I SEE YOU Presents: Hope

LA Artist community organizes 3-Day fundraising benefit

By Ramona Gonzalez
Published on LatinoLA: May 23, 2006

I SEE YOU Presents: Hope

In a sprawling city like Los Angeles, community is often pushed to the side in favor of moving ahead by one car during rush hour. Freeways crawl with frantic single-car drivers, each person seeming more self-important than the next. Try to start a light conversation with anyone, or even smile and the first reaction is akin to: why is this person talking to me and what do they want? And for the most part, one doesn't think twice. That's just life in the big city.

Cynisim can be overwhelming habit. So much so that one can end up believing selfish individualism has taken over and, essentially, people are jerks.

Enter I SEE YOU, a three day series of benefits organized by friends and colleagues of graphic designer Keith Tamashiro who suffered a near fatal cereberal aneurysm on January 31, 2006.

Tamashiro is co-owner of Soap Design Co, a design studio based in Silverlake. He, along with co-owner Gabriela Lopez, founded Soap Design Company in 1999. In the past 8 years they have designed: fashion merchandise; music packaging for artists such as Kinky, Blink-182, Herbie Hancock, Damian Marley, DJ Shadow and Jurassic 5; and promotional merchandise for arts and theatre organizations including The Ricardo Montalban Theatre, CASA 0101 Theatre, Bilingual Foundation of the Arts.

In addition, L.A. native Tamashiro has made a conscious effort to give back to his community by donating work to pro-bono projects like Keepintime/Mochilla and Blue Chips boutique in Highland Park. His commitment to community, professionalism and overall positive vibe incited his friends and colleagues to action. " The second night or so that Keith was in the hospital, we were all in the waiting room, not really knowing what was gonna happen," said Gabriela Lopez, Tamashiro's longtime friend and business partner. "?As a strong artistic community, our instant reaction in seeing a dear colleague so helpless and in need was...what can we do? We know so many people in the [music] industry that know, respect, and are very fond of Keith, and whom Keith has helped out time and time again, [at times] over-extending himself to help them?I remember a phone call the first few nights from JP Robinson from Geffen Records, and him telling me something about wanting to put together a fundraiser for Keith and from there it just started building and building."

Respect for Tamashiro is so far reaching that on Thursday, May 25th DJ Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow will re-team for part of their notorious Br**nfreeze set specifically for this benefit. The WORD-OF-MOUTH MEETS BR**NFREEZE lineup includes: Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, The Beat Junkies, MC Supernatural, Madlib, Money Mark and MF Doom, all of whom have Tamashiro's designs on their CD sleeves. This show (sans Shadow) will make its way to San Francisco's Mezzanine on Friday, May 25th.

On Wednesday, May 24th, The Transport Gallery will host an art auction that will feature a catered reception and a variety of work by local artists including writer/photographer B+ (nee Brian Cross) who is also one of the organizers. Friday, May 26th brings two benefits on the same night courtesy of the Temple Bar and Little Temple in Santa Monica and Silverlake, respectively. KCRW's Garth Trinidad will host A Night of Healing Vibrations featuring live performances by Kim Hill, Ammoncontact (duo Carlos Nino and Fabian Ammon) and more at the Temple Bar. Daedelus, Mia Doi Todd and more will lend their talents at the Little Temple with An Intimate Evening of Healing and Art.

100% of the proceeds go to Tamashiro's mounting hospital bills.

Each of the artists and the organizers contributing to I SEE YOU are from Los Angeles, a city that many have sold out as superficial, cold and plastic. These generous individuals have busted holes in that myth by merely using their own talents and resources to help out a beloved friend. To quote Lopez, "There was never any question or doubt about can this get done. It will get done, and it [has]."

Maybe big cities like L.A. do breed cynics. There will be that person who will curse at traffic from inside their car, just as there will be disgruntled and disrespected customers and customer service workers. However, there is still that bit of fresh air in the smog that survives in pollution - hope.

For more information on the three-day benefit for Keith Tamashiro go to www.myspace.com/ktgetwell, or to volunteer, please contact Tiffany Deang at (310) 904-2529, or via email at tiffanyd@socal.rr.com. If your company/organization would like to donate items or services to any or all of the events, please contact Andrea Chia at aphunk@sbcglobal.net. If you would like to make a monetary contribution to Keith and his family, or for these benefits, please contact Gabriela Lopez, Keith's partner at Soap Design Co., at (323) 666-2383 or gaby@soapdesign.com.

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