Designer Con 2015 in Pictures


Designer Con 2015 took place last weekend. Thousands came through to see works of the 300+ vendors, including prints, toys, and crafted objects. The energy was positive and high and perhaps signaled a return of designer toys. Where did it go? Last year, a panel about the “death of toys” took place, and this year the scene seemed to regain its strength. The quality of the works was incredibly high and this convention is poised to become one of the coolest annual convention for artists. (Photos by Carlos Lopez)

The event even attracted Mark Ryden and Marion Peck.

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A Very Asian American Thanksgiving

As writer Jeff Yang pointed out on social media, this week sees not one, not two, but three prime-time network TV series with Asian American-themed Thanksgiving episodes.

A DR. KEN Thanksgiving.

A DR. KEN Thanksgiving.

On Monday, we saw a Filipino American Thanksgiving on CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. On Tuesday, ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat celebrated a very Taiwanese American Huangsgiving. And finally, on tonight’s Dr. Ken, we get a Korean American vs. Japanese American Thanksgiving.



Three Asian American Thanksgiving episodes in one week is not only the most Asian American Thanksgiving episodes we’ve seen in one week, but it may very well be the most we’ve seen ever…in all of TV history. Maybe we are living in that bizarro world after all.

2015: The Year of the Asian Leading Man on TV?

Randall Park in Fresh Off the Boat.

Randall Park in Fresh Off the Boat.

I was talking to a female Caucasian acquaintance over the weekend and the conversation turned to the “biz,” which led to this observation on her part: “There’s a lot of Asian guys starring in their own TV shows this year.”

It took a second for this statement to register as it’s usually not something you hear unless 1) it’s a joke or 2) you are stuck in some alternate bizarro universe where Asian guys are considered hot, three-dimensional and bankable leading men. But upon closer reflection, I realized she had a point.

Currently on the air are not one, not two, but a slew of TV series where the main lead is an Asian dude. Among them: Daniel Wu in AMC’s latest Into the Badlands, Randall Park in ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, Ken Jeong in ABC’s Dr. Ken, Aziz Ansari in Netflix’s Master of None, Elyes Gabel in CBS’ Scorpion, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in HBO’s Ballers and John Foo in CBS’ upcoming Rush Hour.

I’m Only Artistic When it Rains

It’s monsoon season in South Korea—that time of year when it can rain up to three weeks straight. So to fight the ensuing gloom that also comes with the rains, a group of South Korean designers have teamed up with Pantone for “Project Monsoon”—creating a series of colorful and vibrant street paintings that only appear when it’s raining.


Using a special hydrochromatic paint, the images remain invisible until they get wet. As the participating artists explain: “Inspired by South Korea’s culture of emphasizing the importance of the flow of rivers, the paintings utilize Korea’s topographical features that create a flow and puddle of rain water in every street to fill the streets with color and life.”

Check out these examples:

81BASTARDS Reception at GR2


I’m not used to seeing collectives in art. In my experience, the dollars are seldom large enough to make it work, yet in an indie art world where competition is tough and art difficult to sell, it’s refreshing to see a group of artists mostly born in 1981(hence the 81) who’ve assembled to work together. They’re based mostly in Tokyo and take on projects and jobs. Each of them finds a way to make a living in different fields: Rio is a photographer, O.T. has his own tattoo studio, SAND (pronounced Sando) has a shop (See You Soon) and a clothing brand (Say Hello), Yoshi47 does art and jobs, MHAK does design, 3104STYLE is a preschool principal, Jun Inoue is a mystery (I just don’t know what he does!), Ghost Patrol is the lone artist from Australia and didn’t make the trip, and Yoskay does art. Together, they’re the 81BASTARDS.

7 Reasons Why Ken Jeong Should Host ‘Saturday Night Live’

via twitter @ImJoshBoyd

via twitter @ImJoshBoyd

With the backlash against the news that America’s resident xenophobe Donald Trump would be hosting Saturday Night Live on November 7, there have been renewed calls for more diversity on the venerable comedy series. And among the suggestions is for Dr. Ken star, Ken Jeong, to be invited to host (with a Margaret Cho musical appearance to boot) to help make up for the fact that in the show’s four decade history, there have only been two hosts of Asian descent—Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan.


Back in 2011, I addressed this lack of Asian representation by asking SNL to consider inviting John Cho and Kal Penn to co-host the show on the eve of the release of the third Harold and Kumar film. SNL roundly ignored my passionate and sound plea.

But that won’t deter me from giving it another go so I’m here to lend my support to the campaign for Ken Jeong to host the show. Here are seven reasons (aside from the obvious fact that the brotha is hilarious) why he’d be a great choice:

Have You Always Wanted to Hear Michael Jackson Performed with Traditional Japanese Instruments?


If the answer is yes, here’s Yoshimi Tsujimoto covering the King of Pop’s “Smooth Criminal” on her shakuhachi (bamboo flute) backed by two koto players and, yes, it’s about as awesome as you imagined it:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens New Trailer Reactions

When it comes to new movie trailers or K-Pop videos, I love to watch fan reactions to them! The latest trailer dropped tonight for STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS and I cannot be excited enough. There are reports of already sold out shows on opening day (the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, where my friends were trying to purchase tickets, crashed several times), and now the epic trailer is online. And the reaction, so far, has been spectacular. Check out some of our friends reactions like Wong-Fu crew, who even elicited some wonder in Christine’s (the lone female) eyes:

Giant Robot Biennale 4 JANM – The Opening


It’s been a week since the opening night of Giant Robot Biennale 4 at the Japanese American National Museum, but the project was large enough for it to merit some marination time. It’s still difficult to take in all of the opening night happenings and remember the tiny details that made me smile. Sometimes it was the pensive face of a visitor looking at a piece on the wall, and at times it was the job of people running around just to see.

Film Festival Dispatch: 20th annual Busan Film Festival

Cast and crew from BIFF Opening night film ZUBAAN.

Cast and crew from BIFF Opening night film ZUBAAN.

The 20th edition of the Busan International Film Festival (aka the Asian Cannes) ended this past weekend and I was fortunate to attend once again. Surprisingly, it was a somewhat muted affair versus years past. Some blame the current conservative climate, especially between the government and the festival, where 45% of its annual budget was slashed in retaliation for when the Festival screened a controversial documentary about the Sewol Ferry disaster that was highly critical of the government’s response. This made for icy relations between the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) and the Festival, where KOFIC and other government heads were not invited to the glitzy opening night gala ceremony and film with 5,000 in attendance (Opening night sold out in 1 minute this year). Even during the annual KOFIC party, BIFF heads deliberately boycotted and had their own private reception.