Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Google Street View Tokyo!

We can now walk the streets of Tokyo from anywhere in the world thanks to Google Street View Tokyo.

I am never leaving my computer again.

Murakami in Brooklyn

I walked into a room at the Brooklyn Museum that was covered, floor to ceiling, in smiling flowers. There were smiling flower paintings mounted on the flowered walls. In the middle of the room sat a huge, shiny plastic sculpture of smiling flowers. Smiling at me. It was all so happy it almost made me nauseous.

That was just one of the unexpected reactions I had to the ©Murakami exhibit currently on at the Brooklyn Museum. Almost all of his work did effect me in some way, mostly because it was so big. Many of his classic paintings are massive – they make you feel tiny, like Monet’s Waterlilies that I had seen the day before at the MOMA. And like Monet’s work, it was as if I had stepped into someone else’s dreams, although in this case, someone who had spent the better part of their life watching nothing but anime – as amazing and disturbing as that may be.

Sadly, you can’t take pictures in the museum so what I got were some shots of the amazing Tongari-kun in the foyer. Wired did a nice spread that includes some of the more stunning sculptures at the exhibit – and the flower room that made me want to hurl.

The piece that really got me thinking was ko2 – a naked anime girl merged with a jet, in various stages of transformation. In one sense, it is the perfect combination of two of Japanese pop culture’s obsessions – mecha and fantasized sexuality. That said, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see a figure like this for sale in an anime store – with no sense of irony or artistic commentary. Which leaves me wondering: just what is Murakami trying to say? Can you really react to a society by going only slightly beyond what that culture is already doing?

The funniest moment happened thanks to a pair of over-sexualized figures a few rooms on. Life size and facing each other, Hirpon and My Lonesome Cowboy cavort in naked wonder of their own sexual fluids that emerge from their bodies and into the gallery. Just behind me, in the previous room, I overheard a teacher leading a grade shool group say “ok everyone, stay in here, we are NOT going to the next room!”

Yeah, I wouldn’t want to have to explain this stuff to a 7 year old either.

Anime North 2008!

Con Report
I don’t know if Anime North just keeps getting better or if I’m just learning how to really enjoy it.

This year, I rented a car and only went with other anime fans – not friends I’m trying to convert and therefore feel responsible for. We took our time, drank lots of water and kept ourselves fed. We watched people dancing, took lots of pictures, moved very slowly through the dealer’s room, watched some anime – turns out Flag is quite awesome – and even did our own cosplay photo shoot.

I came away from the event loving the anime community more than ever. There is an amazing sense of joy and celebration at Anime North. Random dance parties break out, spectacular costumes are everywhere and I did not see one moment of tension or conflict.

In fact, one of my friends in tow pointed out that for an event attended and run mostly by teenagers and early 20-somethings, there was no fighting or bullying or stupidity of any kind. It feels as if, because we are all there for the same reason – our love of this outsider genre – we’re all on the same team.

And kudos to the Anime North staff who made the event easy to navigate, safe and organized. Only two beefs: I pre-registered and paid two months in advance and yet I had to stand in line for almost an hour for my ticket. Why not just print out the pass online and make pre-registration more useful than just saving a few dollars?

Oh, and the wrestling. Serious, that has got to go.

Anyway, did you attend Anime North? What did you think?

New diorama: disarmament

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The Mars-1 Observer has taken all the robots’ guns away. At first, they are simply shocked. Stay tuned to see what happens next…

New diorama: temple standoff

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As I plan out my full-scale Japanese town diorama, I thought I’d try a little shrine chaos with my new Revoltech “Brocken” and a Murakami Dob figure. Please check out the Flickr gallery.

Man, I just love the combination of scale and detail in these things!