Thu 1 Sep 2011
Last night, I went to a screening of Palladium Boots’ documentary Tokyo Rising, hosted by Pharrell. The whole StarTrak/I Am Other family was there (Loic, Icepick Jay, Rob Walker, Amanda Silverman)…and friends like Yu-Ming (Freshness), Wendy (Nitrolicious), and Deirdre (Capsule). But the star of the evening was really a city.
Pharrell’s love affair with Japan has been long and productive. Relationships with Nigo (Bape), Takashi Murakami, Verbal/M-Flo, and more can be seen in Pharrell’s work and his Billionaire Boys Club line. So Palladium Boots (a modern take on the paramilitary high top sneaker) enlisted Pharrell and Vice Media’s Thalia Mavros to take a closer look at Tokyo, a paradox known for both individual expression and mass restraint. What an amazing job they did!
Pharrell and Mavros’ team explore some of the quirky corners in Tokyo…a punk girl group; Tokyo’s jawdropping underground flood drain; two of the flyest people I know, Verbal and Yoon; and more…
But the true theme is Tokyo’s artistic recovery in the aftermath of the Sendai Earthquake and Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown….or as they call it, 3-11.
The devastation and terror that followed Tokyo’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake broke my heart, but Tokyo Rising reveals the fight that has turned Tokyo’s artists, musicians and regular people into activists. In some cases they’ve become anti-nuclear activists. In all cases, they’re fighting to embrace and strengthen their “Japan-ness.”
More than anything, the film made me want to jump on the next plane to Tokyo, one of my favorite places on earth.
Watch part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5 of Palladium x Pharrell’s Tokyo Rising….
And check out a brief question I asked Pharrell at the screening….
After the jump
The film discusses how American pop culture has been remixed by the Japanese. I asked Pharrell how Japanese pop culture has similarly influenced Americans. He touches on letting go of style inhibition as one influence…I’m sure you guys can come up with a million more specific examples. (thanks to Wendy for the video)
Wendy Lam and I at the screening.
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