Arriving back in Tokyo for the first time in fifteen years for the premiere of her film “Everybody Street,” Allday director, Cheryl Dunn is struck again by the rate and speed of activity in the city.
I traveled so much with my film this year but not for long stretches of time. So I was stoked when this great guy, Taku Takemura, who had included me in an art book that he made years ago, asked me to do a solo photo show and film premiere in Tokyo. When I got there I realized that I hadn’t been there since 2000 for “Untitled”—a show made notorious by Barry McGee’s demolition derby that he mounted, driving painted cars through Shibuya. Here I was again, in a 19th floor hotel room in the center of it all, the busiest district in Tokyo.
If you think New Yorkers work hard, you are reminded when you go to Japan that they might beat us at this… I arrived and the next day we did a 24-hour install, slept for a few hours and opened the show. The gallery, Stall Baggage at THE WORKS, was super cool as well as the crew that owns and runs it—KC and Azusa.
“I kept forgetting Azusa’s name till she told me it was A to the Z to the USA. And I never forgot it after that.”
“Everybody Street” played that night to a packed house and we all celebrated with a crew of young photographers, skaters, graff guys. We didn’t share too much in the way of spoken language but it didn’t matter because the guys could do good tricks with chop sticks. It seemed typical for people to eat and drink til they fell asleep in their ramen. We encountered a few sleepers that night then rounded out the evening at a graffiti bar, me taking pictures of guys tagging up as we walked along.
The next day I had lunch with a friend, Kazumi, who runs Dune magazine and then had my portrait taken for Japanese Vogue. After that, I was taken to dinner in the restaurant under the gallery—also called Stall—by KC, my host, and the guys at Beams, one of the coolest stores, who designed the t-shirt and tote bags that they made for the show. We ate an 8-course meal that was interesting and mostly great except for the fish sperm thing that they warned me that I might not like…
We ended the night at JBS Bar. The initials stand for jazz, blues, soul. At this bar we met Kun who was hosting James Murphy of LCD Sound System—a super-nice guy who is from New Jersey like me. We swapped old war stories of the East Village, machine gun fights on East 3rd Street, early ‘90s vibes. James is opening a restaurant called The 4 Horsemen in Williamsburg soon. He said he took the space to avoid having a shitty bar open there. We took pictures. Bummed I would be leaving Tokyo before their big party the following Saturday.
JBS bar is the must-go destination for traveling musicians. Every wall of the bar is lined with over 10,000 records. The story goes that the bartender/proprietor Kobayashi-san only closes once a year on New Year’s day to service the impeccable turntables. Epic place.