My Asian Immigrant Mom Reviews ‘Fresh Off the Boat’

Journalism / News
Constance Wu and Hudson Yang as Jessica and Eddie in a scene from "Fresh Off the Boat." They are in a parking lot in the evening about to walk into a grocery store.

I have a fun interview over at Hyphen with my mom about the new TV show “Fresh Off the Boat,” the first American sitcom since the ’90s to feature an Asian American family.

Watching the premiere of “Fresh Off the Boat,” many scenes resonated with my own experience of growing up in Texas. Being made fun of for your homemade lunch? Check. People complimenting me on my English even though I’m American born? Check. Parents not understanding the music I identified with? Check.

But what really carried the show for me was Constance Wu’s portrayal of the mother, Jessica Huang. Walking the world with confidence, skepticism, and a sharp tongue, she is tough on her kids, and her husband too. She reminds me of my own mom, Pearl.

So I asked Pearl about her thoughts on the show. Read the interview at Hyphen.

A Journal for Incarcerated Youth

Other Stuff

In my eight years at WritersCorps, I’ve been proud of many things. There’s the work that we do every day: educating young people and providing them with safe spaces to express themselves and free their imaginations. I feel incredibly privileged to work with a group of artists and writers who are creative and caring mentors. I’m proud of our students, many of whom face difficult challenges.

One thing that I’ve been especially proud of lately is a project called Words Within the Walls. It’s a journal for incarcerated youth, and it was created by WritersCorps Teaching Artist Anhvu Buchanan, who is a poet. Anhvu taught for WritersCorps at the Juvenile Justice Center, which is San Francisco’s juvenile hall. His students were constantly asking him for extra paper so they could continue writing outside of class time. As a solution, he put together a creative writing journal that contained lined pages, poems by his students, and writing prompts to help them get going.

Read More

Radio Interview with Sooyoung of Bitch Magnet

Journalism / News / People

This Thursday, my interview with Sooyoung Park about the reunion of his band Bitch Magnet airs on APEX Express. (That’s radio producer Robynn Takayama capturing audio at the interview the night before they played in San Francisco back in October.)

I first met Sooyoung when he was the frontman of indie rock band Seam and I interviewed him for a college journalism class. We have since become friends. It was nostalgic fun to revisit the era of our first interview. Bitch Magnet (circa late ’80s) came before Seam (’90s), so for Sooyoung, the reunion of this band is taking him way back. What is it like to come back to songs you wrote 25 years ago?

The show airs Thursday, 7 to 8 p.m. PST. To tune in live online, visit kpfa.org or via terrestrial radio go to 94.1 FM KPFA.

UPDATE: The audio for the segment is up now. Listen to it here.

Photo by Kaiser Hwang

Food & Place Reading | San Francisco | Sept 23, 2012

Events / Literary

I’ll be reading at an event that is part of the Asian Culinary Forum’s annual symposium. The theme of this year’s symposium is: Exploring Asian & Latin American cross-cultural foods and experiences.

FOOD & PLACE: On the Geography of Eating
Sunday, September 23, 2012 | 5 – 7 p.m.
Women’s Building, Mission District | 3543 18th Street, San Francisco

Oscar Bermeo, Javier O. Huerta, Melissa Hung, Bill Gong, Barbara Jane Reyes and other selected Bay Area writers share their prose and poetry. Come hear their stories about the worlds of food in which we live and love, cleave and connect.

Wine and light refreshments will be served.

Ticket are $10 at the door or you can purchase them online.

Facebook invite (with author bios) here.

Hyphen Turns 10

Events / Journalism

Hyphen, the magazine I co-founded, turned 10 this year! Most magazines don’t make it past a year. So it’s kind of amazing that we’re still here — still fiercely independent, and covering all things cool, noteworthy, and intriguing about Asian America. Where else are you going to find a Roadmap to Kimchi America and  a World War II interracial love story within pages of each other? These stories (and so much more!) are in our latest issue, our 25th, which features the one-and-only George Takei on our cover rocking the best blue socks I’ve ever seen. Yes, we still print actual magazines in addition to publishing daily on our website.

In the Letters From the Editors in this issue (one from me and one from our current editor in chief), we reflect on 10 years of magazine-making and community building. One thing that I didn’t mention in the note is that I have met some of the most creative, kick-ass, and solid people through Hyphen — people that I’m glad to call my friends today.

Of course, we wouldn’t let such an occasion go by without a party. Join us Saturday, June 30, 2012 at SOMArts for our birthday bash. Hope to see you there.

New Music Video: ‘Freeze Ray Knees’

Film / News

Earlier this year, I directed a music video for The Invisible Cities. They have been working on a collection of what they call quick and trashy songs, and they wanted a quick and trashy video. We shot this in one weekend in San Francisco on a point and shoot, a Canon Powershot S95 . It was a lot of fun. And yes, I happened to own that helmet before we came up with the music video. You never know when a plush space helmet might come in handy.

The Invisible Cities have released the video to kick off 10 weeks of new songs. Each week they are releasing a new song from their collection of quick-and-trashiness, called “Meet the Lampreys.” (I am a little late in posting this; they are already on week 3.) Learn about the songs here on their site, and be their friends on Facebook to get notified when a new song is released into the wild.

Thanks to Angry Asian Man and The Bay Bridged for writing about the video and sharing my love of space helmets.

Slant Film Festival 11 Recap

Events / Film
Marquee at the River Oaks Theater in Houston, which reads "Aurora Picture Show's Slant Film Festival of Asian American Shorts"

I’m back from Houston after wrapping another year of Slant: Bold Asian American Images. Filmmaker Soham Mehta was in attendance, screening one of his works for the third time at Slant. But this screening was particularly meaningful for him because it was the Houston premiere of “Fatakra,” his Student Academy Award-winning film. Soham grew up in Katy (a Houston suburb), moved to Austin for college, then came back to Houston to work. He founded local theater company Shunya, before going back to Austin for film school. Many of Soham’s friends, family, and supporters came out to see the film.

See a full recap here on the Slant site.