Only a crazy person would have left the house last Sunday. Newscasters warned us that it would be pouring rain, super windy, and colder than hell. But isn’t seeing a bunch of great bands worth it? Eating homemade ginger snaps and espresso brownies and drinking good coffee? What about doing all that to raise money for the defunded music program at an inner-city elementary school? We got so much help from the bands in the getting the word out that I shouldn’t have been worrying about it being a just a roomful of family and friends. I should have known that Save Music in Chinatown 8 would fill up early and stay comfortably packed until the end.
Bombón went on first and how awesome was it to see Eloise and other little girls totally rocking out to the Pedro trio’s badass indie-punk surf tunes. It was a lot like seeing the Peanuts gang dancing, but in real life! It was super cool to see our friends’ daughter Ameneh’s killer dance moves–as if driving all the way from West L.A. to deliver gourmet treats made with fresh ginger for our bake sale wasn’t enough. Angela, Jerico, and Paloma are the most fun combo around and also the nicest–they set aside a kitty T-shirt for Eloise, their biggest fan!
FourEyedFour went on next and they are masters of dark pop with killer hooks who happen to have some roots that go all the way back to Chinatown’s punk days. Three of them were in The Flyboys, who played the Hong Kong Café often back in the day. I already loved their well-crafted songs on CD but, holy crap, they sound even better live. Dennis (who drums for FourEyedFour and The Crowd) and I talked about it afterward and he wondered if it was their best set ever…
Bad Cop/Bad Cop are a band that I usually catch at bars (Alex’s, The Redwood…) so it was excellent to see them not only play an all-ages show but one with a lot of little kids. They gotta see women in bands, and Bad Cop/Bad Cop are extraordinary with their harmonies as well as their general shredding. Eloise introduced the band before “Nightmare,” they played a cover of The Crowd’s “Run for the Money,” and “Support” was the closer. Of course. Great album, great singles, and a great set here from beginning to end.
The Crowd. How do we get bands like this to play our shows? Their appearances on Posh Boy’s Beach Blvd. compilation and the first Rodney on the Roq collection are legendary, signaling the arrival of Orange County punk. And like the Adolescents, Channel Three, The Gears, Mike Watt from the Minutemen, Chuck Dukowski from Black Flag, Hector Penalosa from The Zeros, the guys from the Flyboys, and a lot of other musicians that have played for us, they fondly recall going to the Hong Kong Café right around the corner from the Grand Star. How amazing was it to have them play “Modern Machine” and “Right Time” for us? To see Tony Adolescent jump in onstage and add vocals to “Liberty”? And how many drinks did singer Jimmy Trash have anyway? I’m not counting. Our shows are all ages but I’ve never wanted a music show for kiddies.
Props to the Grand Star for having us, everyone who played (and Nate Pottker who handles sound but does so much more), donated to the raffle (Krk Dominguez’s photo of Nirvana, Greg Jacob’s portrait of John Doe, and Mike Magrann’s metal art were especially jaw-dropping contributions, and of course I will always appreciate our crew of Scoops Chinatown, Donut Friend, Berndt Offerings, Frontier Records, and Kumquat), contributed the bake sale (including Julia Huang giving us coffee every time), and helped in any way (Aaron Brown who painted a bonus flyer, friends at KXLU, KCHUNG, and RazorCake who provide our only media support), as well as anyone who drove out in the rain to spend time with us. Thanks for supporting music education, exposing DIY culture to kids, and making an awesome afternoon in Chinatown and hope to see you in the spring!
What am I doing with my life? At one time or another we have all pondered this esoteric question. Very few actually go beyond the question in search of an actionable answer. Even fewer take the next step and jump into the void in pursuit of the American dream. I’m inspired by these doers, these open door openers, and those who eat unknowns for breakfast. Evelyn Chun is one of these brave souls. By day she is an account executive for an advertising agency. During nights and weekends she is the Co-founder of Spirit Ink, a (con)temporary shop.
It was the perfect solution. When you are sorting through the options of what to do with the rest of your life and serious commitments are far too permanent, you form a company that celebrates the non-permanent expression. Is it hard to run your own company? Sure. For a few, it’s harder to sit and do nothing. Evelyn and her friends are doing it all; corporate teams by day, business owners by night, all while inspiring a generation of millennials along the way.
Describe the evolution of Spirit Ink. How and why did you get started?
Right before graduating, I experienced a quarter-life crisis, as most millennials do. I didn’t have a full-time job or my career path lined up. As it happened, one of my childhood friends was going through a similar situation. We sat down and just brainstormed when we randomly started talking about our desire to get tattoos. The idea of temporary tattoos popped up since we were both terrified of the pain and the commitment. Temporary tattoos were not as “mainstream” or fashionable back in 2012, and the idea seemed relatively risk-free financially and marketable to the ever-growing “hipsters.”
What is the hardest part of running your own company?
Time management and lack of resources. It was hard to prioritize and see what really needed to be done in order to not waste time and money.
What was the biggest risk in diving-in and why did you go for it anyway?
The initial investment to outsource the tattoo manufacturing was our biggest risk because it required a considerable financial investment that wasn’t realistic for recent college graduates with student loans, but in order for us to sell quality products with FDA approved vegan ink, this step was vital.
What are you guys currently working on? Where do you see Spirit Ink going in the future?
We would love to target the wedding industry by offering wedding favor and tattoo bar packages. We want to sell the product with a meaningful experience, rather than just individual products. It would be great to build a strong brand that can be leveraged to expand into other product categories.
What is your favorite Spirit Ink product?
Giraffe tattoos — it was one of my very first attempts of using Adobe Illustrator to design, so it will always have a special meaning for me. Also, the design is appropriate for everyone!
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grow-up?
So many random things, but in high school and college, I wanted to work for the UN. Partly because my birthday is on UN day (and obviously to make the world a better place).
Where do you personally find inspiration?
I love leafing through fashion magazines and going through Pinterest to find photoshoot ideas and tattoo inspirations. It’s definitely exciting to see how far I can push my creative capabilities with limited resources.
What is your favorite post work destination?
My room, to decompress and spend some quality “me” time away from all distractions.
A new exhibition in New York popped up and it’s called ‘A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond’. Some of Architecture For Dogs contributing architects, Toyo Ito, and SANAA (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa) will showcase Ito’s 40-year career and his impact as a mentor to an emerging generation of acclaimed Japanese architects. Most of the featured architects in the show were involved with the reconstruction of Japan after the disastrous earthquake in 2011. However, MOMA stated, “the exhibition will also reflect how the architecture field is responding to current societal change with a combination of strong aesthetic positions and a commitment to users’ emotional needs”. Organized by Pedro Gadanho at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the show will run from March 3rd – July 4th, 2016.
VR is now on the news feeds daily. Whether it will catch on or if it will fail and be thrown back to the drawing board is up for debate. But there is hope, as there is VR in gaming, VR in the healthcare industry, and now VR film. Oculus brought concepts and shorts to Sundance this year. With it came Dear Angelica an upcoming animated short that can be watched on the Rift VR headset.
For Dear Angelica Oculus worked with the illustrator Wesley Allsbrook to create a new method to produce the film. A typical method would have been to create the project in 2-D and have it scanned in and made into a VR atmosphere. This time around, the Oculus team produced a tool for Wesley Allsbrook to draw within the VR world. This is a new exciting format that I’m sure many artists will want to get their hands on in the future.