JANM Hello Kitty Exhibit

HK exhibit

From October to May the Japanese American National Museum had a Hello Kitty Exhibit. The history of Sanrio’s famed kitty with all her merchandised wonder was on display and a Hello Kitty inspired art exhibit.  A friend of mine and I went a few weeks before its closing and had every intention of posting this blog post in a timely manner. Pause for dramatic effect – looks at date of post –crickets – let’s move on. When I was growing up, Little Tokyo in Los Angeles was the equivalent of a ghost town. My Bachan (Japanese for Grandma) and Jichan (Japanese for Grandpa) would take me to Little Tokyo, I don’t even recall what we would do there, but I remember no one but the shop keepers and a few other Japanese people would be walking around.

Now Little Tokyo is a hip part of downtown LA. I credit Little Tokyo’s hipster interest to The Geffen MOCA Contemporary, ramen, and the onset of Japanese cultural obsession ever since Gwen Stefenai’s Love Angel Music Baby album. I’m still surprised how hard it is to find parking around there.  Even for the non-Hello Kitty obsessed the exhibit was fascinating. Every Hello Kitty merchandised object (practically) ever created was on display, including the HK personal massager. Here are my favorite finds from the show.

hk tomb


Hello Kitty has a life cycle and it includes a gravestone / urn / tombstone.

oil change hello kitty

Does you car need an oil change? Well you can do it with premieum Hello Kitty oil.

HK skates

I dream of adorable knee high socks with these gorgeous skates and a roller disco that will play
Anita Ward and Alicia Bridges all night long.

japan hello kitty


Apparently different parts of Japan have different Hello Kitty charms and it’s wonderful. Got to catch them all!!

Japan Charms

Japanese charms hot air balloon

apple height

Look how tall I am compared to Hello Kitty – what a shorty!

Hello Kitty Nosego

Hello Kitty piece by Nosego – who is currently showing at Thinkspace Gallery!

hello kitty art work

Seriously obessed with this piece by Michael Courville, all the vintage brooches and jewlery -its stunning.

alex and i

There was SO MUCH at the Hello Kitty exhibit, I just shared my favorite bits. I’m sorry for posting this now, instead of a week before the exhibit closed, incase my blog coverage really tipped the scales towards inspiring a person to see the show. I was at the first Hello Kitty art show  in 2009, helping to coordinate art sells. I’m just in awe and overwhelmed with joy at seeing how the Hello Kitty art show has grown and I’m so excited/proud to see what Jamie Rivadeneira, owner of JapanLA, has created and developed over the last 6 years.  My best friend used to work at Japan LA and introduced me to Jamie. Can’t lie when I say I feel a little cooler being on a first name basis with such a dynamic person.  Here is a shot of us a the first exhibit, you can see a piece by Colin Christian in the background.

hello kitty art show


Mixtape Monday


As it’s the last Monday of July and I haven’t posted one playlist this month; here is a collection of all my favorite songs from this month. A one hour long symphony of oldies, goodies, and random finds compiled into a handy spotify playlist. Happy Listening!

‘eez-eh’ – kasbian/ send me on my way’ – rusted root/ ‘echoes’ – the rapture/ ‘canary in a coalmine’ – the police/ ‘everywhere’ – fleetwood mac/ ‘don’t save me’ – haim/ ‘you’re not good enough’ – blood orange/ ‘easy easy’- king krule/ ‘ ann wants to dance’ – papooz / ‘the swimmer’- metz/ ‘tough luck’ – eagulls / ‘rimbaud eyes’- dum dum girls/ ‘desire lines’ – deerhunter/ ‘pretty pimpin’ – kurt vile/ ‘kaleidoscope’- ringo deathstarr/ ‘mind the wire’ – tears run rings

Festival of Arts & Pageant of the Masters

Festival of Arts Laguna Beach

A summer staple for Laguna Beach is the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters festivities. Being a Southern California native, I’ve known about this beachside art event for years, but was never motivated enough to see what they were doing down in Orange County. I’m coming clean because my Los Angeles snobbery got the best of me, I’ve been missing out. I was invited to the Festival of the Arts/ Pageant of the Master media night in the beginning of June and both events officially open this Sunday, July 5th. I apologize for my delay is posting my thoughts, but it runs till August 29th.

First, let me clarify the difference between ‘Festival of Arts’ and ‘Pageant of the Masters’ because they aren’t the same thing. A ticket to the festival will not grant you access to the pageant. I was seriously confused by this, never being able to get the name straight, thinking these two separate events were one thing. Butchering this ridiculously long name into various configurations, Festival of Masters Art Pageant or Festival Pageants of the Masters Art.

Festival of Arts is a display of art from 140 Orange County based artists, along with various curated special events throughout the summer to celebrate the arts. Family oriented, there are youth art workshops, concerts on the green, and a family art day. For those without kids or who have hired a babysitter, every Thursday night there will be an Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate event from 5:30 – 7:30pm; three wines paired with three chocolates. The perfect setting to embrace a summer love.

studio shot from Pageant of the Masters
Pageant of the Masters is a theatrical production of tableaux vivants (living pictures). Volunteers are dressed and made up to re-create great artistic masterpieces on a grand stage; it’s quite the site to behold. On media night you get an all access pass. We peaked inside the workshops of where artists create the massive sets that act as a backdrop to the actors. Sculpting elements of the master pieces out of Styrofoam and playing with perspective on a life size scale. The makeup department is located beneath the stage with a room filled with wigs and a closet of well-organized stage cosmetics.

wall of makeup

pageant of the masters volunteer in makeup room


Artist create representations of people in their art work. At ‘Pageant of the Master’ now real life people were creating representations of those people. Heavy face paint exaggerated shadows and defined brow lines to convey the emotion the artist wanted to portray in their work. Makeup applied with sponges, on stage looks like brush strokes or a skillful palate knife. In the casting processes every inch of the volunteers are measured to see if they fit the part of a particular piece. Suddenly being a representation of a person is more important than being real, all in the name of art! We were treated to 3 tableaux vivants, I was astonished at how remarkable it is, the feeling you get watching a work of art become life-size and knowing that what you are seeing is real people frozen in place for ninety-seconds. Imagine having to sneeze.

betsy ross pageant of the masters

pageant of the masters coming home

The full ‘Pageant of Masters’ show is ninety minutes of living pictures, which if they are all 90 seconds a piece, means there are around 60 or so pieces shown. It’s probably closer to 40 pieces considering set up time between each piece, but I’m seriously curious to see the rest of the show. Especially with its fun them, The Pursuit of Happiness!

Even if you are a post-contemporary art fan like myself and are more familiar with the work of Mark Ryden versus Monet, Pageant of the Masters will impress and excite you. It’s real people dressed up as fine art master pieces! Get into it.

Please visit the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters website for all pricing and admission info.

two statues chilling

You can see more pictures from this night by searching #BBLagunaAdventure on Instagram and there is a bit of the show in my Laguna Adventure Vlog.


junk drawer mixtape


A collection of songs from abandoned playlists along with some other junk I’ve been listening too. My epic catch-all, my musical junk drawer. p.s. happy half-way through 2015! 10 songs : 33 minutes

10 songs : 33 minutes

‘Far from any road” – The Handsome Family/ ‘Stay Useless’ – Cloud Nothing / ‘Never Enough’ – Eternal Summers / ‘Feel ers’ – Crushed Beaks / ‘Glitter’ – Pinkshinyultrablast /’Johnny B. Goode’ – Chuck Berry/ ‘Easier’ – Grizzle Bear/ ‘Blue Jagstang’ – Night Manager / ‘Sex Beat’ – The Coathangers / ‘Girls’ – Royal Headache


mixtape monday route 66 music


Mid- June here is an eclectic mix of sounds and songs. My musical diet lately has been pretty scattered. I want to listen to something new, but then get drawn back to those familiar bands. A mixture of nostalgia and new discoveries sprinkled with recent memories; it’s a musical road trip.

15 songs on June 15 – think it’s meant to be. 

timing is everything


all the things part one

How cute is this little unicorn friend? I spotted the figurine in an Atlanta basement antique shop. There is some seriously sweet antique shopping across this country.

Anyways… ‘all the things’ is a list of all the things I want or want to do. A simple way of me expressing my desires because I suffer from OS, over-share. Also, I’ve been freaking out lately feeling like I can’t measure up to my own standards of a filled life. Seriously crying or be extremely physically tense and uncomfortable at the fact I didn’t get X, Y, & Z done. Then in a freeing moment of clarity I realized, I expect WAY too much of myself on a daily basis. I just really enjoy living and doing, which is awesome, but I need to be more honest with myself and realize I can’t physically do it all.

It’s Saturday and I have a free night to do whatever my little heart desires, so let me share with you what those desires are.

*Sunday update, this is what I did get done.

  1. Paint my nails
  2. Start a painting  continued a painting from 4 years ago! 
  3. Read a magazine
  4. Watch Breakfast at Tiffanys  I watched more Mad Men, does that count? Going to watch Nightcrawler.
  5. Write about my road trip in my journal
  6. Write a dozen or so blog posts: Vinyl Collection, Real Talk Letting Go, Carry Me Ohio, Haunted West Virginia, Book Review, June Mixtape.
  7. Do laundry
  8. Clean my office
  9. Write a letter and fix a damaged letter  I wrote a letter, but it needs to be rewritten, too much champagne. 
  10. Go grocery shopping
  11. Make meatloaf (cajun meatloaf)  Made a pasta bake instead, needed to use up some veggie sausage. 
  12. Wash my dog
  13. Doodle
  14. Read some links from my “Read Later” bookmarks
  15. Record a May Favorites Video
  16. Clean out my closet.

and that’s all I can think of right now… 


WTF ALOHA!? My 5 Better Casting Choices


*UPDATE* Cameron Crowe has written a blog post regarding the character of Alisson Ng. He apologizes for having offended people and explains how the character is proud of her heritage although she doesn’t look mixed. I understand how the casting of Emma Stone fits the characters appearance and after talking with my sister who has a blond hair, blue eyed, 1/4 Japanese baby girl – I understand her frustration of people calling out Emma Stone for ‘not looking Asian’. But in the end I stand by my desire that the role have been cast accordingly and that they have gone with an unknown who is a quarter Asian to play the role. I also stand by my desire that pet unicorns become legal.

I’m having major issues with Emma Stone being cast as a half Asian Pacific Islander in the new Cameron Crowe film Aloha and here are my reasons why. Back in the day I wanted to be an actress. I went to professional acting classes for 5 years and even graduated High School early to pursue my career. I did eventually decided the industry wasn’t for me, not because it’s hard or there is rejection that is in every career field. Just being 18 and seeing struggling actors at 28, I didn’t want that to be me in 10 years and knew I didn’t love the craft enough to be that person. So I jumped shipped and went into art. Anyways, when I was in acting classes and going on auditions, being half Asian and half white I was told my roles would be limited. I was also told I’d never be a leading lady. There are other talented mixed actresses out there that probably hear the same thing, and so when a role that is written to be someone of mixed Asian decent is given to someone who isn’t of mixed Asian descent, it’s pretty damn infuriating.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Emma Stone didn’t even have to audition for this film, and instead the studio had three white female actresses in mind. The two other actresses as back up if Ms. Stone didn’t want the part. Also I’d like to remind readers that Hawaiian is an actual ethnic background rooted in ancient Polynesian migration to Hawaii – so this character really should look a quarter Asian and a quarter Pacific Islander. As a mixed Asian woman, I’m not even asking the studio to hire an actress of that exact background, but maybe someone who actually has some Asian/Islander DNA. If a character was written to be half white and half African-American, I really doubt the studio would have hired an all white actress then – think about it.

I compiled a list of actresses that should have possibly been considered before our beloved Emma Stone, but probably weren’t. They are all around her age (Emma Stone was born in 1988) and have a decent amount of Asian in them – some might surprise you.  And I understand Emma Stone is great for the box office, but even if the following actresses acting chops aren’t up to that of Emma Stone, I’m sure they could have found a charming unknown that could deliver an great performance. Emma Stone is insult to injury in an already under represented demographic in entertainment.

My Casting Couch: 

Vanessa Hudgens


Vanessa Hudgens | DOB : 1988

What? Our High School Musical songstress is half -Asian? Yes, friends she is! Vanessa is half- Filipino which is considered Asian but has been debated to be more Pacific-Islander. It’s like Vanessa’s mixed background was made for the quarter this and quarter that character. I mean all Asian people look the same, right? Also Vanessa has gone one to perform in a few indie flicks and has worked to break her Disney image. I’d like to see a screen test!

Shay Mitchell

Shay Mitchell | DOB : 1987

Pretty Little Liar actress, Shay Mitchell, has yet to make her big screen film debut, but this could have been her chance. Her moment! She’s been kicking around on the tv circuit since 2009, but this also half Filipino actress could play Aloha’s Allison Ng. I don’t think Shay is a bad actress, but as rumor had it the studio didn’t have much faith in the film anyways, so why not let her have a screen test.


Nicole Gale Anderson | DOB 1990

Nicole is also an ABC Family darling. Playing Kelly Parker on one of my favorite guilty pleasures, Make it or Break it.  Two years younger than Emma Stone, with 10 years of television experience on her resume, maybe she wasn’t right for the part. But her Filipino heritage makes her closer to the character of Alison Ng, than Emma’s Swedish, German, Scottish and Irish roots.  

Katie Findlay

Katie Findlay |DOB 1990

Katie is one of the less Asian actresses on this list and yet my favorite for Aloha. Ms. Findlay is part Chinese mixed with Portuguese, English and Scottish. Unlike Shay and Vanessa who are half Filipino, I think Katie could have acted just as well as Emma Stone in this part. Allison Ng is a fighter pilot with the manic pixie dream girl charm. After seeing Katie in How To Get Away With Murder, take away the goth wardrobe and she could have played this twenty-something dream girl just trying to do her job, find her roots, and maybe fall in love. (I havn’t seen the movie, I’m basing this off of other reviews of Aloha)

Kelsey Chow

Kelsey Chow | DOB 1991

Kelsey Chow,  a total unknown still hustling to build up her IMDB credits, but played the ‘Hot Girl’ in the Amazing Spider Man staring Emma Stone. It’s like a sad six degrees of Kevin Bacon, Kelsey is Chinese but probably wasn’t even on the casting list for this mixed Allison Ng part.

I’m getting off my soapbox now, but really there is no reason the studio couldn’t have cast an adorable mixed Asian girl to play the part of Allison Ng. Critics are calling out the absurdity in the casting choice, but the damage is already done – the check has already been cashed by Emma Stone and not a mixed Asian actress. Once again I do want to say I love Emma Stone and she is probably great in this movie. I’d probably really like this movie because all the critics bashing this movie are saying the movie is on par with Elizabethtown, and well Elizabethtown is one of my favorite films. But really, when will studios stop thinking like its 1962 and get with the times!

KY : Louisville’s Art Hotel

art hotel Kentucky

On the day we left Louisville and headed for West Virginia we woke up early to explore two more spots. It was gloomy and rainy, which is never that fun for exploring, but we didn’t let that stop us – and in turn it set the mood. Our first stop was the Seelbach Hotel one of the oldest and finest hotels in America, where F. Scott Fitzgerald was inspired for parts of the Great Gatsby. Saddly, all my photos from inside the hotel are blurry, perhaps the ghost of the Seelbach feel it’s a no photos establishment.

After the Seelbach we went to the art hotel, aka 21C Museum Hotel. A hotel with a full fledged modern art museum off the main lobby. It’s been so long and my notes have gone missing, so I don’t know what the show’s title was or the name of most of the artists. I checked their website for past exhibitions and recall the Gina Phillips work, but there was a whole second collection I can’t find any information on. All I recall is that it was work from artists all around the world.  If you know any of the artists below please comment with their name and link to website and I will correctly label the work.

chain link skull

Artist – Walter Oltmann

Lalla Essayoli

Artist – Lalla Essaydi


art teacup

tea cup II

gina phillips stitching

Artist – Gina Phillips

gina phillips stitching

Artist – Gina Phillips

Jennifer and Kevin McCoy

Artists – Jennifer and Kevin McCoy

While we walked down hallways and continued to explore the hotel as much as we could with out a room key, we found this photo of John Waters. Mr. Waters is one of my idols, I love his creative spark, relentless spirit and authentic self. Now I don’t know John Waters personally, but like Dolly Parton, he owns who he is regardless of what the world might think of him and doesn’t apologize for being himself.  Seeing his photo was like getting a sign I was on the right path, I was supposed to be on this trip and just experience what it was going to bring.

John Waters

MIXTAPE MONDAY : Pizza Is My Boyfriend

pizza is my boyfriend


I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of a playlist. I just ended up listening to a lot of great music last week and I was grooving on some funky beats. My favorite is this random find from The Beaches. I don’t think its the Beaches, but that’s what Spotify says. They have the same issue with Soko. When I create a Soko station it isn’t the adorable french singer, instead tracks that sound like dental lounge instrumentals will come on. If anyone knows the language being sung in that Beaches track – please share!

‘Continental Shelf’ – Viet Cong/ ‘Bird of Prey’ – Natalie Press / ‘Aegean Disco – The Beaches/ ‘To Die in L.A.’- Lower Dens / ‘Queen’-Perfume Genius / ‘Nausea’ – Craft Spells / ‘Young and Beautiful’ – Lana Del Rey / ‘Daniel’- Bat for Lashes / ‘Plastic Raincoats in the Pig Parade’ – Ariel Pink / ‘Honey Bunny’ – Girls / ‘Kiss and Not Tell’ – La Roux

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