 was a fun year for cinema in Asian America. I didn’t go to that many, but the concept of a micro film, micro distribution, but full scale effort restored the concept of indie film as a business model. It’s just another way of looking at it all. It’s just the start according to Gary Chou who’s pic is posted below. He would know.



(front) Goh Nakamura, Anderson Le, David Boyle (back) Gary Chou


LAIFF / HIFF Judging – Judging two film festivals Features section – the big one! The LA Independent and the Hawaii International. Like crime, these don’t pay. But imagine… judging a film can help make it or break it. The bigger the arena, the larger the prizes. In short, it could change a filmmakers life. I’m glad to be part of it and I take it serious since I know it’s value.

New Website – Compared to what we had, our new site is up and running. A few more tweaks here and there and things will be great. As is it, it’s grown from being almost overlooked to now being a small part of the solution to a mostly crappy internet. It’ll grow more. I guarantee that. It gets a small mention since it’s just getting going.


 I was there the last day of GRSF. It was a great goodbye.


Closing GRSF – After eight years, GRSF closed. The neighborhood changed, our economy changed, and closing it was necessary. I’ve had a lot of folks say it with sadness, but for me, truthfully, I was happy. It was a great milestone. Stores aren’t supposed to be there forever – whether it’s one year or decades long. 6 in NY and 8 in SF. That’s solid and most don’t remember there was 1 art show a month in each of those spaces. 72 + 84 = 156 art shows in NY and SF alone. Add LA and the outside of GR shows, we’re talking well over 225+ art shows. Like the print magazine, it was time to hang it up. Yet… in 2012, keep a left eye out for a print magazine in some form. It’s up to me, I am here and I know how.


Yes, this is the guy from the commercials. 


Black Ops / MW3 – You’d think video games have nothing to do with anything. For the most part, they don’t. This game actually can teach teamwork. Granted, most of the people who play run around like a spaz with a gun, but as a team, it’s another story. Teamwork does matter. It can change how things work. Without a team, you won’t win games. I wasn’t even counting but realized, we won 25 games in a row. Alone, I couldn’t win 5. This applies elsewhere is the only thing you need to know. The rest of it is just a game.


GR2 Changes – The end of the year provides a new beginning as well. Watch for the post on the changes (yes it’s published already). It starts in just a few days. It’s a mouthful.