Monday, December 19, 2011

Sora and the Cloud take off

Our newest adventure is by Felicia Hoshino ( Having illustrated many other stories, Felicia decided to write her first book, inspired by her very own son.

The result is Immedium's first Japanese American themed book, and its first title that features bilingual translation (in Japanese).

Sora and the Cloud enjoyed a launch party at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California ( in San Francisco, CA on December 10, 2011.

There the author and her pal Akiko Hisa (who translated the story into Japanese) read the tale, discussed their creative processes, and signed dozens (and dozens) of copies for supportive and eager readers.

Meanwhile families could enjoy a rainbow of fun, crafted by Felicia. They could take a photo with their very own Cloud and balloon, and make their own hand-held clouds. They could see up close the author's beautifully detailed artwork.

Of course, the delicious snacks were a hit and soon all gone!

Then Sora and the Cloud proceeded to fly over the Bay Area. They visited students at Rosa Parks and Clarendon elementary schoools and returned for their seasonal Performing Arts Nights. They touched down at ABC preschool and AIM Montessori in Berkeley.

This past weekend, they popped up at the Renegade Craft Fair's Holiday Market at the San Francisco Concourse. There among the DIY throngs, friends admired a little puffy slice of heaven.

"Sora" means "sky" in Japanese. One of the book's themes is that you can engage the world, explore it, and make meaning out of it. You can draw upon your experience and stretch your limits.

To that end, we will donate a percentage of book sales to Japan Earthquake Relief, to make this goal tangible for others around the world.

We hope to share Sora and the Cloud with more of you in 2012!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Octonauts TV show in Germany and Japan

The Octonauts search for fun around the globe. So, it is fitting that the TV adaptation continues to reach new fans in more continents.

Yesterday, the animated series launched as "Die Oktonauten" on the channel Super RTL in Germany. A few weeks earlier it had debuted in Deutschland on Disney Junior. The brave teammates are still the same but sport new handles such as Käpt'n Barnius and Professor Tintling. Hopefully something is found in translation :)

Fortunately for all the mädchen and jungen, the original Octonauts book stories are on their way, translated into German for their reading pleasure!

On the other side of the earth the crew recently docked in Japan on Disney Junior as well. There in Nippon, known as オクトノーツ to the locals, the eight pals will feel at home.

Their kawaii designs fit right in. I think a character's sure sign of acceptance is when they inspire the consumable contents of bento boxes.

Come to think of it, Captain Barnacles is ideal for sticky rice. Is that Peso Penguin on the starboard bow? That's very deft folding of the seaweed and a nice daikon beak!

After decades of a one-sided trade imbalance, we can now export bona fide cuteness back into the land of Hello Kitty and Pokemon. The Vegimals' have realized their dreams of bring smiles to little tummies for lunch.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's just a chair... but it's a Shelby Williams Gazelle.

Normally I don't blog about home decor (as opposed to creating entertaining characters and publishing multimedia), but I've got to tell you I did have something akin to lust for a particular piece of seating.

In fact, this did happen once, not too long ago, when I happened upon a Herman Miller Equa chair at Costco. I plopped myself on the aisle sample, still zip-tied to the pallet. Surprisingly I felt the closest thing to pleasure possible that I could ever have imagined while tethered to a computer keyboard.

I rationalized my need for this object this by considering the facts. Finding a good seat is important nowadays. Especially when a slew of scientific studies point out how homo sapiens didn't evolve to be 9 to 5 desk jockeys. Sitting is now equated to being a couch potato, but you now have the added bonus of eye-strain, carpal tunnel, and multi-tasking attention deficit disorder. So, now I ride an "Equa B" everyday (affordably obtained BTW).

But back to the anecdote at hand. The criteria for a dining room chair is different from an office chair. There is more a premium on appearance. Size matters (in this case smaller!). Nevertheless, the chair still has to be cozy enough to allow you to nosh forever. It shouldn't eject you from enjoying a meal because your posterior gets too sore.

So on with the story...

A few months ago, while on vacation I visited my sister who treated us to a small diner in Pasadena for lunch. I took a seat by the main "farm-style" table with my family to consider the menu. It slowly dawned on me that I was sitting in a very, no make that extremely, comfortable chair. I stood up and looked at it. Then I sat down again.

The cushion was soft but firm.

The design was modern but retro.

The chair was compact but durable.

It afforded a range of motion but provided support.

The diner's chair was a clean white vinyl, but clearly had to take a licking but keep on ticking.

Then (mind you, normally I don't do this either) I surreptitiously bent down to see if the manufacturer's name was written on the bottom. After eating my sandwich, I looked under the chair again to make sure. I walked to the counter, grabbed a the restaurant's business card and pen and wrote it down.

It was a Shelby Williams.

Later when I got home, I emailed the restaurant. I couldn't wait for a reply, so I called them. Not to ask about their recipes, but about their chairs. I hinted to my sister that she could follow up and walk over there during her lunch break if she wasn't busy. One lead led to another, and I discovered that this particular piece of furniture was old and not made any more at all. The company still existed but their website no longer produced this model.

I searched the web and finally identified the item. Mid Century Modern. Akin to Danish Erik Buck and Eames. A Gazelle, aka Antelope or Impala.

A fitting name. Connoting fluid motion. Sleek lines. A burst of energy from a position of rest.

In the back of my reptilian brain, I knew this could be the start of a fruitless search. But indulgently I allowed the seed to germinate, and then watered it with a daily trickle of web browsing. This yielded a predictable paucity of results, most of which led to dead ends. The links that did stand up were on the other end of the spectrum - listings fitted to shoppers where price was not an object.

However, I'm glad to report a happy ending. Miraculously, I found a super nice person who was selling 3 chairs. I immediately hopped in the car to make her acquaintance and came home with my very own trio of orange Gazelles (affordably obtained BTW).

My kids crawled atop them without a second thought.

More importantly my wife was pleased too.

My search has ended for now.

For another smitten aficionado's take, visit

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Burning Man Redux at a Quarter Century

This is the week, long-awaited all year...even more so after 50,000 tickets sold out back in July. The New York Times has jumped on the bandwagon with three stories in two days, including the Monday obituary of Rod Garrett who helped design Black Rock City's spoke-like layout and annual
Center Camps.

Like clockwork and seemingly by its very nature, Burning Man spins off speculation like swirling dust-devils. This year it has ranged off the art section to the business page and even Op-Eds.

So goes the 25th anniversary of Burning Man with the 2011 Art Theme: Rites of Passage. More traffic will fork through tiny towns for the Burn this Labor Day weekend.

For those who've gone before, want to attend, or wish to know what compels pilgrims to trek year after year to the Black Rock Desert in an arid corner of Nevada...we present our revised edition of Desert to Dream: A Decade of Burning Man Photography.

Barbara Traub updated her 2006 opus (since sold out too) with 2 more years, 16 more pages, and two dozen more photos, along with a fitting postscript by her friend D.S. Black.

We're pleased to publish this evolving chronicle of an event which has grown from a happening to a festival to the state's 10th largest city. But it still provides a rainbow of mesmerizing experiences, which differ to the viewer according to the time of day and the shifting sands of happenstance.

Fortunately, Barbara was there to capture these fleeting moments of spectacle and share them with people around the world, in the pages of magazines from Wired to Time and now in the 2nd edition of her book. Once the playa is wiped clean next week, participants and voyeurs can still appreciate the memories of the desert and their dreams they created there.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August means Attaboy!

Yes, we try to blog every month that begins with "A". No, seriously folks, we have a brand spanking new book here goes.

This picture is worth at least 100 words. The other 900 and change you can find inside the covers of You Might be a Monster and Other Stories I Made Up. Attaboy surely has made more than his fair share of tales which collectively break the expectations of what a kids book is.

For one thing, when have you read a book with a couch of contents?

Secondly, name a children's adventure that had at least a dozen monsters you hadn't seen before?

Thirdly, when have you seen a dustjacket that can wrap around from the inside out?

Don't get me started buddy. You get the idea. Anyhoo, you'd definitely get more than your nickel's worth as you confront a riot of color, characters, and poems, chock full of brio and moxie from a certifiably wild brain.

Attaboy is definitely a rule bender, as you can tell from his recent author photo. As you may know, he co-founded Hi-Fructose magazine with his partner Annie Owens. This pop "cult" periodical showcases like-minded artists who push buttons and envelopes and other drawing implements around to create genre-bending and innovative art. Their latest issue #20 has instantly sold out.

Recently Atta kicked off San Diego Comic Con with his new book and now is slinging couplets at lucky readers up on down the California coast. Catch him in the coming weeks at:

  • August 5th at Dragatomi, Sacramento, CA

  • August 6th at The Escapist, Berkeley, CA

  • August 7th at SF MOMA, San Francisco, CA

  • August 11th at Meltdown Comics, Los Angeles, CA

  • August 12th at Sweet Breams, San Mateo, CA

  • August 13th at Books Inc., Alameda, CA

  • Atta will even give away a rare "heat-seeking" glow-in-the-dark ASTRX at the SF MOMA!

    This will undoubtedly make more monsters out there, hungry for more offbeat humor and off-the-wall illustrations. As Publishers Weekly recently reviewed:

    "Artist and toy designer Attaboy pairs flippant humor with page-popping digital cartoons in this collection of monster-themed poems....Readers should be drawn toward the subversive, macabre tone and lurid, Cartoon-Network-on-acid illustrations..."

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Billie the Unicorn in Bloom!

    As the saying goes April showers bring May flowers. However it rained today in San Francisco but our flowers were already in bloom!

    Likewise, we're sharing a very beautiful flower this month. We can't help ourselves...take a gander at Billie the Unicorn!

    The author Brianne Drouhard launched her debut storybook at WonderCon in San Francisco at the start of April, much to the delight of her appreciative fans.

    At our booth #220, Brianne happily provided special Billie buttons, necklace charms, limited edition prints, and convention sketches. Plus she generously drew a cool picture of Billie inside each of her new books.

    We quickly sold out of our 1st few cartons and surely needed more copies to satisfy eager (yet patient) readers who pre-ordered the story!

    Today our breath was taken away when we received a batch of amazing "autographed" faceplates from Brianne. Going far beyond our wildest expectations, she drew and colored dozens of original sketches of Billie and her cousins Smudge and Rhubarb!

    The sheets of 6 stickers were fantastic works of art in their own right. We managed to capture most of them for posterity and your viewing pleasure...before we started mailing them away!

    Like Billie, each is unique and special in their own way and we are extremely proud to be sending these along (with Brianne's signature) to lucky readers from Alaska to Australia, and from Dover (New Hampshire) to Denmark.

    We may have a few left, and who knows if we'll ever see such an amazing sight of dozens of Billie flowers in bloom again.

    And who other than Brianne would make a plain mailer so very special by gracing it with a fleet unicorn?

    We are lucky to collaborate with an artist who cares so much about her art! On behalf of our appreciative readers, we thank you very much!