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NEW PEOPLE To Be the Center of All Things J-Pop in Japantown

The Fillmore Street jazz district has seen some revitalization thanks to the opening of Yoshi's. Across Geary Street, the Kabuki Theater has leaped forward several decades with its Sundance makeover. But what about poor overlooked and under-utilized Japantown?  It's in dire need of a face-lift.

In two weeks, Japantown will propel itself decades forward, shedding its abandoned late 60s vibe and entering 2009 with the opening of NEW PEOPLE (1762 Post Street), a three-story, 20,000 square foot Japanese retail and entertainment center that will be the epicenter for all things J-pop.

Need red round iPod speakers made of round sponge? They've got it. Thinking your look could use an infusion of Japanese "Lolita" fashion (a fashion subculture that blends Victorian children's clothing with Goth)? They've got that too.

An underground (literally, basement-level) cinema will screen the "latest" and "hottest" films from Japan as well classics, favorites, documentaries and anime – making it the only venue of its kind in the United States. The cinema will open with the Manga-based sci-fi trilogy, 20th Century Boys and the US exclusive premiere of Bleach the Movie: The Diamond Dust Rebellion!

NEW PEOPLE will also showcase the works of emerging artists who draw their inspiration from Japanese popular culture in the SUPERFROG Gallery.

On Opening Day Eve, Friday, August 14, the Center for Asian American Media and the Japantown Merchants Association will present a free, outdoor screening of Tetsuya Nakashima's Kamikaze Girls to super-celebrate JPop and NEWPEOPLE. The New York Times called the film a “yummy Japanese confection.” It offers a glimpse into Japanese "Lolita" pop culture and is one of the best-reviewed Japanese films to be released in the US in recent years.