Voices of Our Vote is a new compliation album featuring “32 politically empowering tracks by an eclectic mix of Asian American musicians.” Presented by activist group 18MillionRising in partnership with Kollaboration, Traktivist, Tuesday Night Project, and Mishthi, the collection of diverse tunes aims to inspire Asian Americans to vote in the upcoming elections. The album’s release coincides with the #MyAAPIVote campaign, “encouraging AAPIs using forward thinking digital tactics and culture-shifting online tools to get people out to vote” and the VoterVox program, which connects voters with registration resources and ballot translations.
The album is available for purchase at VoicesofOurVote.org on a name-your-price basis. Proceeds from album sales will be donated to 18MillionRising.
I’ve given the album four good listens (and one slightly distracted one), and can recommend at least taking it for a spin. It is quite an “eclectic mix,” especially if your tastes lean toward hip-hop, contemporary folk, and R&B. Pickings are slim if you’re more of a rocker, but there are a couple of tracks here that may fit your groove. Continue Reading »
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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.)
Talun Hsu (director/producer) – Talun is a veteran of independent films. Being a writer, director and producer, Talun knows all the tricks of the trade to make things happen.
Joe Ho & Brent Tonick (writers/producers/cast) – Joe & Brent are just like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck… but more attractive. They are lifelong friends who have been writing and acting together since they were teenagers.
Eddie Mui (associate producer) – Eddie was a working actor in his hometown of Seattle performing in various main stage shows before moving to LA to focus more on television and film.
Fiona Gubelmann (cast) – Fiona is a ferociously talented actress with a long list of credits to her name both in television and film.
Jun Kim (cast) – A multilingual and multi-ethnic former stock broker, Jun Kim was born and raised in Hong Kong.
Charles Kim (cast) – A native Angeleno, Charles Kim did not start acting for paying audiences until he moved to Washington State, where he caught “the acting bug” while attending law school.
Kathy Uyen (cast) – a Vietnamese American actress, producer, and screenwriter who is best known for her leading roles in Vietnamese cinema.
Brian Drolet (cast) – an actor/comedian/writer/producer, Brian also was a cast member of season one of MTV’s smash hit “The Hills” among his extensive list of acting credits.
Cast also includes: Trieu Tran (HBO’s “The Newsroom”, “Tropic Thunder”), Sekou Andrews (“The Sea of Dreams”), Haley Cummings (Adult Film Star), Caroline Macey (episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Medium” and other shows), John Fukuda (“John Wang’s Nebraska”, “Someone I Used to Know”), Kelli McNeil (episodes of “My Crazy Ex”, “CSI” and other shows), Lynn Chen (“Saving Face”, HBO’s “Silicon Valley”), Karin Anna Cheung (“Better Luck Tomorrow”, “The People I’ve Slept With”), Cathy Shim (Comedy Central’s “Reno 911!”, Fox’s “MADtv”)
Crew includes: Rebecca Hu (line producer) (“Pretty Rosebud”), Chadwick Struck (casting director) (“Outlaws and Angels”, “Mini’s First Time”), Chia-Yu Chen (cinematographer) (Ads for “Coca Cola” and “Hugo Boss”, among others), Jessica Lee (costume designer) (Crackle’s “Sequestered”), Ellen Ho (production coordinator) (“Ktown Cowboys”, “Dilated”), Linda Chi (makeup/hair), Daren Dien (production), Ryan Fung (production)
WHAT: Kickstarter project: Rice on White – Comedy Feature Film
Whether it’s Emma Stone being cast as a quarter-Chinese, quarter-Pacific Islander character or all-American Matt Damon protecting the Great Wall of China, “whitewashing” has been a hot topic lately. We, the filmmakers of Rice on White, are huge movie fans (and big fans of Stone and Damon btw) but we also would like to see a world where Asian-Americans are fairly represented in television and cinema.
Social media outrage and online petitions can be helpful – we’ve participated in our share of both – but we thought it more constructive to be the change we want to see. Rice on White is the result. This is a hilarious mainstream romantic comedy / guy comedy in the same vein as films such as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”, “Knocked Up” and “American Pie” with something you don’t see every day: Asians leading the way instead of being cast as the sidekicks.
WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Thursday, September 29, 2016 (12:00 AM PDT).
There aren’t many mainstream movies with Asian Americans in lead roles or even behind the camera. We hope to change that but in order to do so we need opportunities to convince Hollywood studios that Asian American films can be successful. At the end of the day though, this is a movie, not a political statement. We think we have a funny and entertaining movie starring Asian-Americans that could be a crossover hit popular with audiences from all backgrounds.
Dr. Ken, Season 2, Episode 1: “Allison’s Career Move”
Original airdate September 23, 2016.
What seems to be the problem?
Big changes in season 2:
I’m disappointed, but that Welltopia staff, as much as I like it, felt crowded last season, and I complained multiple times that there wasn’t enough story to go around for everyone. If I were cynical, I’d say of course they got rid of Julie because they weren’t going to lose the black woman or the gay man, but personality-wise, she is the easiest character to lift out, especially with another woman doctor joining the staff.
Allison’s moving to Welltopia also makes it easier to write stories that don’t feel so compartmentalized. I complained last season that we weren’t getting enough of Allison the doctor, and this adjustment will fix that immediately. Next week’s episode is titled “Ken and Allison Share a Patient,” so already we’re seeing some good ideas in this area.
I’m not as thrilled about D.K. moving in, a decision that may have something to do with Allison going to Welltopia. It creates a new dynamic at home for Molly and Dave, but they did that a couple of times last season, and I wasn’t fond of the story ideas, as when D.K. challenges Dave to get into shape.
I have an appointment at 8:30.
I welcome Ken Park and his family back for their second season. Dr. Ken‘s inaugural season was all over the place, but a strong cast and likeable characters, not to mention the R word for an Asian family in network prime time, had me rooting hard on its behalf for another shot. The show had problems, but they were fixable problems, mostly with the writing. Episodes went too easily to zaniness and obvious jokes, but when the writers allowed the comedy to emerge from truthful, believable moments, it had a cast who could stick the landing.
In this episode, Ken is a much better anchor than he was through most of last season. That SAT story with Molly is believable as heck, and when Ken tells his daughter that he’s been there, that’s believable too, and Ken handles it with a gentle aplomb that’s half unexpected. Molly’s worry is understandable, but so is Ken’s compassion, and their scene together in the kitchen is a nice reminder that Molly’s third-generation Asian American experience is different from Ken’s second-generation experience, the kind of thing Dr. Ken handles deftly when it takes the opportunity. Krista Marie Yu’s delivery of the line, “Everything’s always come so easy for me. What if it doesn’t anymore?” is perfect, a small heartbreaking moment a lot of Mollys can relate to. I was so intimidated by the SAT, despite years of practicing for it, that I waited until March of my senior year to take it, long past the application deadlines for all the schools on my bedroom’s College Wall.
Cleared for physical activity.
Parts of this episode feel like that first day of all your college classes, where you get a syllabus and an explanation of the course, but no meaningful content. Yet other parts go right to some nice relationship stuff, the stuff that Dr. Ken does well when it doesn’t take any shortcuts. I’m encouraged by believable plot elements that make the show’s characteristic silliness (Pat’s coffee grinder; Allison’s “Never apologize for candy on a sandwich”) feel more like an accessory, rather than the primary costume. Because there’s a lot here to be encouraged by, I’m giving it a half-point bump: four tongue-depressors out of five.
I caught this Nature’s Bounty television commercial for fish oil while watching I think CNN on a Saturday morning.
I like how this 0:15 second commercial shows the woman’s future self accelerated over time an rewinds back. My mother has taken fish oil in the past, but I’ve always wondered (like vitamins), how much of difference it can make to take such supplements. A quick reading on WebMD:
“Fish oil is FDA approved to lower triglycerides levels, but it is also used for many other conditions. It is most often used for conditions related to the heart and blood system. Some people use fish oil to lower blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Fish oil has also been used for preventing heart disease or stroke, as well as forclogged arteries, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, bypass surgery, heart failure, rapid heartbeat, preventing blood clots, and high blood pressure after a heart transplant.”
Besides the above stated benefits, WebMD goes on to list other health benefits of fish oil.
While looking for this commercial online, I also did come across the 0:30 second version of the ad, which has kind of a funny, but non sequitur moment, where the future older woman tells her younger self –
“Don’t marry Dan,” who turns out to be a creepy white guy. I wonder if this version of the ad airs!
Peter Ho Davies’ latest novel The Fortunes traverses 150 years of Chinese American history through the stories of four characters. Beginning with Ah Ling, biracial servant to railroad baron Charles Crocker in the late nineteenth century, the book moves on to Anna May Wong in the 1930s, then to a friend of Vincent Chin who was murdered in Detroit in 1982, and lastly to a biracial father about to adopt a daughter from China. These four Chinese Americans’ stories are captured in novella-like sections, a broad interpretation of a multi-generational story. Davies neither glamorizes nor castigates any of these historical moments or figures, but rather seeks to complicate his characters. In the process he exposes interracial tensions, commenting on how they fit into society at large, but also personal identity crises and a robust look at what it means to be Chinese American and part (or apart) of a Chinese community.
I’ve blogged about my friend Dr. Sophia Yen in the past. She’s probably the most politically active person I know (and her brother served in Iraq and her mother Sandy Yen was in the Taiwan legislature.)
But by day, she’s not only a doctor but also recently launched her start-up, Pandia Health – “The easiest way to get birth control.” I caught up with her recently to learn more about her startup and her motivations.
John: Today we’re talking with Dr. Sophia Yen, a physician with a passion for making women’s lives better with improved access to birth control and prescription acne medications via her startup PandiaHealth.com
Dr. Yen: Thank you for having me on 8Asians.com! I love sharing my birth control knowledge with people to help prevent unplanned pregnancies.
As Asian Americans, I think many of us have gone under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” regimen about our birth control with our parents. I’m here and happy to answer anyone’s questions about birth control, sexually-transmitted infections, and acne. I hope our generation can be more open with our children.
Why did you start PandiaHealth.com?
Personally, I have voted in every election I recall since graduating from college in the 1990s. I did also vote in college, though it was a bigger challenge since I did study in a different state than where I was registered to vote. Now I am a permanent absentee ballot voter.
I’ve often blogged that it bothers me to no end that eligible Asian Americans are the least to register to vote (50.7%) compared to any demographic group, at least in California.
The term “Asian American” talks about the interaction of two sets of ideas, customs, and traditions, Asian and American. To me, one of the most fascinating instances of this are when two ordinarily distinct notions of Asian and American get mashed up together into something unique, like spam musubi or Korean Taco trucks. Food isn’t the only area where happens – KQED published this story about how an Indian American musician blends Chicago style Blues with Bollywood. Aki Kumar, who came to Silicon Valley to make his fortune as a software engineer, developed a love for the Blues, and began applying that style to the classic Bollywood songs of his youth.
As Congresswoman Judy Chu had mentioned on Day 1 at the AAPI Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) would be represented and speaking on the Convention stage at the convention, which Chu is the chairwoman. This is the first time CAPAC was ever represented on stage at a Democratic Convention (I don’t think there are any Republican members of the House or Senate that are Asian American). The above video is the official video taken and hosted on the Democratic National Convention YouTube page.
I definitely wanted to be at the Wells Fargo Center to witness this historic occasion and traded my daily press pass for a temporary press pass that allowed me to go into the convention floor for an hour to catch this historic moment.
The introductory video highlighted the history of Asian Americans in the U.S., including dark periods such as the era of the Chinese Exclusion Acts as well as the internment of Japanese during World War II and the death of Vincent Chin to today, where more and more Asian Americans are represented in Congress. Then a good number of Congressmen, Congresswomen and Senator Hirono made some brief comments, including why they supported Hillary Clinton for President.
Below is the video and photos I took from the convention floor in a press area:
Author of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and Who We Be, Jeff Chang’s latest book We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation is an incisive series of essays looking at race in America. Drawing on recent events, including Donald Trump, Black Lives Matter, and #oscarssowhite, Chang outlines a contemporary crisis around issues of race, division, and a repeating cycle that needs to be halt. We Gon’ Be Alright is, at its heart, a call to action. But it is also a call for thoughtfulness and an understanding of how we got to where we are. If Who We Be took that history and went deep into it, this latest series of essays takes the current moment and draws it out to explain where we are, the conversations we are having, and the ones we should be having.
Aubergine, a new play written by Julia Cho, opens today at Playwrights Horizons in New York City. Running through October 2, it’s an emotional story about family, death, and food. Ray’s father is home on hospice with his son Ray, a first-generation Korean American chef, who is struggling with how to manage and how to cope. To notify his father’s brother, he calls on his ex-girlfriend Cornelia to tell him in Korean. When his uncle unexpectedly shows up with a soup recipe, Ray is thrown into new challenges–including a live and very expensive turtle, his own relationship with his father and career as a chef, and an uncle who speaks a different language. Rounding out those who care for Ray’s father is Lucien, the hospice worker, who offers his own perspective on death and the dying, and whose lines provide the play’s title.
Full of depth, Aubergine is a quiet play in many ways, yet it is incredibly moving. Cho deftly deals with that most human of events–dying and death–without being heavy handed. And through it all, food, its meaning flooding memories and interactions. I should say too that this is not a depressing play, despite dealing so intimately with death. “Catharsis” is the word Playwrights’ artistic director uses to describe the feeling. I would call it a kind of fullness, the feeling the audience carries out the door with them. Continue Reading »
A survey conducted by New America Media shows that people of color do care about the preservation of public lands. This is confirmed by the fact that Fremont’s Mission Peak is a favorite place for Asian Americans to hike, and its popularity is causing problems. The city of Fremont has decided to place restrictions on parking, leaving certain areas of the neighborhood near the Stanford Avenue trail head available for parking only by residents on weekends and holidays. The affected area is shown within the yellow border in the picture above.
Certain streets are available all the time as are the spots near the Ohlone trail head. Specifically for the weekend, the following are available:
If you look at the comments from our post on the crowding problems, people on both sides of the issue feel pretty strongly, and to no surprise, the Fremont City Council’s decision raised mixed feelings.
Although Number Two Son recently went to Mission Peak with his friends, I wondered if it had become any less popular with Asian Americans since I last wrote about it two years ago. I quickly found a planned Asian American meetup that involved hiking Mission Peak. I’ll have to let my kids know about the parking changes. The resident permit system goes into effect on October 1, 2016.