One weekend evening when I was home, I remembered I wanted to see and wound up watching To Be Takei via Comcast On Demand and thoroughly enjoyed the film.
After viewing the documentary, I thought about what a remarkable life Takei has had, experiencing life as a child growing up in a World War II Japanese internment camp, to becoming a breakthrough and iconic Japanese American and Asian American actor (and in the closet) in the 1960s as Lt. Sulu on Star Trek to a human rights and gay activist and coming out of the closet and marrying his longtime partner and now husband Brad to his involvement in the Japanese internment musical Allegiance.
Takei’s impact on Asian Americans and overall popular culture, both from his Star Trek TV series to movie days to his online Facebook followers is pretty amazing, spanning decades. And that is why I *had* to meet Takei earlier this year, when he was in San Francisco supporting Congressman Mike Honda’s bid for re-election.
Now the documentary is available on DVD (as of October 7th – my bad for the late plug!). I imagine that this documentary will be required viewing for all future introductory Asian American studies college courses in the future.
As I had previously blogged, Takei had made a guest appearance on The Daily Show and really made an impression on host Jon Stewart, especially Takei’s time being interned as a child during World War II.
Get the day's stories from 8Asians.com, delivered to your inbox every evening.
I recently had a random interesting conversation about American holidays with my mom. She was born in Taiwan, raised there, and didn’t immigrate out to America until she was about 30 years old. She told me that out of all the American holidays, she loves Halloween the most.
I was really puzzled by this because she doesn’t really like to eat candy or dress up in costume all that much. She explained to me it was because she was really charmed by how creative Americans get with Halloween and how Americans are able to take everything that is scary and spooky and turn it into cute and fun.
Also, generally, in Chinese and Taiwanese culture, talking about death is taboo. For example, when I had a booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, they gave me a banner to take home from my booth, and it was white with a black border. That means nothing in America, but for Chinese and Taiwanese, that color scheme is associated with funerals and death, and when I put up the banner in my office, one parent was like “Hmm, maybe not a great idea since it looks like a funeral banner.” It’s like bad luck, like talking about death or representing death in any way would bring it to you and yours.
So for my mom, she was quite tickled by the fact that when Halloween came around, everyone would dress up like ghosts and demons or even “play dead”, which would be really tsk-ed at in Taiwan. She loved the haunted houses, and she said she cracked up particularly when one family had graves lining their front lawn with the names of each family member on tombstones. From her cultural perspective, it was so taboo and unlucky but her neighbors were reveling in it.
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed Halloween, but Christmas is still my favorite holiday.
When I saw the headline, Asian-American Voter Registration Not Matching Population Growth, I wasn’t surprised and of course disappointed. This is one reason why I am motivated to be active in politics – to make-up for my fellow Asian Americans. This is the saddest part of the online article (IMHO):
“Despite the Asian-American population increasing 46 percent between 2000 and 2010, those numbers do not necessarily carry over to the voting booth because a large percentage of adult AAPIs are not US citizens, have limited English proficiency, or are simply not registered to vote. According to Eugene Lee, democracy project director at Advancing Justice – LA, in California alone, there are 1.2 million Asian Americans who are eligible to vote who remain unregistered.”
According to the State of California, there are currently 17.6 million registered voters in the state! Back in the Fall of 2007 when I first attending the first San Mateo County straw poll, I asked, Where are you Asian-American? – since the county was over 20% Asian American, and there were barely any Asian Americans.
If Asian Americans are not active in the community, fulfilling a very basic democratic activity, no wonder why some may consider Asian Americans the ‘perpetual foreigner.’ More importantly, if you complain about the government at the local, state or national level, and don’t vote, you have no right to complain! You might as well be living in a dictatorship rather than a democracy.
Thank you WMMARoundup for this nice little breakdown of Jenny Liou Shriver’s fight with Jamie Moyle this upcoming Invicta FC9 on Saturday Nov 1. As you can tell from this analysis, this is going to be a beast of a fight. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Shriver will get that helicopter armbar, which would be a lovely submission of the year, but I’m just really looking forward to checking out her stand up game!
From what I recall, I first heard about Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIA) (“…a national nonpartisan organization that works with partners to mobilize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in electoral and civic participation”) when I had attended the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC) and met Christine Chen, the Executive Director.
Since the November 2014 mid-term elections are coming up, APIA is spreading the word about voting. As part of that effort, APIA is posting a series of YouTube-based Public Service Announcements (PSAs) of “Rock the Vote” with well known Asian Americans, including Kelly Miyahara of “Jeopardy”, reporter Richard Lui of NBC and MSNBC, actor Dante Basco, and actress Kelly Hu:
The hashtag for the campaign is #TURNOUTFORWHAT – I’m assuming because many people don’t vote in non-presidential years, but they are just as important, if not more so, than presidential year elections.
If you didn’t already know, in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County, California sits the largest buddhist temple in the western hemisphere, the Hsi Lai Temple, aptly named to mean “Coming to the West Temple”. It’s a major community center with workshops, summer camps, Chinese school, daycare, and even its own university. There’s also a vegetarian buffet and a tea house on site as well as a museum. The whole place is quite beautiful, and every time I visit, there always seems to be a soft breeze floating through the place no matter how hot the heat wave hitting the Southland.
So when I went to Kaohsiung, I had to stop by the Fo Guang Shan Temple, which is basically the main base buddhist organization that Hsi Lai Temple sprouted from. The place has a sort of grandiose ancient aliens feel to it. Luckily, we were there on a cloudy day, which really gave the place a celestial ambiance.
Although there was no photography allowed in some places inside, there was plenty to photograph.
8$ is a series which occasionally highlights interesting crowdfunding projects. Every day, the 8Asians team is inundated by many worthy pitches. We are unable to highlight every one that comes our way, or even the ones we might individually support. The projects selected for 8$ are not endorsements by 8Asians. (To be considered for 8$, we highly suggest you not harass the writers or the editors of 8Asians.)
East West Players was founded in 1965, and is currently embarking on its 50th Anniversary!
As the nation’s premier Asian American theatre, East West Players (EWP) produces artistic works and educational programs that foster dialogue exploring Asian Pacific experiences. EWP was the first theatre dedicated to portraying an authentic and non-stereotyped Asian Pacific American experience, and today stands as the longest-running professional theatre of color operating in the U.S.
WHAT: Indiegogo project: East West Players Creates the World of Takarazuka!!!
TAKARAZUKA!!!, a play with music by Susan Soon-He Stanton, is set at the Takarazuka Revue, an all-female Japanese performance troupe, that has put on lavishly staged spectacles for decades. Facing retirement, the Takarazuka’s Top Star, Yuko, begins to be haunted by the ghost of a former top star. Mysterious events happen at the theater as Yuko’s sayonara performance looms and a new star is set to rise to the top in this thrilling and seductive new play.
The Takarazuka Revue in Japan has performed to packed houses since 1913, showcasing all-female casts in productions that are renowned for their lavish costume and set designs, melodramatic performances, and extravagant musical productions that combine traditional Japanese music and dance with western influences. Many now consider the Takarazuka Revue to be as significant as noh and kabuki in terms of its contributions to indigenous Japanese theatre.
TAKARAZUKA!!!, the play, offers a rare glimpse behind the scenes, revealing the almost obsessive discipline and training that are required of the women who enter the world of Takarazuka, and the elaborate, dreamlike spectacles that have thrilled and fascinated audiences for the last century.
WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Wednesday, November 12, 2014 (11:59pm PT).
Help us recreate the splendor of Takarazuka!!! We want the show to look fantastic, and we want you to enjoy it! Your support will enable us to bring the world of Takarazuka to life through beautiful sets and costumes.
Scenic Designer Tesshi Nakagawa has designed an intricate and innovative set that transports the audience from the glitz and showmanship of the Takarazuka Revue, to the gritty behind-the-scenes of a working theatre (check out the gallery for some photos!). June Suepunpuck is designing costumes that capture the ornate and fanciful showmanship for which the Takarazuka Revue is renowned. In our efforts to represent the performance styles as authentically as possible we look to you for help bring their visions to life!
We need to raise $5,000, and we have received a $1,600 challenge match from a friend of East West Players, Wendy Chang — that means that the first $1,600 you donate will be doubled, and we can reach our goal even faster! Please donate today to help us reach our goal by opening night, November 12!
Vietnamese American nurse Nina Pham declared free of ebola. The Texan will be returning home to friends and family to continue to heal and recover.
Being a blogger for 8Asians, I am on a lot of email lists, including the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies one, and was pleasantly surprised to hear recently that Asian American candidates are running in record numbers this November in the mid-term elections, with the highlights including:
“The November election will include 22 Asian-American congressional candidates in 12 different states and territories; 39 ran in the primaries. In the 2008 elections, only 13 Asian-American candidates ran for Congress. … APAICS leaders say representation of Asian Americans is crucial to encouraging engagement and participation, and point out that only 14 of the 485 federal legislature members are Asian American/Pacific Islander.”
Of course, amongst politicos, the most watched race is Asian American vs. Asian America race of Ro Khanna vs. Congressman Mike Honda.
Whatever your political persuasion is, I recommend that you vote. In a Democracy, if you don’t vote, then you shouldn’t’ complain about your government since you might as well be living in a dictatorship, IMHO.
I’m a moron when it comes to footwork and reflexes in punching, blocking, and dodging, which is why I love watching Japanese strawweight Mizuki Inoue fight. She’s been called one of the most technical strikers in MMA. Clearly, there’s a reason why her fight against Karolina Kowalkiewicz is the co-main event at the next Invicta FC9 event.
Here’s her previous Invicta fight where you can really see her skills and ferocity in ample evidence.
Here is one of her recent fights:
Just another reason to look forward to Invicta FC9!
You may or may not have heard of Asian American activist Grace Lee Boggs. PBS is making the documentary about Boggs available for free online viewing from Oct. 16th – Nov. 15th, 2014. I saw the documentary earlier this year when it was broadcasted and Boggs was definitely an activist ahead of her time, battling for civil rights and particularly active in the African American community in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Boggs when I saw her speak at V3con back in June 2013.
“Grace Lee Boggs (born June 27, 1915) is an author, social activist, philosopher, and feminist. She is known for her years of political collaboration with C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya in the 1940s and 1950s. She eventually went off in her own political direction in the 1960s with her husband of some forty years, James Boggs, until his death in 1993. By 1998, she had written four books, including an autobiography. In 2011, still active at the age of 95, she wrote a fifth book, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, co-written by Scott Kurashige and published by the University of California Press.
Her life is the subject of the documentary film American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs released in 2013, produced and directed by the American filmmaker Grace Lee.“
If you don’t have time to watch or want to learn more, here’s the trailer:
If you’ve got the time and inclination, I recommend watching this fascinating documentary.