Monday, August 17, 2009
As mentioned in my previous post from Friday, the NEW PEOPLE center opened to the public on Saturday in San Francisco, accompanied by a street fair with 2-3 different stages hosting performances and signing/panel events. I spent most of my time stalking Yuichi Yokoyama, but took other pictures too. Here is my (photo-heavy) recap of the afternoon!
WELCOME TO NEW PEOPLE
NEW PEOPLE is officially open! The inside of the store is sleek, clean, and full of interesting goods from Japan... or so I heard! From the opening until the late afternoon, there was a non-stop line to get in to the building and check out the shops. I heard from folks that waited that it took over an hour in the sun to get in :( I opted to skip this, and am planning to visit the shop leisurely tomorrow afternoon on my day off.
That said, the store was constantly hopping and looked pretty slick from the outside.
Right by the entrance to the building, they had set up a stage for conducting interviews. Over the course of the morning and afternoon they interviewed Yoshitaka Amano, cast members and the producer of the 20th Century Boys film adaptations, and various gothic-lolita designers featured on the 2nd floor of NEW PEOPLE. Here is the head lady who runs the "BABY The Stars Shine Bright" label:
The apparel component of NEW PEOPLE is a welcome addition for San Francisco teenagers-- they get access to a subset of Japanese fashions that other Americans won't get. I'm expecting to see more lace and parasols very soon in the Bay Area. That said, the fashion show I saw showed off a lot of gimmicky and sorta cheap looking outfits. Oh well.
I WOULDN'T HAVE GUESSED
Down the way from the front of the NEW PEOPLE building were a bunch of tents/booths for local businesses, vendors, and the Asian Art Museum. On the other side of the main Peace Plaza area were local food vendors, selling shaved ice, onigiri, hot dogs and Beard Papa pastries.
ANONYMOUS was also out in force, giving out free hugs and dancing to a boombox.
4-chan people are not as fearsome (and younger) in person than expected.
This booth sold dozens of colorway block shirts, and offered custom color combos you could order and have sewn on demand.
Toto Washlet had a booth. The NEW PEOPLE folks said it's the first public building in the US with Toto toilets. The only other building in the US where I've seen the washlet in effect was at the Google offices. I wonder if they will catch on in the US?
Workers setting up the FRIEND banner for the 20th Century Boys film premiere event. The film is playing all week at Viz Cinema (in the basement of NEW PEOPLE), with the 2nd and 3rd films playing in subsequent weeks. Just read Volume 4 last night, holy shit the Friend logo is starting to terrify me when I see it. So good.
YUICHI YOKOYAMA LIVE PAINTING
I can't remember if I said this above, but the main highlight of the day was catching a live painting demonstration by geometric genius Yuichi Yokoyama (of Travel, New Engineering fame, duh). Apologies to the fainthearted or uninterested, here are like a million photos of Yokoyama at work:
[In this one you see the small flashcards he used to pre-plan the mural elements]
I also shot a short video of Yokoyama putting finishing touches on the last of the "faces":
MTV IGGY & ROCK GIRLS
In the Peace Plaza, MTV IGGY had a tent and were MC-ing the live acts and contents on the bandshell stage. MTV IGGY is a global news/music channel that (I believe) is predominantly online content and focuses on Asian and Asian-American artists. A cool dude I met through mutual friends named Woody Fu works for them, but I didn't see him around. Woody's is submitting a comic for Electric Ant #2, and also interviewed Jim Lee dressed up as Cyclops.
Girl rock group TsuShiMaMire played a long set, and got a good response from the crowd.
These same bands played a bigger show Sunday night at Yoshi's.
Merch table for the various bands.
All rock ladies, all the time.
A bunch of local girls got made-up and took part in a nerdy HARAJUKU KAWAII(???) fashion contest.
Hosted by MTV IGGY, the winner of the contest won a free round-trip flight to Tokyo courtesy of JAL. Pretty chill prize, no?
YUICHI YOKOYAMA SIGNED MY BOOK
Last thing before I got my pale ass out of the sun, I had the chance to meet Yuichi Yokoyama and get him to sign the Disneyland autograph book. There was a very short line to meet Yokoyama (4 people including me?) which sorta confirmed the general anonymity he enjoys/suffers among most J-pop/manga fans. I talked to him for all of 20 seconds, mostly me showing him my PictureBox bag and gushing about his work inarticulately. As our small group made its way to the signing table, others noticed and started lining up to meet the man as well.
For folks without books/things to sign, Viz was handing out rad/creepy paper masks of Yokoyama's designs. These same designs were all over the inside of NEW PEOPLE and the main part of much of the advertisements, volunteer t-shirts and motif for the center. Very cool, but I wondered how it was hooked up? I assume Seiji (Viz's president) is buddies with him :)
Yokoyama was not into my brush pen and silver sharpie. It is red & blue all the way.
Signing my book! His sketch was right after the Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Frank Santoro sketches I got at TCAF earlier this year.
I again shot a really short video of Yokoyama in action.
Finally, after getting back home I here "model" the Yokoyama mask. It conveniently covered up my sunburned face:
Other folks are probably writing more representative posts of like, the actual inside of NEW PEOPLE, and the other events I skipped (Amano happenings, gothic lolita fashion show). The first (and biggest) comes in from About.com's Deb Aoki (who was at NEW PEOPLE on Saturday from 8am to 1am). Check out her full write-up here.
UPDATE: Another great post, with lots of video tours, can be found over at ANIME VICE.