SpoCom Art+Life+Exhibit: Car Culture and Photography

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SpoCom Activate Tour had a pit stop at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California, dubbed “SpoCom: Art+Life+Exhibit”, and I got to explore the exhibit hall and check out a car culture scene I’ve not visited since 2003.

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First off, big thanks to friends Sax and Gian (the latter of the two shown as a reflection holding up his camera) for having the tickets to get into SpoCom. We had quite the adventure meeting up a few miles south of the convention center and eventually arriving at the venue.

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Next big thanks goes to Antonio Alvendia of Cipher Media Group, who was out and about on the floor representing Motor Mavens, as well as being one of the major players in coordinating SpoCom itself. He’s had quite the list of accomplishments in car culture and photography since I last saw him (and even wrote a book on the art of drifting), and it was fantastic catching up with him once more. It’s hard to believe I’ve known him since the early 00’s, and I admire all that he’s done up to this point! Thanks to him, we were able to get media access for the stage, where I took this next photo:

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The panoramic view from this photo overlooks the south-end/entrance of the entire exhibit, and you can see how much foot traffic there was! Lots of vendors, cars, and models to go around for everyone interested in car culture. Directly behind this view is the main stage where dancers performed and models posed for the audience.

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Of course, the cars were the biggest stars of the exhibit hall. Lots of cars I rarely or never see made their appearance on the show floor. Of all the cars, I’ve never seen the Lexus LFA in person. Here are some more photos of this beautiful super-car:

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Beautiful car. I kind of hoped there were champagne glasses right behind the tri-tip exhaust ports just so someone could start the car and shatter the glass.

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A while back, I used to drive a ’93 Toyota MR2 Turbo, but it was sadly stolen. Apart from attempting to get my hands on another one and build it from the ground up in the future, this Lotus Elise would actually be my next pick for a weekend/joy-ride car. It actually has the same engine (albeit more powerful) as my current Corolla XRS and would make an awesome tribute to my previous MR2.

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And if the compact and agile frame itself wasn’t enough, it can have downward-firing exhaust ports! Amazing.

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I couldn’t tell if this was a concept Scion or just a makeshift frame with a go-kart design on the inside. Whatever the case may have been, I’m sure it would make a nice competitor to the Smart car if production ever went through.

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There were even cars on the floor that had really exquisite-looking interiors. This Camry was decked out with Coach lining and limousine-style curtains for the window sills. And I thought the Coach shoes I’ve seen for men was the furthest extent you could represent the brand!

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Industry booths like A’PEXi showed off their cars, like this branded Mazda RX-7…

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… and also had merchandise to sell. The Auto Timer was pretty convincing to get considering that on a cold start, I have to let my engine warm up for two minutes or else the Check-Engine light will go off. Ah, the caveat of have a CAI.

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What’s a car show without a bit of humor? Amidst the girls and car glamor, there were some nice oppai and some creative decals to go around. I personally love the ‘daily driver’ decal on the Scion xB that we spotted, simply because I can relate to how one would want to deck out a car with nice options  and accessories, yet keep it fully street legal and functional.

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For figure lovers, there were even cars that had them set up inside their cars. This Scion xB had a nifty mechanic/shop theme going on in its trunk.

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Itasha? We’ve got ’em! This white Mitsubishi Lancer even had some nicely designed decals of two ladies with samurai swords. It’s not quite the Hatsune Miku Corolla itasha that was circulating around at Anime Expo, but it’s definitely easier on the eyes and would probably be more socially acceptable on the road.

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In addition to the cars, toys, and itasha/decals, our friends also ran into other friends! Here, we have jd fauxto meeting up with our friend and model Lyna Sparks. She joined us with a group of other friends in Malibu beach for a small photoshoot/workshop earlier in the year. It was great running into her again! jd was also doing his thing at the show and networking with other models for some opportunities at studio he shares with his coworkers.

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Theo and I couldn’t find any cars that were representing what we drove, so we found two of the closest cars we could find: an Acura TL and a Toyota Matrix. It was good to dream =). (We both drive an Acura TSX and a Toyota Corolla XRS, respecitvely)

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Even fuel-efficient hybrids made it to the show floor! This particular Prius had solar panels at the top of its roof to power the air conditioner, so that you wouldn’t waste a single drop of gas on a hot, Summer commute.

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And let’s not forget the younger generation! This girl had a remote-controlled, Lakers-badged mini-car that her mother drove around the show floor. She sure attracted a lot of attention for her bright yellow ride!

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All in all, it was a blast meeting up with friends, running into old ones, and experiencing an industry that I haven’t been absorbed in since 2003. The last auto show I remember attending, it was all about the WRXs, Lancers, and Civics/Integras of America. Now, I’ve seen supercars, hybrids, and luxury sedans make their presence known. From the perspective of someone whose primary tastes lie in anime and cosplay fandom, it was definitely a treat to immerse myself in something almost completely different, yet ironically similar. Both cultures share a love for what they tote, and the detail invested in each car is similar to the investment made by cosplayers in their clothing, as well as the industry heads that promote their services/products. I’ll definitely have to meet with Antonio again soon and learn about what I’ve missed and gain some more universal knowledge behind the drive for success, whether it be through meticulous automobile upgrades to the love of photography itself.

For the complete set of photos I took, please visit my flickr set page for SpoCom 2011. For more information on SpoCom itself, please visit the SpoCom USA website.

2 thoughts on “SpoCom Art+Life+Exhibit: Car Culture and Photography

    • I used to be into cars as much as I’m presently into anime. It’s definitely an expensive hobby to pursue. I’m just glad that the majority of cars I saw weren’t the typical all-show-no-go type; a lot of them were all-show-and-go! Haha.

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