Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is why we drove two-and-a-half hours to a book signing in San Diego


There is on ongoing debate among Los Angeles hoops fans about who is the greatest Laker: Kobe or Magic? And then there are old-timers who bring up Mr. Clutch and Wilt the Stilt. But how can any of those legends be the greatest player to don the Purple & Gold when another Laker is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA champ, two-time Finals MVP, and six-time NBA MVP whose place in the Hall of Fame is unquestioned. His stellar resume has earned the respect of all basketball freaks and secured the love of Southern Californians in general, and any other player would be content to enjoy the fruits of such a career after hanging up his high-tops.


Not Kareem. There was a time after retirement when he was seeking coaching and consulting gigs in the NBA, but the world is better off that he was never able to secured a cushy future in basketball. Whereas Cap combined his blue-collar work ethic and physical gifts into being an unstoppable force on the hardwood, in his second career as a writer he has become equally well-known for his limitless curiosity and intellectual capacity.

I don’t think there’s another author who occupies as many bookshelves in my house: autobiography (Giant Steps, which includes his frank impressions of the Black Power movement and friendship with Bruce Lee), nonfiction (On The Shoulders of Giants, researching the Harlem Renaissance and the relationship between basketball, jazz, and culture), and, most recently, fiction (Mycroft Holmes).


Along with his co-author Anna Waterhouse, Abdul-Jabbar is not only trying his hand at the mystery genre but is entering at the highest level. The protagonist is none other than Sherlock Holmes’s smarter older brother and the plot leads him to Trinidad and exposes him to the Fists of Righteous Harmony. Kareem is an old-school Sherlockian who loves Doyle but appreciates Cumberbatch and is unafraid to mix in his personal passions. The book is a critical success and a page turner, he says, and the publisher is already begging for a sequel.

So how could Wendy and I not drive down to San Diego to attend Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse’s reading and book signing and take our daughter with us? To see the 7’2″center whose height dand prowess prompted the NCAA to ban slam dunks when he attended UCLA (Wendy and I happen to be Bruins, too) demonstrate that he is an intellectual giant, as well–that is something that we wanted Eloise needs to see. Surrounded by sci-fi and mystery books at Mysterious Galaxy, it was easy to forget that his number 33 has been retired at Staples Center or that his playing goggles have been enshrined in Springfield.


There are basketball players with bigger brands, more business savvy, and extra street cred. But few, if any, have the level of social awareness, political acumen, or humanist energy as the former disciple of John Wooden, Malcolm X, and Bruce Lee. Today, Kareem stands as a cultural leader, writer, and icon himself. And did I mention that he bought lemonade and cookies for us fans after he was stuck in traffic and delayed his appearance? “You look like you read a book a week,” he told Eloise when we reached the front of the line for book signatures. Turns out the once thorny player can be a good guy, as well.

Buy Mycroft Holmes at your local indie book store, and follow Imprint on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, too!

A Decade of Knocks 3 / Werewolf LEs

Happy Friday! Here’s the latest episode in the series of 5 Decade of Knocks videos from our good friends at Knockaround. It’s all about the major milestones in the company’s growth. Epic stuff. Also, on a related note, Knockaround have released a very special set of Limited Edition shades today – the Werewolf 2015, which pay tribute to the first ever Knockaround Limited Edition shades, the original Werewolf Classic Premiums. This is a big day for Knockaround fans!


New Books for Children in the Psychic Temple Library

My co-worker’s son and daughter, Noah (6) and Maddie Min (4) selected a handful of books for kids to read when they visit the James Jean library in our office. Some of the books they picked were Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola, Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, Pop-Up Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Robert Sabuda and Lewis Carroll, Amelia Bedelia Story Book Treasury by Herman Parish and Lynne Avril, The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, and Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. For kid-level access, the books were placed on the lower shelf, making it easier for them to reach and gain knowledge.
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A New Friend


Fisher Price has introduced a new toy, a smart toy and it’s something…special. Introduced by a kid dressed as the late Steve Jobs and even presented in the Apple fashion.

A short list of features from the Smart Toy site:
– listens and adapts
– recognizes their voice
– recognizes his Smart Cards
– unlimited Wi-Fi content updates

After watching the video It’s just an ideal builder for anti-social behavior. So what’s the kind of future generation are we building? Are we heading in the right direction… maybe this will be just a craze like Teddy Ruxpin. Take a moment to watch the video, it’s a great mock Apple presentation :)

Save Music in Chinatown 7 recap with Rachel Haden, California, Upset, Steve Soto, and Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss


In the months approaching the seventh Save Music in Chinatown fund-raising concert, I decided to make a zine about the first two years. Committing something to print really makes one put things in perspective. What’s the story? What is the beginning and what is the end?

The beginning is easy: When my wife and I found out that our daughter’s school needed money to pay for its music program, we wondered how we could help. Wendy and I  aren’t rich or connected with potential donors but we are familiar with both the neighborhood’s Chinatown culture (where my grandparents hung out and where her parents get dim sum every week) and its punk rock heritage (Germs, Weirdos, X, Dils, Black Flag, and so on). So we envisioned organizing all-ages matinee punk shows to help the local students.


Keeping ticket prices low ($12 advance, $15 at the door, kids under 12 are free), we can’t possibly raise enough dough to cover the school’s entire annual bill of 50 thousand bucks with three shows a year. But we have made a difference, donating about $10 thousand per year, raising awareness, and creating a community. It’s been fun to not only channel the underground energy of the Hong Kong Cafe and Madame Wong’s but see key figures of early L.A. punk and little kids like my daughter get to know each other.

And how cool is it for the children who can handle going to shows to see bands play in a dive with the barest of gear but the truest of passion on a tiny stage to a small crowds of friends and families. In the zine, there was a recurring theme among musicians, supporters, and other contributors about informing kids’ outlook on culture as well as insuring they get a music education.


This Sunday’s lineup was as awesome as it was deep, and it was almost impossible to decide who would go first and who would headline. Luckily, everyone left their egos at the door and we were able to arrange the bands like a mix tape. The gorgeous, epic sounds of Rachel Haden opened the show like daybreak, ratcheting up to the hyper melodic California and raging hooks of Upset before stripping it down to raw, unironic roots music by punk originator Steve Soto and Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss–survivors of punk and lifers, all three.

Everything was held together by Atomic Nancy, the proprietor of Little Tokyo’s Atomic Cafe who brought 45s from the now-destroyed punk hangout’s legendary jukebox. How cool was it for her to crank the actual records that played when Steve was in the original lineups of Agent Orange or the Adolescents? X, Sex Pistols, Clash, Cramps, Plugz, Madness–our bands are right in there but now we encourage our little kids to dance like crazy instead of starting a slam pit.


Approaching the midpoint of Eloise’s career at Castelar, more ambitious minds might start gauging the trajectory of our benefits and begin to set goals. We’re trying hard not to. Sure, it would be nice to raise extra money or host hotter bands that attract huge crowds and the press. But this is a labor of love where we work alongside friends, not big names, and build a community, not a market.

I really don’t know where Save Music in Chinatown is going. Maybe we’ll work toward a larger show when Eloise hits fifth grade. I wouldn’t say no to doing something in the plaza with Redd Kross, The Go-Go’s, X, or OFF! But definitely no flash mobs or celebrity appearances to gain attention. A well-meaning person actually suggested those to me, and no amount of publicity or notoriety would be worth it.

And after being worried about our cool lineups not getting more coverage or selling out immediately, I’ve come to appreciate that our shows are easy to attend. It’s amazing to have way-too-big bands like the Bicycle Thief, Adolescents, and Dengue Fever want to play our humble shows and it’s extra cool that we can see them with with our kids while enjoying cookies and coffee from the bake sale instead of worrying about foaming-at-the-mouth super fans trampling us.

In addition to securing music education for the students at Castelar, exposing children to DIY culture at our shows, and creating a scene, I hope that we’re modeling to Eloise that the best way isn’t always the most profitable way. Everything doesn’t have to grow big to be successful and popularity is meaningless. We’ll always work hard to make the next Save Music in Chinatown show the best ever, but we definitely don’t want our family side project to get hung up in all that crap.

Join Save Music in Chinatown’s community page of Facebook to find out about future events, and follow Imprint on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, too!