mulatu astatke

nice ethio-jazz track:
Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics | Masenqo

1934 BMW R7

If I rode bikes, I would be on this one. Pretty futuristic for 1934.

celebrity twitter ecosystem

Pretty cool graphic in NYT.

n.a.s.a gifted video

Nice animated video for n.a.s.a - gifted (feat. Kanye West, Lykke Li & Santogold):

tesla model s electric sedan

This is a nice looking electric car. Plus it has a huge touchscreen in the dash. Interface is a little clumsy but I like the features.

pac-man tv

Boxing champ Manny Pacquiao takes over your TV in soap operas and commercials.

we fight/we love / buggin out 09

Q-tip feat. Kanye West & Consequence | We Fight/We Love (Remix)
Consequence feat Kid Cudi | Buggin' Out '09

Consequence & Kid Cudi - "Buggin' Out 09" from Three/21 Films on Vimeo.

sneaker tokyo

Must have book for sneakerheads: Sneaker Tokyo from Shoe Master Magazine. I've been on hiatus from the sneaker game but I might have to cop a pair or two when I hit Japan in August.

Uniqlo UTxJapan Game

As an old school video gamer, I approve of these tshirts. Love those old 8-bit vector graphics.

q-tip does uniqlo

twouble with twitters

erik parker

Currently showing at the Paul Kasmin Gallery in NYC. Crazy colors and imagination in these portraits.


Trailer for the upcoming movie Tokyo! Directors Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Bong Joon-ho share three separate stories set in the city.

your logo makes me barf

Funny site (for design nerds) collecting all the horrible logos out there.

tomoo gokita

Great works from Japanese painter Tomoo Gokita's Champion Carnival show at ATM Gallery in NYC.

periodic table of fonts

for all you font nerds. courtesy of cam.

lush life

Nat King Cole | Lush Life (Cee-Lo Remix)
Novel | Makes You Happy
Keri Hilson (feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo) | Knocks You Down

sakagura - the hidden jewel

Entering Sakagura sake bar (211 East 43rd street between 2nd & 3rd ave.) in Manhattan is like being in on a delicious little secret. Partly because there is no visible street signage. Partly because it is located underground in a basement of a nondescript office building. We actually walked by it without knowing - and we clearly weren't alone as I noticed others following our same mistake.

The key is to look for the 211 street address and you will discover a small Sakagura sign hiding in the corner of the office lobby window. Upon entering the lobby, we followed a series of discreet signs leading us down a concrete slab stairway into the underground. I mean underground in every sense of the word. You can imagine a Fight Club cracking bones behind one of the closed rooms in this minimally lit, grey walled boiler room type of basement. But when you open the door to Sakagura, the boiler room disappears. New York and its midtown hustle disappears. Entering the door is like walking into a portal to Tokyo. The suspense and effort in locating Sakagura is rewarded with a warm atmosphere full of buzzing patrons and sweet smelling food.

The traditional Japanese interior is dimmed in warm golden light complementing its wood furnishings. Even the bathroom is cleverly hidden in a hut-like structure which blends into the wall like another secret passageway. We sit at the bar in front of shelved rows of sake and below a shinto altar which hovers high on the corner wall. Food is served izakaya style (small tapas dishes specialized to complement sake and other drinks). A good percentage of the customers are Japanese and the atmosphere is noticeably merry (thanks to the sake) and refreshingly unpretentious.

Of course, this whole secret location plot line would not work without great food and Sakagura delivered wonderfully on every little plate. Highlights in our sampling included the super delicate fluke carpaccio drizzled with olive oil and garnished with plum paste and salmon roe. Quality and freshness were top notch and the fish roe literally melted in our mouths without any fishy smell. The Chawanmushi was an equally luxurious cup of melted egg custard infused with shiitake mushrooms, ginko nuts and chicken topped with ponzu sauce. More hearty fare included a harmonious bowl of sliced sashimi mixed with kimchi over rice. As the judge of Japanese authenticity, my wife approved of every single dish and couldn't find one misstep. And she's a tough judge too. Meanwhile, I got tipsy from sipping fine sake from the Niigata region. Supremely smooth with a sneaky buzz effect. The to-die-for dessert was the impossibly rich yet lightly refreshing black sesame brulee. Truly one of the best desserts I've ever eaten.

Undoubtedly quality of the food and sake promotes the bar far more effectively than any street signage. As I emerged back onto the Manhattan streets and disappeared into the unknowing sea of pedestrians, I felt like keeping the Sakagura secret to myself, but the experience was so satisfying that I found myself itching to share it ... discreetly, of course.

erickson enriquez

nice artwork from filipino artist erickson enriquez.

yoshitomo nara

Yoshitomo Nara has a solo show at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in NYC until March 28. He was recently arrested for graffiti in the Union Square subway.

soil & "pimp" sessions

Soil & "Pimp" Sessions is an energetic jazz fusion band from Japan. Love their sound.

tomokazu matsuyama

Imaginative shapes and color by Tomokazu Matsuyama. Gallery show at the Joshua Liner Gallery in NYC.

livestrong "stages" campaign

Last year, I participated in Lance Armstrong's Livestrong event in Philly last year and was blown away by their organization and passion to fight cancer. The "Stages" art campaign promotes this movement and features a diverse roster of artists including Shepard Fairey, Kaws and Yoshitomo Nara. It will debut in Paris during this year's Tour De France. Below is Fairey's art mural honoring Armstrong and James Jean's yellow chalk art for Livestrong.

you got served

Are your choices of service professionals racially motivated? Some of us people of color seem to dance the fine line of wanting to support minority-owned businesses and wanting to get good service from whoever can provide it at a good rate. But what about even simpler daily choices? For example, if there are 2 open cashier lines at the grocery store, do you make a decision on physical appearance or race? We know this is the case for our prejudiced caucasian brethren. Personally, I would try to observe which cashier appears to be quicker, more competent and friendly. But if there is no clear distinction in those categories, I would probably gravitate towards the person of color. Why is that? Unspoken kinship? Playing the percentages? Reverse racism (haha)?

One recent customer service experience (even though it didn't involve choice), made me think of this issue. Recently, I purchased an HDTV and called for Comcast to hook up the system. A Hispanic technician named Carlos went about his business, but once we started talking, he opened up about race. "You know some people in Cherry Hill and Medford (surrounding affluent areas) they're WEIRD!" I chuckled, saying that money makes people funny. Carlos replied, "Its not just money, b. I've worked in Brooklyn houses that cost more than these homes. And those homeowners were cool. But here, they watch over you with an eagle eye. My partner is African and he rested his hand on the wall while wiring. The homeowner, this white lady, yelled at him to take his hand off the wall cuz he might break it. It was a concrete wall! Concrete aint gonna break! Then she told us DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING. I mean aren't we all supposed to be the same - all human? They bleed like we bleed." We shook our heads at the story and lamented on others as he wired the back of the TV. Eventually we simply rationalized that all people don't think like us and moved on to more cheerful topics. Then almost as an appreciation for our bonding, Carlos hooked me up with some additional services for free, exchanged a soul-brother handshake and left for his next appointment. I wasn't expecting to talk race issues with the cable guy, but it convinced me to ask for Carlos next time I needed help. Bottom line is to get the service completed, but isn't it icing on the cake to have someone who relates to your experiences?

Getting service from fellow Filipinos goes both ways according to my parents and elder titos & titas. They are affluent high-achievers, so maybe its a class issue. I've seen them happily tsismis-ing (gossip & chitchat) with fellow Filipinos who are servicing them. But I've also heard them caution against patronizing Filipinos when it involved serious matters. And if anything went wrong, they would jokingly perpetuate typical self-mocking stereotypes of the lazy, corrupt, fun-loving but incompetent Filipino.

I've only had two bad experiences with Filipino service professionals. Each time, I couldn't stop myself from bitterly retelling those old ingrained stereotypes. One incident involved a middle-aged Filipino tax accountant who came across more like a familiar uncle during our consultation. We shared laughs and bonded as he wove long-winded stories of the homeland and joked about his americanized kids. Meanwhile, he misinformed me out of a refund and into an audit. Afterwards, I echoed the taunting words of my dad, "Ohh, that's what you get for going to a Filipino. Too busy joking and tsismising to get things right. Don't pick a Filipino next time."

Another incident involved a Filipino ticket agent who messed up my airplane tickets, forcing me to run back and forth twice through the Las Vegas airport to correct it with another agent before catching a plane almost as it lifted off the ground. I verbalized the same reaction to my wife, "Damn Filipino messed me up. Talking to me like we were fam. That's the last time I use them." The positive experiences outnumber these incidents by a wide margin, but its so easy to fall back on those catchphrases.

on sale at amazon

Anyone buying these?

the office

Read an interesting article in NYT about IBM proceeding with undisclosed layoffs despite being one of the few companies to post 1st quarter profits. One laid off engineer claimed that the company was using the recession as an excuse to layoff employees and mask increased outsourcing. Somebody get Lou Dobbs on the phone.

To say we live in uneasy times is a gross understatement. My company announced that the layoffs are finished for the year, but its hard to believe such proclamations when the health of the company is uncertain. You can project a certain percentage of losses but what if the drop exceeds that percentage? The emptier parking lots and vacant desks are daily reminders of the unease. So is seeing certain employees working multiple jobs to pick up the "slack".

Is your company shitting on you because of the economic collapse? And are you taking it because you're just happy to have a job? Interesting time in office life everywhere...

adidas urban art guide for iphone

Featuring the city of Berlin. Cool if they expand into other cities. Preview video here.

nighkee serie

Work by French artist Phoks. More here.

kaws nymag cover

Kaws does New York Magazine's cover for Best of NY 2009 issue.

Find It