Monday, May 14, 2012

Summer Con Season is upon us

I have some great stuff over the summer.  I will share it after June.  I'll keep you all posted.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bridges of Culture (3 of 3)

Comic Book artists are one of the vital links for bridges of culture. Mr. Steve Scott is a very talented comic artist who designed characters for DC and Marvel.

Bridge of Culture (2 of 3)

Another key link to the bridges of culture are voice actors. Voice Actors give life to 2-D and 3-D animated characters. I was fortunate to interview Ms. Veronica Taylor. Ms. Taylor is best known as the voice of Ash Ketchum from the popular series Pokemon. Ms. Taylor was a gracious person and fun interviewing. Please excuse the terrible audio because there were lots of people coming in and out of the green room.

Also listen toward the end of the interview for a really great audio treat.

Bridges of Culture People (1 of 3)

A bridge literally is a physical object that links between two items. A bridge could also be a metaphor for a person. Culture is a person's identity or tradition. People who are bridges of culture are an important aspect in human history.

In today's pop-culture, it takes a few special individuals to open a bridge to exchange new ideas.

I did these interviews at New York Comic Con 2010.

The first group of people who help contribute to be a link of culture is the New York Based group, Echostream.

Friday, March 30, 2012

AKB48 in DC

Loud music, tons of screaming fans, streams of neon, and cute girls singing Japanese Pop music. What a time to celebrate a party. 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of how the Japanese gave the US rows of Cherry Blossom Trees (Sakura) as a gift of friendship of the two nations. On Tuesday (March 27, 2012) the Japanese gave another gift. It wasn’t more cherry blossoms, but rather an all girl singing and dance troop known as AKB48.

AKB48 was in DC to help promote this year’s Cherry Blossom event. The J-pop group performed at the historic Lincoln Theater along U Street in Washington DC. The theater is not far from DC’s other famed establishment, Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant. AKB48 had two sold out shows at the theater to the delight of their many fans.

The first sold out show started at 4pm, but some dedicated fans waiting until 8 am to get a coveted spot to see the group. Some fans came as far away as Japan, Mexico, and Canada. The concert had a strict “no photography” policy so, if you had a camera, they would take it away from you. When AKB48 performed in NYC a few years earlier, no such policy was in place. Many of the major Japanese broadcasters, such as NTV, TV Asahi, and TBS videotaped many fans waiting in the nice cool spring afternoon. During the second show, the fans had to change several times to stand in line. The staff didn’t really tell them why they did that.

After an hour and half of waiting the doors opened and the fans ran to the front of the theater, neon at the ready. Early that day AKB48 got to meet some local elementary school children. Monica Hesse of the Washington Post detailed what the group did. As a gift from the group, the same students got VIP seating to see the group at the Theater.

10 minutes prior to start of the show, the fans were screaming “A-K-B!” Then, the concert began with a flash of light to delight of the fans. The group was wearing a dress with pink Sakura highlights in the bottom. They sang two songs that were well known to their adoring fans.

After the third song the group made a brief introduction. Each member gave her first and last name. Then they said a special nickname along with a tidbit about themselves. Many of the members tried to speak as best English as they could. One of the newest members, Rina “Hirari” Hirata spoke perfect English. She told the audience that she spent time in Arizona. Hirari-chan asked the fans if they visited the Grand Canyon, which most of the fans cheered. The group then asked if the audience visited Japan and if they knew about AKB48. In the second show the group said they loved eating at Ben’s Chili Bowl. This drew a loud applause from the hometown crowd.

As soon as the introductions were over, the girls got right to what they did best, put on a great show. Three members sang one song in angelic costumes, and then just as magic three other members were dress in ragged clothes with matching hats. During that number the girls twirled the hats around with fans screaming each member’s nickname. Next up as another three girls in while frilly dresses with matching tambourines. The crowds were inundated with song after song with routines more elaborate than the last.

Finally came the last of the main number. The members wore matching blue dresses reminiscent of drum majorettes. They thanked the audience for their support during the March 11th Earthquake and Tsunami. The song was entitled “Sakura Kimi Naro.” The song started with School bells ringing in the start of the school day. This time of year is normally graduation for students in Japan. The fans used their glow sticks to flow back and forth like a neon river against the Sakura Colored lights. The members also pantomimed trees swaying back and forth. At the end of the song the crowd gave a standing ovation.

The fans wanted more so they shouted “Oncoru” or “Encore.” The group returned back wearing black and white dresses with matching black t-shirts. They then sang two more songs getting more upbeat than the next. Toward the end of the 2nd second show the girls looked tired, but they trotted forward following the “fighting spirit” (Ganbatte). It was like the group was drawing more energy from the fans and cheering them on. The group gave a final bow to the roaring audience.

First time fans and long time fans alike were entertained with a high-energy show. There will be a lot more Japanese related events early next month. Stay tuned to this blog for details.