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Venturing Into the World of Asian Pop Culture

US ASIANS: Thank you for the opportunity to learn about the visions, goals and participants of your upcoming PMX Convention at L.A.X.'s Hilton Hotel on October 28th & 29th of 2006.

US ASIANS How is the planning of PMX progressing?
This year is going quite well. We are continuing to reach out to new market segments and we're quite proud of the progress. Novala Takemoto is the first Guest of Honor who represents both the writing and the fashion side of Asian culture. He is the writer of the original novel that the movie Kamikaze Girls was based upon. He is also a fashion designer for Baby, The Stars Shine Bright.

Mr. Takemoto’s accomplishments as a fashion designer, novelist and now the creator of a hit film in both Japan and the U.S. makes him the perfect Renaissance man to represent these trends to the United States,” said Mike Tatsugawa, PMX Event Chair. “With the growing popularity of the sweet Lolita fashion trend in Japan and the United States we felt that Halloween weekend was the perfect time to bring all his fans together.”

Takemoto’s debut novel, Sewing Machine (Mishin, 2000) sold 500,000 copies. Later works Emily (2002) and Lolita (2004) were nominated for the prestigious Yukio Mishima Literary Prize. Kamikaze Girls (Shimotsuma Monogatari, 2004) depicts the seemingly odd friendship between a frustrated and bored country girl fixated on the lifestyle of 18th-century frilly French dress, and a spunky member of an all-female biker gang. The film pays homage to fellow cultural luminaries Tank Girl, The Outsiders and Kill Bill while incorporating homegrown Japanese eccentricities.

Once labeled the “Lolita Bard” by overseas newspapers, Takemoto passionately supports the Lolita fashion style, which emphasizes Victorian-style and Edwardian fashion girl's dress and often aims to imitate the look of porcelain dolls. He created his own clothing and product line, Pour Lolita, in collaboration with Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, a leading boutique chain created in 1988.
For more info, click

We also brought in our first non-anime animators, the creators of my current favorite animated show, Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino from Avatar, the Last Airbender. We were amazed with their Eastern influence and Western storytelling and thought they would be perfect to represent the intersection of East and West.

Bryan Konietzko has proven an invaluable asset to the world of original design and creation throughout the animation industry for a number of years. His precision and devotion to the medium as a character designer, makes him one of the most talented men of his age. A character designer for Family Guy, and an assistant director for Mission Hill and King of the Hill, Bryan Konietzko has helped coordinate the inner workings of programs that greatly vary in style. His experience as a storyboard artist and art director for Invader Zim led to his new co-creation Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Michael DiMartino has studied at a top-of-the-line film and animation design school, and worked a dozen years at Film Roman. He has helped direct King of the Hill, Family Guy, and Mission Hill in addition to his own animated short, Atomic Love, which has been screened at a number of high profile film festivals. Lending his directorial experience to an industry in need of young, insightful leaders; Michael DiMartino, in addition to being the co-creator, also serves as co-executive producer and story editor to the animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

We also have a fantastic band, UchuSentai NOIZ who is making their North American debut. Other bands are still in negotiation, but they are also going to be coming to the US for the first time.

US ASIANS Could you share what distinguishes PMX from other similar events (i.e. Anime, Comic Book, Japanese, Chinese and/or other "Asian" conventions/events)?
MIKE TATSUGAWA PMX's focus is on Asian pop culture. We're moving away from a pure anime event to embrace Asian Cinema, music and other emerging trends coming from Asia.

US ASIANS What has been the responses to your previous PMX (Pacific Media Expo) Conventions?
PMX was quite successful in our first year, bringing in about 4,000 fans in its first attempt. The next year, Katrina badly impacted our attendance. This year, we hope to bounce back to our previous levels.

US ASIANS Could you share what high-profiled Japanese bands will be performing at PMX?
Currently, UchuSentai NOIZ is our high profile event, but we are also impressed by Mechanical Panda, who is also making their US debut at PMX. Of course, Dig Jelly and Random Ninjas are always huge fan favorites in Southern California.
UchuSentai NOIZ is a team of five space soldiers (ANGEL-TAKA, MASATO, Kyo, TAKEswiy and S@TT-ON) put together by the agency of galactic heroes beyond our solar system.
Dig Jelly is an Los Angeles-based, high-energy, modern-rock band with a lethal dose of hip-hop. Dig Jelly is Rayko (vocal / guita r /keyboards), Joey Felix (drums), Robby Lochner (lead guitar), and Rain Balen (bass).
Random Ninjas songs evolved from multigenre influences fusing blazing guitars, rock, jazz, pop, and traditional taiko elements. They are Funk Masta Ninja , Yuko aka Kunoichi Oyuu, Kaato, Yusuke aka Supa Lucha Ninja, Nico-sama, Sub Noe and Full Metal Ninja .
Mechanical Panda is a Japanese rock band comprised of Ren (vocalist and guitar), isa (bass) and a support drummer. Their brand of punk rock has been recorded and released several Maxi-CDs. The band has made numerous live appearances on Japanese television and radio.
Olivia will be live and in concert at Pacific Music Live, and will be attending a panel session and signing autographs at Pacific Media Expo. Her music is featured in the popular anime "Nana" (during the opening sequence in the first season and the ending sequence of the second season). Olivia Lufkin is also a former member of the popular j-pop band D&D. Olivia is appearing courtesy of Avex.

"Olivia" (Olivia Lufkin) was born on December 9, 1979 in Okinawa and is a Japanese singer. Originally most of her works were in Japanese, but she has done more and more works in English, which has increased her popularity outside of Japan. Her father is American and her mother is Japanese, and "Olivia" sometimes writes about being mixed-race in songs such as "solarhalfbreed." Her sister Caroline Lufkin is also a singer (under the name Caroline). For more info, click HERE

US ASIANS Could you define the "Asian Lifestyle"
A clear definition of the Asian lifestyle is always a moving target. The anime and manga market is already well known, but finding other forms of media that will resonate in the mainstream market is always a difficult task. We've found several musicians we'd like to pursue and have also found several fashion designers that would play well in the US market.

US ASIANS Could you define the differences between "Asian," "Asian American" and "Asian Pacific American" lifestyles?

PMX Online Resources
MySpace.Com (Pacific Media Expo)
MySpace.Com (PMX)
Xanga Blogring
Yahoo Newsgroup
Pacific Media Expo Forums

I think this is all beginning to blur. For example, is sushi a Japanese dish? Is California roll a form of sushi?

I'm watching a huge debate on our PacificMediaExpo MySpace account where fans are debating whether Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime because it looks Japanese, American animation, because it is created by Nickelodeon, or if it's Korean since it's animated in South Korea.

I think the bottom line is that in California, we pick and choose the aspects of the different cultures that we like. Trying to pinpoint cool new trends is the biggest challenge and also the most rewarding part of our event.

US ASIANS What are the goals (i.e. attendance, ticket sales, vision, artists, etc.) of 2006's PMX Convention?

Our goal is to try to move back to our 2004 levels of 3,000 to 5,000 attendees. For our concerts, it's hard to give our goals since we haven't finalized all of the performers yet. We're hoping for an average of 500 attendees per concert.

Our concerts are unique in convention circles since we charge for them. We are one of the few venues that is really testing the economic viability of many Asian musicians. Once we start to consistently break even on the concerts will be the day that Asian music is really poised to go mainstream in America.

US ASIANS What is the future of PMX?
Our primary focus will be to continue to develop the music and Asian film markets. Other media forms are being reviewed and will also be cultivated over time. Our hope is that someday in the not-so-distant future, we can have festivals dedicated only to music in much the same way that some conventions are only dedicated to anime.

US ASIANS Could you share your thoughts behind the inclusion of local/upcoming Asian American / Japanese - artists?
Our personal belief is to always give back to the community that helps to support us, both morally and financially. We look for local talent and try to let them share the limelight with their Asian counterparts. We hope that this acts as both a learning experience and perhaps as a window to try to break into new fan demographics.

US ASIANS What are the targeted demographics of PMX
This year will be interesting. The Avatar Guests of Honor will likely bring a younger crowd during the day, but at night, with all of our musicians, we fully expect the 18-25 market to be coming in force. Since PMX is interested to all people interested in Asian culture, not just to Asians, we expect a rainbow of attendees representing all the rich demographics of Los Angeles.

US ASIANS Why LAX - after Anaheim Convention Center and Long Beach Convention Center?
To be quite honest, we tried to return to Long Beach, but we couldn't get a window with both hotel rooms and convention center function space. The decision came down to Los Angeles vs. Anaheim and we decided to give the Hilton Los Angeles Airport a chance because many of us Anime Expo veterans have fond memories of the venue and have built good relationships there.

About Pacific Media Expo:
America’s first major trade show dedicated to Asian-Pacific popular culture and entertainment media, Pacific Media Expo (PMX) is an industry event sponsored by the Pacific Media Association. Pacific Media Expo will be held Oct. 28 and 29 at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport. The show will feature honored guests, live performances, panel discussions, autograph sessions, Asian cinema and animation video rooms, art exhibitions and one of the country’s only exhibit halls dedicated to Asian media and pop culture.
About Pacific Media Association:
Pacific Media Association is dedicated to promoting the Pacific Rim’s entertainment media industries. PMA specializes in Asia’s cultural exports, such as anime and manga, music and live entertainment, live-action television and films, and diverse cultural lifestyles, while building creative communities and promoting Asian awareness within the United States. PMA is the parent of Pacific Media Expo. The Pacific Media Association is located in Los Angeles, Calif., USA.

US ASIANS: Mike - we want to thank you for taking the time to revealing the passions behind PMX. An invitation is extended for our viewers and supporters to attend this event.

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