BEDTIME VR

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The future in bedtime story reading in here! bet you didn’t even think you needed a new way to read a bedtime story. Samsung’s new app Bedtime VR Stories allows parents that are away to read stories and interact over VR.

Check out the interface and the experience in this VR walkthrough, remember to click and drag to look around.

It looks like VR maybe here to stay.

Under The Big Black Sun at the LA Public Library

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In a culture where hardly anyone reads books, what is the role of a public library? Pretty much the same as when everyone used to carry books around: It’s a place where people gather and ideas are shared. Ideally, such a culture might even instill a sense of civic pride.

That’s what happened on Sunday, when John Doe and Exene from the band X joined a conversation with writer David Ulin to celebrate the release of a brand-new collection of essays about the early L.A. punk scene called Under The Big Black Sun. Written and edited by Doe and Tom DeSavia with chapters by Exene as well as the likes of Charlotte Caffey (Go-Go’s), Chris D. (Divine Horsemen), Dave Alvin (Blasters), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Jack Grisham (TSOL), Jane Wiedlin (Go-Go’s), Mike Watt (Minutemen), and others, of course the event’s tickets ran out as soon as they went online.

While the stories about much-loved-and-overlooked bands like the Screamers and Weirdos and unsavory-but-missed venues like the Masque and Starwood were amazing–as were anecdotes and insight into X–I thought it was extra cool that John Doe and Exene talked about books. Coming from Maryland and Florida, they were very aware of Chandler and Bukowski and the Beats. And then they worked at places like Brentano’s and Beyond Baroque, and John Doe even talked about going to the Central Library and checking out books that Hank himself might have read.

So how cool is it that musicians would be bringing people into the library by making a book? That they played a few X songs? That many of the contributors attended the talk and stuck around to sign the book afterward? (The signing line was off-limits to photography for efficiency purposes but Tom snuck me a photo with him and John Doe!)

The program was part of a series called Made in L.A., which is taking place at various branches of the Los Angeles Public Library through June 30. It’s a diverse and  inspiring lineup–as evidenced by the unlikely championing of a brilliant and underappreciated music scene that is obscure to the general public even in its hometown–and on weekends there’s $1 parking for library card holders at the Los Angeles Central.

I am fortunate to live around the corner from our local branch and pay visits to check out books and DVDs on a weekly basis. It looks like I’ll be visiting other branches in other neighborhoods, though, and it turns out libraries don’t give us an excuse to sit on our couches as much as they widen our worlds.

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Check out Under the Big Black Sun‘s Facebook page as well as lapl.org for future Made in L.A. events. And follow Imprint on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, too!

8 Questions with: Justin Chung of Betera

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Whenever I cross paths with my friend Justin Chung, he never ceases to dazzle me with next-level information on culture or trends. Or maybe some cool yet instantly understandable infographics that he just designed. He’s a smart and talented guy. So I wasn’t shocked to find out that he and some of his pals have been developing an app that combines the eye candy of Instagram and food finding utility of Yelp. Sounds yummy and useful and awesome, right? On the eve of Betera’s launch, I couldn’t not ask him some 8 questions about it as well as his creative process..

How did Betera happen? 
I eat out a lot. Most of my monthly budget goes to eating out at restaurants. But I wasn’t always a knowledgeable foodie that could understand what the menu was trying to say. I found myself looking for pictures on Yelp and Instagram time and time again, only to be disappointed. Then I realized a lot of people around me were just like me. And before long, I realized that it was the menu’s problem, not ours.

That’s how Betera was born. I wanted to help confused foodies like me find the food that they know they will like with the help of visuals.

Would you describe yourself more as a food guy, a tech guy, or an always-looking-for-ideas guy?
I am definitely an always-looking-for-ideas kind of guy (who loves food). Ever since I was little, I kind of made it my hobby to think of potential solutions to problems that most people don’t even realize. Betera was definitely one of those ideas that I thought about as a hobby.

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I know you’ve been developing this app while holding down a serious job. What’s your secret to project and time management?
There is really no secret. I just work long hours, late into the night, day after day. But sometimes, even the long hours are not enough to get things done. That’s why I started working on increasing my level of focus. I suffer from a pretty severe case of ADHD where my head jumps from one thing to another at a rapid rate at any given time. But I am now learning to set the right environment both physically and mentally before I work, so I can get more done with less time.

Where do you find inspiration?
I usually find inspiration from others who have already done a great job at whatever I am trying to accomplish. I have no shame in replicating what others have done (as long as it’s not illegal) but most of the time I discover a better way of doing things by studying at what they have done.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?
I wanted to be a logo designer. I was always intrigued by how company logos could represent a culture, belief, and the service or the product that the company is offering. I had my fair share of drawing Nike logos on my school notebooks when I was little.

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Reading, binge watching, or listening to anything cool at the moment?
Audible. I can now binge read, thanks to this app. My goal for this year was to read one book a week, and I am still going (and it’s already May!). Currently, I am reading 48 Laws of Power. It’s an interesting read for entrepreneurs and marketers who want to better understand human psychology.

Do you have a favorite post-work destination? Perhaps a wishful if not actual one?
I like watching movies. I try to watch at least one movie every week. I love movies that make me pause for a few minutes to come back to reality after it’s over. I still remember the feeling I got when I watched Ben-Hur (1959) for the first time when I was about 9 years old.

This app is new to us but you can tell me… Are you already onto the next idea?
Our team’s vision is to reimagine the old things to make them better. Restaurant menu is only our first mission, and we think it’s going to be a long journey. But if we somehow get there faster than we expected, our next mission may be to reimagine business cards. We think there is definitely a huge room for improvement–especially to make every business card exchange a meaningful one.

Check out betera.co and follow Imprint on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, too!

Imprint Picks: The Humans Vol. II

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The Humans takes me back to being a college student in the later ’80s and getting my mind blown by vintage exploitation movies championed by John Waters in his essays, catalogued in RE/Search Publications’ Incredibly Strange Films, and curated by the crew at Hollywood Book & Poster. An episodic fever dream of drug-fueled hippie flicks, low-budget biker movies, and bad Planet of the Apes sequels, Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely’s first volume of ultra-violent, psychedelic, page-turning, not-for-kids comix immediately had me hooked and the newly released second volume will not disappoint even the most discerning fans of premium trash. If you’re a collector like me, you’ll find a way to get yours signed.