One of the many impressive aspects of the Black Panther movie is its costume design. The look of the Dora Milaje, the elite Wakanda guard, is particularly striking.
That said, I was surprised to found out from The Wife about this article about Anthony Francisco, a developmental illustrator for Marvel Comics, where he says that apart from the obvious influence from different African cultures, that there are Asian influences in the Dora Milaje costumes. In this Buzzfeed article, Francisco details influences as disparate as Filipino tribesman and Japanese Samurai.
Francisco grew up in the Philippines, where the Igorot people of Ifugao are well known for their UNESCO heritage rice terraces. Some of their traditional garb influenced his design. In addition, the table runner from Francisco’s Aunt’s house became part of General Okoye’s uniform. Other Asian influences include Samurai style boots.
You can see these and other influences on costume design in the Buzzfeed article.
For a better look at Francisco’s work (which includes Baby Groot), check out his Instagram.
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Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 19: “King in the North”
Original airdate March 20, 2018.
Synopsis: Honey needs time away from home to relax and get ready for the baby, so Jessica tricks her into going north to Maine (instead of south to the Keys) in pursuit of a book jacket blurb from Stephen King for A Case of a Knife to the Brain. Louis orders a new sign for Louis Huang’s Cattleman’s Ranch (disappointing me and surely countless others by not naming it Louis Huang’s Kenny Rogers’s Michael Bolton’s Cattleman’s Ranch). Grandma plans to move out, so Emery wants her room, leaving Evan alone in the room they once shared. Eddie and Nicole rebel against the school dance’s policy requiring boys to wear pants and girls to wear skirts.
I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped: The several silly Stephen King references are cute, but I have a feeling I missed a whole bunch. I’m waiving my usual distaste for cameos this week because the rule doesn’t apply when it’s a Kristi Yamaguchi cameo. I enjoy this show when it’s subversive on multiple levels. In this case, I think it’s just the one obvious level, and that’s okay too. Can’t put my finger on it, but Randall Park’s acting is especially good in this. And the “Somewhere Out There” gag is cute and funny!
Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps: The Jessica-Honey story is too long and only interesting because you spend the whole time looking for Misery references. I Googled the name of the diner (Downy’s Diner) and hospital (Penobscot Memorial Hospital) thinking they might be King references, but alas. I think some kind of spoof on King horror stories might have been more interesting. Unless this story is a spoof and it just flew over my head, in which case I apologize.
FOB moment: “I know what it’s like to be treated differently because you’re not the same as everyone else. It sucks! But if we don’t take a stand, then we are the same as everyone else.”
Soundtrack flashback: “Every Heartbeat” by Amy Grant (1991, a song I love). “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tail (1987, sung by Evan, Emery, and Louis). “ATLiens” by Outkast (1996).
Final grade, this episode: This feels good for a season finale (what? with the nineteenth episode?) and it works for a series finale if FOtB isn’t renewed for next season. Here’s hoping we get at least one more season out of Eddie and the Huangs. B.
Here with Michelle W. Kwan reminiscing about our time on the 2016 campaign trail with Hillary Clinton. Thanks so much for your support, Michelle! Check out our campaign at www.vivekforca.com #VivekforTreasurer #RunwithVivek
Posted by Vivek Viswanathan for California Treasurer 2018 on Saturday, March 3, 2018
Video & Image courtesy of Vivek Viswanathan for State Treasurer 2018 – https://www.vivekforca.com/
Back in early March, I was on Facebook and I saw a fundraising event titled Happy Hour: Michelle Kwan & Vivek Viswanathan in San Francisco, and I was like, what?!?
I had briefly seen Michelle back in January for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in the security line for the press/VIP entrance but didn’t get a chance to chat with her since I wanted to make the press conference for the announcement of the U.S. Olympic men’s figure skating team. The first and only time I had met Michelle was back in the Fall of 2015 for a fundraiser for Asian Americans for Hillary in San Francisco. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton didn’t become president …
Who is this Vivek Viswanathan candidate and what is he running for was what I first thought? He’s running for California State Treasurer, to replace outgoing Treasurer John Chiang (who is running for Governor of California.) Well, since Michelle was going to the event – I had to go and learn more about Vivek!
At the Happy Hour, Vivek’s remarks were brief, but I was able to stay for dinner and hear more in-depth from not only Vivek, but also:
I also had a chance to first chat with Vivek’s Aunt & Uncle, who live near San Jose, as well as his Mom & Dad as well as his brother (who were all in town for the event visiting from New York). At the Happy Hour and also during the dinner reception, I did get to learn that Vivek is a really smart guy, having gone to Harvard for undegrad, and getting his JD/MBA at Stanford.
He’s also been a Special Advisor, Office of Governor Jerry Brown and also a Policy Advisor to Hillary Clinton on her presidential campaign. Michelle Kwan, Ann O’Leary and Dan Schwerin knew Vivek from working on the Hillary Clinton campaign together at the campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, New York and that’s how they all got to know Vivik and to endorse him.
All of this at the age of 30. He’s also doing something unique to get the word out about his race for California State Treasurer – running 500 miles from Sacramento to San Diego over a period of around two months to reach out to Californians and learn & listen.
After the long evening, I did get a chance to do a brief interview with Vivek:
I really admire Vivek putting himself out there and running for office, but it will be a big challenge for him running against a very established Democrat that is very well known and liked among the Democratic establishment even if the general Californian public doesn’t know her that well (a lot of people don’t even know who John Chiang is!)
There is also apparently a Republican in the race for State Treasurer according to Ballotpedia, but given there are no elected Republicans holding state wise offices, I’m pretty sure that his chances are close to zero of being elected, but he might have a chance to make it from the open primary to the general election in November.
The only poll that matters is election day. Stranger things have happened, as we all know, Donald Trump was elected president … And first time candidate Stephanie Murphy made history by beating a 24 year incumbent to become the first Vietnamese American woman elected to Congress.
Oh, and I also did get a chance to meet Michelle and chat with her at both the happy hour and dinner reception:
The above photo got me over 100+ likes on Facebook 🙂 and plenty of comments …
Best of luck to Vivek is his run for California State Treasurer! You can follow Vivek at:
I recently had a chance to meet Dr. Mai Khanh Tran while she was visiting in downtown San Jose. She’s one of many running for an open seat in the 39th Congressional District of California, after Republican incumbent Ed Royce announced, like many Congressional Republicans in “purple” districts, that he was retiring from Congress. But Republican Young Kim is the anointed successor by Royce (having worked for him previously), a Korean American business woman who previously had served a term in the California State Assembly.
I had made a small donation to Tran’s campaign because I was looking to support and flip a Republican Congressional District so that the Democrats can win the House in November 2018 and she was an Asian American woman doctor! This was prior to Taiwanese American Jay Chen entering the race, who had previously ran against Ed Royce back in 2012 – who I supported and also had a chance to interview at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. After Royce had announced he was retiring, Chen announced he was running for the seat. I had heard that he promised not to enter the race, but Royce’s retirement of course changes the dynamics of the whole race and makes the race a jungle primary in June 2018.
I’m glad I don’t live in California’s 39th Congressional District, because I’m not sure who would vote for – Tran or Chen. Tran made a good case for her vote: she’s the only immigrant refugee female Asian American doctor running for office in that district. She also employees 90 people in her medical practice so has practical small business experience.
But I guess I wouldn’t have to make a choice, because in a surprise move, Chen decided for the “greater good” to withdraw from the Congressional race, since it was already a crowded Democratic field:
“Potential candidate Jay Chen said that he won’t file to run in CA-39, the seat held by retiring Republican Ed Royce and one of Democrats’ best pickup opportunities if they can avoid splitting the vote in the top-two primary in June.
“As of now 9 Democratic candidates and 7 Republican candidates have filed for a primary in which Republican turnout may remain higher than Democratic turnout,” Chen said in a statement. “The probability of two Republicans advancing in November, and Democrats squandering a historic opportunity, is real.”
“The greatest contribution I can make right now is to help consolidate the field, by stepping away from it. We cannot afford to let this seat slip away, and we must all put the greater good over personal ambition,” he added.
The DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] praised the move in a statement. “
I was kind of shocked when I heard the news, since Chen had gotten a lot of endorsements, but in a recent polling I came across:
didn’t look great for him. Maybe since Chen was the last to enter the race, that many didn’t know he was running yet?
Ed Royce and the Republican Party specifically chose to get behind Young Kim because she’s an Asian American female Republican – someone that the district could get behind. Demographically, the district is:
There are also two self-funders (including one lottery winner!). So there could be a lot of split votes with a lot of Democrats running and Republicans running – though I think there will be consolidation behind Young Kim as the race gets closer.
So even though Royce won re-election in November 2016, the district voted for Hillary Clinton Clinton beat Donald Trump 51% to 43%. This is one of the key Congressional Districts that the Democrats have targeted to win.
Tran has quite the compelling life story:
It was 1975, and I couldn’t thank him because I didn’t speak a word of English. Several months earlier, my dad had dropped my three siblings and me off at an orphanage in Saigon just before the city fell. None of us knew if we’d ever see each other again. I didn’t know it then, but my father’s selfless act of love gave his children a shot at freedom and a better life.
Balancing work and school was difficult, but with the support of my family and community I was able to get the grades to be admitted to Harvard. There I cleaned bathrooms as a janitor, working my way through school with the help of Pell Grants and scholarships. Next came the Dartmouth-Brown joint Medical School program, financed again with the help of scholarships, student loans, and federal grants. I finished my residency in Pediatrics at UCLA, and settled in Orange County, where I have been caring for the children of working families for the past twenty five years.
I’m also a two-time breast cancer survivor, and was blessed to become a mother in my forties. Thankfully, I had reliable health insurance that I could afford, or neither would have been possible.”
After reading and meeting Tran, I feel like I could be doing more with my life! Tran has been living the American dream and contributing to our great country.
If you didn’t know already, there are already a record number of women running for office.
If elected in November 2018, Tran would be the first female doctor ever elected to Congress (I’m told there was one who represented the U.S. Virgin Islands – but that Representative doesn’t have a vote for the U.S. territory).
Best of luck to Tran in the primary, and in the general election if she makes it through the primary!
Back in January, I was able to meet up with Korean American Dave Min,
Min was raised in the Palo Alto area and we have a mutual friend who introduced us to each other. Min is currently a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. From his campaign website:
“A first-generation Korean-American, Dave worked as an enforcement attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission, as an economic and financial policy advisor to Senator Chuck Schumer, and as an economic policy director at the Center for American Progress. Dave grew up in California, and Dave and his wife Jane settled in Irvine where they both teach at the UC Irvine School of Law while raising their three children.”
I had a chance to chat with Min at a local Starbucks for almost 17 minutes to ask him about running against Republican incumbent Representative Mimi Walters along with a field of Democratic candidates (including another UC Irvine professor!)
From a demographics standpoint, the 45th Congressional District (CD-45) is fairly diverse and highly educated:
More importantly, Orange County in 2016 49.8 percent voted for Hillary Clinton compared to 44.9 for Trump when Walters got re-elected. Although Orange County has traditionally been fairly conservative (certain for California), given how unpopular Trump is in California, there’s a good chance for Min or another Democrat to defeat Walters.
Best of luck to Min – it’ll be interesting to see if he can make it past the open “jungle” primary with so many running for the seat.
Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 18: “Measure Twice, Cut Once”
Original airdate March 13, 2018.
Synopsis: Louis has second thoughts about buying Kenny Rogers’s half of Kenny Rogers’s Michael Bolton’s Cattleman’s Ranch. This frustrates Jessica, who’s sure it’s a good deal. Jessica accuses Louis of always overthinking decisions in his life, and she flies her psychic to Orlando from D.C. to spur Louis into action.
Evan gives up Live with Regis and Kathie Lee for Lent. His behavior annoys his brothers, so Eddie and Emery try to trick him into breaking his Lent commitment.
I been in the game for ten years making rap tunes: This episode is a good example of how well Constance Wu and Randall Park work together. They make little moments super believable even in the middle of a plot where Louis is literally a turtle and Jessica is literally a white infant.
I also like that Evan’s faith isn’t just something used once for the sake of an interesting plot a year ago. I often hear people claim that boys his age are incapable of having a serious faith, especially in non-religious families, but this just isn’t true, and the writers respect Evan’s adherence even while Emery and Eddie make fun of it. Yes, Evan is being silly in his earnestness, and older brothers will tease mercilessly about such things, but there’s a way to tell this story while respecting all parties, which this episode does.
That turtle sequence is absurd but pretty dang funny.
Lines I liked:
Jessica: You have to act first and apologize later, like I learned to do.
Louis: You never apologize.
Eddie: I can’t wait to be reincarnated. I know who I’m coming back as. The RZA.
Jessica: Pee or get off the toilet.
Ever since honeys was wearing Sassoon: What was up with the lobster subplot? It feels like something thrown in just to give Matthew Chestnut something to do.
FOB moment: This is a bit of a reach, but Grandma’s explanation of yin and yang is interesting. It seems unlikely that both Louis and Jessica would have come this far in their lives without already knowing this stuff, so that’s kind of unbelievable, but Grandma’s explanation is one of the best I’ve seen in pop culture.
Soundtrack flashback: I watched this three times and didn’t pick up anything, which is a disappointment in an episode where the RZA does a cameo. Geez.
Final grade, this episode: It feels like kind of a throwaway episode, but I laughed aloud at least five times on my first viewing (zero laugh-alouds on the next two), so it certainly doesn’t stink. C+.
Ok that was for the SEO. Now let’s begin this not-really review. Why not really? Because
1. I’m mostly stealing from the pages in this book with roman numerals
2. I’m not going to tell you hardly anything about the book or whether you’ll like it or not. I’m just going to tell you to read it.
Foreword. Viet Thanh Nguyen:
The existence of Go Home! testifies to the power of language as a home open to all, albeit one that we must often fight for. Against the racist demand that we go back to where we came from, we say that we are already at home, not just in the United States, but in English.
Reading this collection, I visited all of these writers’ home and experienced their homelessness filtered through their stories and poems. All of their works were gifts to me, and I thought about how homes can be gifts too.
Editor’s Note. Rowan Hisayo Buchanan:
But this one book can’t contain all the vital voices. After you close the last page behind you, please open many more. Consider this book a doorway. The world presents ever-increasing ways in which we can be homed and unhomed. You may not see your own definition of home in theses pages, but we hope you find resonances and use them as a starting point for your own writing and thinking.
There. That’s the argument.
Read Alexander Chee and Karissa Chen. Read Mia Alvar and Chaya Babu. Read Marilyn Chin and Muna Gurung. Read the acknowledgements (always read the acknowledgements).
Go home, whatever, whoever, however, wherever that might be, and take this book with you.
I just saw this new Panda Express TV commercial, “Introducing Peking Pork – Breaking the Ice“:
“New Peking Pork from Panda Express is peking your appetite with crispy pork chop bites, hand- cut peppers and white onion, wok-tossed in a sweet and sour glaze. It’s American Chinese comfort food that’s made to satisfy in any situation.”
It surprisingly stars Wong Fu Productions’ Philip Wang. I think this is the first time I’ve seen Wang star in a TV commercial. Also, I think this is the first Asian Male / Hispanic Female pairing in a commercial ever. Additionally, I wonder if we’ll start to see more of Wang in TV commercials, then television and then movies (like how Randall Park’s career progressed).
The premise of the TV commercial is that Wang plays the Asian American boyfriend who is bringing Panda Express takeout to his Hispanic girlfriend’s home. The woman’s father is not exactly that friendly – until Wang offers (or is “breaking the ice”) some Peking Pork for the father to try. After that, the father lets down his protective guard.
Krystal Sital’s debut memoir, Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad, is an intimate and powerful memoir about three generations of her family — their stories, their traumas, their secrets, and their relationship to the author’s grandfather. Eloquently written and deeply personal, Sital dives deep into her own history, the contradictions, and the troublesome relationships between men and women that powerfully shaped her grandmother and then her mother’s lives on the island they were all born on.
Trinidad is our fears and our loves. There we discovered our beings, we dug deep and planted our roots assuming we would never leave, sucking on the armored cascara with its silver-plaited shell, devouring the sweet flesh beneath, the only fish the legend says ties you to the land forevermore, smacking our lips when we were done. We never thought we would have to leave this place . . . But in the end we chose to flee.
A story of diaspora and migration, it is also about family and obligations and culture and tradition. Their flaws and freedoms. Shiva Singh, the author’s grandfather and a wealthy Hindu landowner, is the circle around which much of the book revolves. As he lies in a hospital in New Jersey, Sital watches her mother and grandmother cope with the decisions of his care. It leads to a slow unraveling of her mother’s story, of her childhood, her relationship with the man lying prone in a hospital bed undergoing weeks of surgery. A brutal past full of trauma, beatings, and terror.
A recent New York Times article covers Toyota’s marketing efforts:
Companies have developed commercial campaigns aimed at minority groups for years, often in conjunction with specialized ad agencies. But Toyota’s efforts show how major companies are adjusting their marketing tactics as the nation’s demographics shift.
Some wonder, though, if these kind of specialized ads are even needed when the country’s population is getting more diverse.
“You see a real blending and a more progressive acknowledgment that there is significant diversity” in mainstream advertising, said Shalini Shankar, a professor at Northwestern University and the author of the book “Advertising Diversity.” Still, she said, “it doesn’t hurt to have more stuff that acknowledges that race is real.”
For Toyota and Asian American consumers, this is what was reported:
“In the commercial titled “Captivating,” a Chinese-American father picks his daughter up from baseball practice in a red Camry. She is focused on her tablet in the backseat until he turns Pandora on. As the music kicks up and the engine revs, both of their faces light up.
The ad is from interTrend, a Long Beach, Calif., agency that specializes in marketing to Asian-Americans. It is the only Camry broadcast spot to focus on a father and daughter. The father was specifically cast to “highlight a not-often-seen behavior,” said Julia Huang, interTrend’s chief executive, who is Taiwanese-American.
“Traditionally, Asian fathers show less emotion and affection toward their kids,” Ms. Huang said. “We wanted to show that driving the Camry brought out a different side of an Asian dad and how he wanted to share the experience with his daughter.”
I think that maybe 1st generation Asian fathers show less emotion and affection toward their kids, but for those born-and-raised in the U.S., I think the opposite is true. I see this with my brother and his daughters. Though I think most dads who are driving their kids are fairly conservative drivers…
I found the same exact commercial on Toyota’s YouTube channel with an Indian American family instead:
I’m always interested to see how commercials are shot, and re-shot or footage reused. Same exact commercial but definitely catching the eye of its intended audience as well as the general public.
Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 17: “Let Me Go, Bro”
Original airdate February 27, 2018.
Synopsis: Eddie stuns his family when he announces he’s to be inducted into the National Honor Society. Evan isn’t surprised, but he’s furious with Eddie for not thanking him. Evan has secretly been supporting his brother’s good efforts because he’d like to visit him “at Stanford, not prison.” When Eddie says he doesn’t need Evan’s help, Evan schemes to set Eddie up for failure. Jessica, still getting notes from her editor for A Case of a Knife to the Brain, goes on a ride-along with police officer Bryson, in order to make her police language more realistic. She’s disappointed when Bryson’s work seems mostly to involve getting coffee and helping citizens bag their dog poop. Kenny Rogers tells Louis he’s going to sell back his half of Kenny Rogers’s Michael Bolton’s Cattleman’s Ranch, now dubbed Kenny O’Rogers’s Michael O’Bolton’s Cattleman’s O’Ranch in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Louis is overjoyed, but Kenny Rogers tells him he has to fire Matthew Chestnut, with whom Louis has developed a close friendship.
Know When To Hold ‘Em: Awww. We get a major, massive dose of Nice Guy Eddie, plus Evan in kind of a cute not-so-psycho-but-still-intense mode. Emery gets to play the amused observer, a role that suits him. I really like the way Emery’s character is growing. You’d like it if your daughter wanted to date him. Jessica gets to do some physical comedy that works well for her (including a textbook faint). And as I’ve said recently, Louis directing his energies for someone else’s benefit is one of the better Louises.
“Hey. I still need you. Do you want to make me pancakes or something?” (Emery to Evan)
“The Saturn is where we talk when things get real, and he said he wanted to make sure our safe space stayed safe.” (Nicole to Evan, about Eddie)
Know When To Fold ‘Em: This is just far too big a role for Bryson, who’s okay as a very minor character but annoying in anything larger. I’ve been glad to be rid of Mitch at Kenny Rogers’s Michael Bolton’s Cattleman’s Ranch, but Matthew Chestnut has been an equally irritating replacement. I would have welcomed his firing, but Louis keeps him aboard, which likely means we’re not through with him yet. Bleah.
FOB moment: Didn’t spot one this time. Did you?
Soundtrack flashback: “Insane in the Membrane” by Cypress Hill (1993), the second time this song has been used on FOtB. “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers (1978).
Final grade, this episode: Did anyone else think this had the feel of a series (not season) finale? If they cancel FOtB tomorrow, and this is the last we see of the Huangs, it would be a good note on which to part. I love Eddie in this, and I like the overall vibe of the whole episode. There’s a lot of vulnerability going on, and the actors are there for it. I’m pleased to see a strong episode that’s not one of my issues episodes! A-minus.
Kim Fu’s latest novel The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore is a gripping tale about a group of teenage girls at summer camp who set off for a fateful kayaking trip. Opening at Camp Forevermore, the novel then jumps through time and perspective, following the girls into their futures, but always returning to camp and that trip. Slowly, Fu offers more and more details about the moment that acts as the gravitational center of the novel. What exactly happened that summer?
Every chapter reveals something intriguing about human nature, closely following each of the five girls. What happens to a group of girls left alone in the woods? When everything is stripped away and survival is at stake who will they become? And as adults, how will this one moment, one night at summer camp, affect the rest of their lives? How will they handle the experience and the darkness of their choices? Some will be happy, others will be tortured. In each, Fu weaves a masterful story about rebuilding, redefining, yet being built and defined by this singular moment and the choices made during it. Small pieces of the camp story are told. Then we fast forward to one girl’s future. For Nita, Fu unravels a tale of motherhood. For Isabel, of marriage and loss. With The Lost Girls, you don’t always know where you’re going, but you know you want to go wherever Fu is taking you.
“Don’t worry. She’ll be okay. You would be surprised what children can forget.” Nita stirred. In defiance, she wanted to hold on to this memory. The plastic chairs, the strangers’ voices. But she felt it slipping away form her even as it happened, becoming clouded with sleep and doubt.