Friday, April 27, 2007

Joe Hamamoto: Retired, but working harder than ever!

This video is a very rough edit. I got lazy after all these recent vids, and decided to pretty much just string a bunch of raw footage together, making for a very long video. Because it went over the time limit (11 minutes) and file size, I could not upload it to my YouTube account; and my one LiveDigital account is now over quota. So I decided to use Google Video.

Joe is at his best in entertainment. He is rather creative in his presentations. What I love most is how much delight he brings to people. I love watching their reactions and hearing their laughter.

Joe is also extremely generous, always folding hundreds of jars and bags of giveaway origami to hand out at festivals.

"I am who I want to be and now I want to be someone who is sleeping." 
 - Ferruccio from the Italian film, "Life is Beautiful"

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Joe Demonstrates 3 Kasahara Models

Joe brought 3 new models to show off at the Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival. He is often imaginative in presenting stories to go along with his favorite models, to entertain folks. I have footage for one more video from last weekend's festival in Monterey Park, featuring Joe...retired, but still hard at work in origami. I also hope to go back and edit together a video from our presence at the Chinese-American Museum in March. There was one guy in particular that Joe had fun entertaining; I missed some of their funniest exchanges, though. I gotta learn to keep that camera running...

The models can be found in The Art and Wonder of Origami.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cherry Blossom Festival, Monterey Park, CA- Origami Demonstration Pt 1

The video runs under 10 minutes; but I probably talked for almost 20. I blended both days into one video.

My material isn't well-rehearsed. What I mostly talk about is how the art of origami honors the traditions of the past by not only preserving it, but evolving from it. So I show off some modern origami that some people might not be aware of, in terms of types of origami, and the evolution of new creations.

My aim is also to get more people excited and involved in enjoyment and appreciation for the art.

Part II, III, and IV are below this post, in respective order. Photos of the 10th annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Monterey Park, CA, can be viewed here.

Cherry Blossom Festival, Monterey Park, CA- Origami Demonstration Pt 2

Part II covers the magic of moneyfolds.

The demonstration was only supposed to last for about a half hour; so, not much time to cover the wide-range of billfolds. So I showed off only a few, leading up to asking someone from the audience for a dollar (which, normally, I will examine, then stuff into my pocket, asking someone else for another one).

The Robert Neale flapping butterfly (with John Andrisan's cosmetic modifications) only takes me a minute to fold. Maybe even less time than that. With the right buildup, there really is a kind of magic to it. I don't think the video represents my best presentation, but it's what I have; and what you, the viewers, are stuck with.

Again, as in Part I, I blended both days into one video, extracting what I could, and tried to make a seamless blend. Some parts were not recorded, as my cameramen stopped filming at certain points. Many thanks to both of them: Jimmy Taggart, who filmed on the first day (April 21st) and is a magician and fellow paperfolder at WCOG; and Art Fukomoto, who is a volunteer at the Festival.

Sorry for the low quality of the sound.

Cherry Blossom Festival Indoor Demonstration Part 3- Yami Yamauchi

Yami taught his banger, to be used at the end of the presentation in an origami contest. He also taught the transition into the moving mouth, which I did not film all of; so I discluded (made up word? Still makes sense to me...) it altogether in the final edit.

Yami also wanted to mention Lillian Oppenheimer in Sunday's demo, and her contributions to the evolution of origami, and pioneering in the States. I think we got our signals mixed up, and he meant for me to talk about it. Hopefully, there are some in the crowd who will be inspired to look further into origami than what we could share in 30 minutes.

Cherry Blossom Festival Indoor Demonstration Part 4- Quickfold Showdown Game

Unfortunately, I did not pre-plan to have anyone film this part of the demo. So day one, I filmed what I could, while "MC-ing"; and the 2nd day I got Yami to just stand there and film (never expect the older generation to understand how to work today's technology).

Missing from the video is my explanation of the contest. Basically, I choose two volunteers from the audience for a showdown. Their objective is to fold a banger (any banger) and make it snap before the other person. The two paperslingers stand on opposite sides with the raw paper on the floor. For fun, you might get them into a cowboy stance, ready to "draw" (ie, fold). I brought a western soundtrack, as I had done before, to set the mood. On day two, I folded several hats, and Joe folded a couple of Marukai hats, so that the contestants could have something to wear, for fun. Originally, I wanted to use Darren Scott's Australian bush hat, and modify it into a cowboy hat. I didn't plan this out well enough in advance, and only managed to fold two of them on the day of. One was way big, and the other one was too small. I'll just have to chalk this up to experience, and learn from it next time. I think I'll drag things out longer next time with more bantering around with the contestants so that the audience can get to know them, and so I can make bad origami puns and deliver entertainer's jokes.

We're still learning as we go, and Yami and I weren't even sure what we would do for the demo until the weekend of the Festival. Not that we haven't done this previously; but everything is unrehearsed and unscripted. I do think we are getting better and better as we go along.

Holy cow...I'm blind as a bat!

Monday, April 23, 2007

How to fold a Marukai newspaper cap

I call it a "Marukai" hat, because Joe Hamamoto prefers to fold this model with Marukai ads. It's stiffer than your standard newspaper, and more durable. Joe says he learned this from Carol Stevens, but does not know the origins. I guess I'll have to ask Carol, the next time I see her.

How to fold 2 action models in less than 60 seconds

This is the first of a series of videos from last weekend's 10th annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Monterey Park. I have a new camera now with a 4 GB memory card, allowing me to take long clips; so no more need to "mask" the defects of my footage "cutting out" with music. I will start putting up some videos with the natural sounds.

Sometimes parents bring their kids to our tables, wanting us to teach their child something. A problem arises when the kid proves to be 2 years old. Often, the parent will find himself assisting his kid...then pretty much taking over all folding chores himself.

One of my favorite models to do for young kids is Yami's banger; which I can quickly transition into a moving mouth. I like it, because I can either fold this extremely fast for a young child with a short attention span; or, I can teach it fairly easily to kids old enough to understand the words that are coming out of my mouth.

Yami will use the banger model as a warm-up exercise for a new group of people at his table. It also allows one to gage the folding abilities of one's students.

It's fun to not tell the group what they are folding; I just tell them we are going to make a super complex model- something that is an absolute work of artistic beauty. When we are done folding the banger, of course it doesn't look like much of anything. I let them guess as to what it might be. A lot of times kids will say it's a book. I'll let them know that this is no ordinary book, because this book you don't have to read; it actually talks to you. Right before I move my arm up to snap it, I'll sometimes ask, "Oh...what's that over there?" and point behind them. As they turn their heads to look, I'll unload a thunderous snap from the banger.

In this video, I show a very fast transition to the moving mouth. One that works for me. If I'm folding the model for a child, I like to let them feel involved in the process by at least allowing them to glue on eyeballs (or drawing them in with a marker- you can also write a message inside the mouth). Joe uses eyeball stickers; I like those button eyeball thingies with the eyes that float around in the bubble. You can either apply glue stick yourself to where the eyes should go, or hand over full control to the child and give him the glue stick...and see exactly where the child thinks those eyes should be applied onto the model.

People seem to see different things when they see the moving mouth. For instance, some see a frog, others see Godzilla. Most everyone though, universally see that origami is fun and entertaining.

Later, I'll post a video up of Yami teaching the banger transition to the moving mouth, during our on-stage demonstration. He has a good method for teaching how to fold the mouth; mine is designed for expediency, from a performance standpoint for an audience.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ready for the Weekend's actually Monday; but "Ready for the Weekend" is the name of the vignette weekend tips that USA network does, in between commercials and their "movie of the week". Last summer, sometime, I got invited to do a very short segment. We filmed at a restaurant down by the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

I can't believe they edited out the part where after we folded the banger, I asked the host "What's that over there?"; when he turned his head, I unleashed the snap of the banger on his unsuspecting ear. I thought that was the funniest part of what we did. Oh, well.