Before we were tits,
before there was any official paperwork recognizing Sakebomb as a proper business entity licensed to perform in the good State of California, we had our first office.
In 1998, Adam Glickman, editor of Tokion, was turning up the heat on the American version of his multi-lingual fashion/culture magazine, and he came to LA to open new headquarters. We knew the dude. He found a cheap residential spot above an antique dealer on a shop alley in Chinatown, with a full kitchen and a few extra rooms.
Slabco records, aka Steven Nereo, grabbed a spot, leaving a single vacancy. The nascent entity loosely known as Sakebomb chose to move in because we knew having an office would validate us as a business. It was an reverse investment; if nothing else it would force us to take ourselves more seriously.
We were in the Chinatown office a few months, acting like real professionals, before we were actually gainfully employed. Paul was moonlighting doing film studio work, and mostly I was taking the time to hang out in a steezy old office space downtown, where I could drink whiskey and write science fiction. It felt like making a fort out of blankets- then, when we pulled back the blankets, there was an actual battle going on. We got the Being John Malkovich web yob, opened a bank account, yumped into the shit and and started blasting.
Chinatown was a dream. Wooden floors, Chinese lanterns, neon lights, alley cats, dive bars, weird funny old neighbors. We bro'ed out with Alex Cheung, frequented Foo Chow for lunch, and then frequented Hop Louie for lunch number two. We rode the expanding dot com bubble, watched Tokion develop into a small empire, played video games with Steven, booked a bunch of work, and lived it up.
Rent was so cheap, we thought to ourselves, why not open a second office? So we made an arrangement with some Japanese designers and began renting residential/office space in Shibuya, Tokyo: The Sakebomb satellite office. If passing the week in Chinatown was a dream, working out of our Tokyo office was like entering the existential mushroom realm of the Funjun partylord. We'd dissolve into the mist for weeks at a time, uploading websites and communicating by DSL, email, ftp, 1-2-3.
Back in LA, hipsters (not virtuous hipsters like ourselves, but nasty annoying hipsters, you know the kind) began to descend on our little Chung King alley and started turning the antique shops into foofy art galleries. Like some bad omen, our toilet began exploding down in Alex Chueng's basement. Landlord was bummed. Rent was going up. Adam decided to move to New York. Sakebomb decided to bail the fuck out.
So then Paul and I just worked from our respective homes, taking meetings here and there while recuperating from bi-monthly Japanese benders. I had a little pad in Koreatown. This was when we started surfing, writing manifestos, and getting really major. I wouldn't say it was a great time for Sakebomb in a business sense, but we learned a lot about ourselves.
Eventually we needed to set up shop and regain some ground. Paul was living in Echo Park, and Slabco Steve had found a new place on Glendale beneath the Sunset overpass. Panty Raid Jen was doing web design at the time and took up residence, and there was room for one more operation to split the lease. We moved in, and quickly stocked the common area with a pool table and working Coke machine filled with different kinds of beer. I have a lot of fond memories of this place, and I still get a good laugh to this day every time I drive by our old address, 1154 Glendale Boulevard.
Which brings me to a funny story about the spot: Geoff Mcfetridge called up one day to cast Steve, Paul and I in a short film he was directing. The concept was pretty conceptual: first a Russian breakdancer gets hit in the eye with a flying shoe (Nereo did the backspin, Paul lamped, and I took the hit), and in the second part a skater in Vans slip-ons does a judo air off a jump ramp, also hitting some kid in the face with a shoe. This is the kind of art that only Geoff can make.
It's an amazing film with some really great acting, dancing, and stunt work, although one of the funniest parts wasn't even included in the final cut. Geoff, while art directing the scene, took some pink sticker paper and cut out the words "Hipk Hopk" and stuck them on the plastic signboard above our front door: giant, bright pink Hipk Hopk, which is apparently what they call hip hop in Russian. And although it didn't go in the film, it remained over our front door until we moved out. We laughed every time we walked in that door, waiting for it to fall off or get removed by someone. But it never moved. In fact, it is still there to this day, and if you drive down Glendale Boulevard, you can look over and see a piece of highly conceptual street art, by the world famous graphic designer and fine artist Geoff Mcfetridge, marking the place Sakebomb once made home, and where we all dressed up like Russian b-boys.
You will also notice Hipk Hopk at the end of the video on our home page, which you may or may not have just come across on your way to this news page. At the end of the video, you will see Sun Nillson standing in front of the sign, delivering the only spoken lines. Sun was our Swedish intern during our days at the Glendale Blvd. office. You may not believe me, but it's true. You can see her holding an iPod, which was an executive gift from Sakebomb thanking her for the internship.
Sun was really cool, and I like to think she had a pretty educational experience working for us while earning school credit. For instance, she helped us produce the Production Days shorts- most of which were shot on Glendale Boulevard in front of and inside our office. The same door that Reza stands in front of in Production Days is the same door in Geoff's Hipk Hopk video, as well as Ruben Fleischer's Girl's Guitar Club short film. A bunch of other stuff as well.
So this homepage video was shot by me, sitting on the same sidewalk in front of the office, filming my brother, Baby Shooch, working on his ollie skills. As I sat there and shot, I knew it was really something magic. I mean, every frame of that video tape is gold. If you pay close attention to this edit, you will numerous visual allegories and provactive dynamic statements and such forth.
Kung Fu heads may also recognize the song- I bought a random CD in Chinatown one day, with a bunch of traditional songs, and always wanted to use one for a skate video. This magic footage resonated with track number one, and I laid it down. Months later I was watching the movie Hero, and recognized this song in the film. In the scene where the swordsman square off after asking an old man to continue playing his music, this is the song that he plays.
I'd like to say it captures some ancient mystic spirit or... you get the idea. I don't know why I'm even trying to explain it. Anyway, a lot went down on that sidewalk, on that day and many others. Blood was shed, tears were cried, Nayarit became the Echo, so much shit. Time moves along. Sakebomb was the last one standing at the Glendale office, and after Jen and Steven moved out we watched it crumble around us. We were left with the flying roaches and black widows, and didn't anticipate any new roommates. We also knew we didn't want to go back to working at home. I guess we like to be close to Sakebomb Buddy, because we soon found a guest house for rent in the hills of Echo Park, about 4 houses down from Steven's home (and new office for Slabco.) Here's a picture of Steven and Lucas chilling out front of our spot:
I really dug the new digs, but it was kind of like building the blanket fort again. I myself lived just over the hill, so I walked to work every day. It was almost like an extension of my house- and not in a good way. Just a tiny room, with an editing bay, up in the residential hills, at a time when we weren't getting out much in general. The little office became like a hideaway, with a dorm-room kind of vibe. Paul didn't come by much. I sat around and listened to music and wrote. I did some Drunky the Egg animations, and realized it was really all just glorified versions of me talking to myself. We weren't really getting work done. Something had to give. I knocked heads with the landlord and packed it up.
All of which brings me to our latest office move, to the location where I'm writing this today. We've actually been in here over a year now, although it's taken us this long to update the site so it's news to you. Sakebomb now inhabits a spot in the Brewery, a complex of industrial artist units just outside downtown LA. I used to hate on this place, but a friend emailed to see if we were interested in sharing the lease, and I went down to check it out. I love it here.
First of all, it's big open room with concrete floors and skylights. Since my days as a wee lad, I dreamt of having a big warehouse full of skateboard ramps and bonsai trees and hookahs and shit like that. This isn't quite what we'll call Hansel's pad, but it's getting there. I built a few skatables, but mostly I just cruise in the parking lot or inside when it's raining. We picked up a trampoline and giant green screen. It's a good place to shoot photos and things like that. We have roomates and lunch meetings and interact with people more, and the whole place is a nice mix of mellow and action.
We occupy the top floor, with all of our computers and camera equipment, and I hung a bunch of Land Of Plenty boards on the wall to act as our display gallery. We've got a couch and desk space for contract workers, including good ol' Lucas Fleischer, aka The Sarge, who has been doing flash animation and design for us. Our other roomies, downstairs, are Misato Suzuki, an amazing painter responsible for the Ruby Republic line, and Katsuo Design, another amazing Japanese designer and artist. I'm not sure why we are so attracted to Japanese people, but I will say they make great roommates.
On our current homepage, you can see a photo of our downstairs space. That's me, doing an endo on Paul's folding bike (a Geoff Mcfetridge graphic prototype), in front of one of Katsuo's works in progress. I took the picture with my new digital camera, using the classic self-timer method. It probably took me 15 tries to get that shot, which wasn't too bad. Self-timing action photography is a complicated science.
It's also part of the course of our karmic trajectory, a theme of our ongoing expressions. For instance. The gears of time are really meshed together, which you might (or might not) be able to tell by the meandering bit of history I just wrote. Destiny reels out like silk, the cosmic tides rise and fall, and the little beeping sound goes faster and faster until... click.
Sakebomb, the bastard prince, is alive and well, and as much as I'd like to think things have changed, we are still filming ourselves doing mediocre bike tricks and writing introspective stories about our lives. I hope you can dig that, and it would be great to know that we've shared a relationship all this time, through all the other changes. I promise you, this is all headed in a very significant direction. You will know what I mean soon. We are coming up on 10 years of the mighty SB. That benchmark looks like it's gonna coincide with some cosmic alignment. I say bring it on, Don.
Come by the office sometime and visit. We can go eat lunch at Barbara's, which is easily among my favorite things about our office. Work is all about lunch. You can also come by for an art walk and BBQ and check out all of the other crazy heads in this place. We'll find something to do. 2007 is our year.
We can even make some art together. Straight Hipk Hopk, da?
Everything copyright 2007, Sakebomb LLC. Drunks Built a Robot, Finger on the Fun Button, The Booze Talking, All Zen and Shit, The Shaka Continues, Björn to Roll, and The Most Amazing Thing are Trademarks of Sakebomb LLC.