Class Acts 3

I’m a huge fan of Knockaround’s awesome Class Acts campaign which raises funds for arts education and resources in under-funded elementary schools around San Diego. They’re in the third year running now, and as always, they let elementary school kids design sunglasses! The winning design by 4th grader Evan Bui went into production and are out now. Meet the Limited Edition Striker Premiums. Check out some photos and the video too.

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The Bionic Man

With $120 million in funding from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab has been able to create the next generation of prosthetics. Each arm has over 100 sensors, 26 joints, can curl up to 45 pounds, and can be controlled entirely by a person’s mind. When an individual thinks an action, such as the opening and closing of a hand, the brain triggers specific nerves in the body that can then be mapped and connected to a sensor in a prosthetic arm.

This video is the third installment in a New York Times series called Robotica, examining how robots are poised to change the way we do business and conduct our daily lives.

Via NY Times

Save Music in Chinatown 6 preview: An interview with Birdstriking’s Wen Yuzhen

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The concept was to have a series of all-ages benefit matinees for my daughter’s school in Chinatown that referenced the neighborhood’s punk rock past. In the ’70s, bands like X, The Dils, The Weirdos, and Black Flag would play there. I was a little too young to be there, so it’s been cool to have so many bands who were there support our cause and come back to play for us.

But our upcoming show introduces a new wrinkle to the plan. A timely conversation with an old acquaintance and major aligning of the stars led to underground musicians from Beijing playing our show. How cool is it to have noisy Chinese bands playing for the elementary school in Chinatown where my daughter is learning Mandarin?

The underground rock scene has been going off in China for a decade now, but they don’t get out nearly as much as they should. Chui Wan just blew minds at Austin Psych Fest and meeting them in L.A. will be Birdstriking, a second generation No Beijing band that is right up there with P.K. 14 and Carsick Cars. (Two members of Carsick Cars will be in the lineup!) Members of Chui Wan and Birdstriking will be playing together as Deadly Cradle Death, too.

I sent over some questions in anticipation of them playing Save Music in Chinatown 6, and guitarist Wen Yuzher provided some answers.

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Your debut album that’s being released here in the U.S. is new to us but old to you. How has your sound evolved since then? Will you be playing newer songs as well?
We have almost half a dozen new songs, and they are more psychedelic than before.

You’re going to be joining Chui Wan when you arrive in the U.S. Have you been keeping in touch with them, seeing how things are going over here, and planning the Deadly Cradle Death set?
Yes! We keep in touch everyday because Yan Yulong and I are both on staff at Maybe Mars. We need to communicate for our jobs, and I help him take care of his cat, too. I saw they had a very successful show at the Austin Psych Fest and was glad to hear that!

I think it’s cool that you’re hitting Olympia and saw a K Records shirt in one of your portraits. Is that a pilgrimage?
Haha, K Records is our drummer Wang Xinjiu’s favorite. But I really want to play in Brooklyn—almost all of my favorite bands come from there. Playing there is my dream.

Is there anything that the guys in P.K. 14, Carsick Cars, or other bands that have played here warned you about or told you to check out in the U.S.?
Wang Xu, the drummer of White+, told me U.S is different than my dreaming. But I just want to see it for myself.

I’m stoked you’ll be playing our benefit in Chinatown. As a guy from China, what’s your take on Chinatowns?
I want to try American Chinese food.

Our show will be an all-ages matinee, so little kids can attend. Do you play many shows like that? Is it weird playing during the day or without alcohol?
All Chinese gigs are all-ages. But without alcohol before a gig, I will feel a little nervous.

There’s a cool Bruce Lee statue next to the bar where you’ll be playing. Is he still cool in China? Or is he just old-fashioned now?
He is really hardcore, but not for people my age. I like Jackie Chan more.

What are you most interested in bringing back? Records? Photos? Recipes?
A new guitar and memories. Also, we want to record a new album when we get back.

Check out Birdstriking, Chui Wan, Deadly Cradle Death, and Dengue Fever at Save Music in Chinatown 6 on May 31 at the Grand Star and follow Imprint on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

8 Questions With: Amanda Hsiao

For this 8 Questions I thought I’d get my wife, Amanda Hsiao to participate. She’s a fashion designer by trade but originally received her degree in merchandising. Her journey to become a designer is one of the stories I enjoy and it basically goes as follows: Amanda picked up knitting as a hobby to get out of the house after 9-11. Her boss at the time noticed her knitting and offered her a job designing sweaters, and she’s been designing ever since. Now take a moment and get to know Amanda a little more in our 8 Questions.

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How would you describe your work?
I am part of an amazing team of designers that make up the product for the Infant and Newborn collections at babyGap. Specifically, I design all the sweaters for baby boys, baby girls and newborns. In this age group most of baby dressing involves a sweater of some sort. A top, pants, blankets, hats…

What is the best part of your job?
Besides private medical insurance, stock options and a 401k? Working with an inspiring team of women.

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If you could collaborate with anyone what would you do and why?
It would have to be with Jeep – one of my most prized possessions was my 1997 Jeep Wrangler. It is the most authentic, useful and fashionable items I have ever owned. Its an american classic – just like the Gap is and I would love to see a Gap x Jeep collabo.

Where do you find inspiration?
For me, inspiration comes from everywhere! But the most important inspiration comes from my kids. I get so much inspiration out of watching how they interact with clothing. So many ideas on the functionality of garments is seeing it in use. How the neck opens wide enough to get over their heads or how the snap crotch makes a diaper change easier. I see how they react to certain colors and patterns and how easy it is to put an outfit together. I take that functionality and mix it with the latest in womenswear, menswear and culture. The idea is functionality for a baby but something that is covetable and worth ‘heirloom’ status to be passed on.

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What does a typical day look like for you?
I get to the office after dropping my oldest daughter to school around 9:30am, after some coffee and recapping any popular culture events with my coworkers (i.e., award shows, bravo shows, best dressed worst dressed…) I usually jump into designing. I typically work on three seasons at once. Currently I am in the design process of Spring 2016 working out the details – silhouette, stitch details, and colors of the sweaters. I am fitting Holiday 2015 garments and making sure they have the design intent that was originally determined when our team assorted the line a couple months back. I am also final approving the samples for Fall 2015 that will show up in the stores in August. I try to finish one season before moving on to the next each day. I end the day going through emails and tying up any open issues. Sweaters are each so detailed for each season so organization is key.

What are you reading or listening to at the moment?
Everything Casey Neistat makes. His snap stories. His vlogs. His videos.
I just read Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies, which I found profoundly important. There isn’t a single person that hasn’t felt the affects of cancer. Learning about the history of the disease and how close we are to a major breakthrough was very inspiring. Having dealt with cancer first hand when my daughter had leukemia put it all into perspective and this book/documentary was really empowering to see what we had actually gone thru. It’s an important story to tell.

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As a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?
Part Veterinarian, Part fashion designer. I didn’t think I could handle being a doctor so designer won.

If you could give some advise to your teenage self, what would it be?
“Work Harder” – Casey Neistat.

Nick Onken Interviews Jeff Staple

ShopTalkRadio sat down with Jeff Staple, who is the founder of Staple brand, Staple Design and Reed Space in NYC. Jeff talks about his passion for design, his early work in New York as a publisher and being stuck in the Andes mountains on a snowboarding trip. His near death experiences and appetite for work will give you a double-take on your own life.