Powerleegirl Hosts Miko Lee & Jalena Keane-Lee, a mother daughter team continue to celebrate Asian-American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander heritage month. They speak about the annual United States of Asian-America festival with artist/curator Yeu Q Nguyen. Miko also chats with Marissa Macayan from Kapwa Gardens. They also chat with each other about what AANHPI heritage month means to them.
Show Transcripts AANHPI 2023 part 2
[00:00:00] Opening: Asian Pacific expression. Unity and cultural coverage, music and calendar revisions influences Asian Pacific Islander. It’s time to get on board. The Apex Express. Good evening. You’re tuned in to Apex Express.
[00:00:18] Jalena Keane-Lee: We’re bringing you an Asian American Pacific Islander view from the Bay and around the world. We are your hosts, Miko Lee and Jalena Keane-lee the powerlee girls, a mother daughter team, Happy Asian-American native Hawaiian Pacific Islander heritage month. And welcome to another special episode of apex express. This is the power league girls. I’m Jalena Keane-Lee, and I’m Miko Lee. We’re a mother-daughter duo talking today about Asian American native Hawaiian Pacific Islander heritage month, and all of the amazing events that you can experience and some really great shows and movies that you can watch too.
Once again, we meet with artists and activists who are telling stories about R a N H P I experience in different ways. Today we speak about the annual United States of Asian-America festival with artists you queue. When about the multidisciplinary art exhibition, Jade wave rising portraits of power and Marissa Macayan from kapwa gardens. Who’s hosting yum yams. The Uber meets matcha festival. This Saturday. Yum. And we chat with each other about a N H P I heritage month and what it means to us.
So every year, the Asian Pacific Islander cultural center hosts, this big event called the United States of Asian America. And it’s basically a month long festival where all these different arts groups get to perform and there’s food and there’s museums and there’s dance and there’s theater. And we interviewed a couple of the folks.
What did you learn about it?
I think, you know, as we mentioned in Part one of our, a. And HPI history month, special it’s such a special year because it’s the first year that so many of these events are happening in person. Again. since pre 2020 since pre COVID. So I think, you know, our community.
Is really needing to come together for joy and celebration. And it’s a really exciting time to do that. there’s so many really cool events and of course we’ll have them linked in our show notes. But one thing that caught my eye is king Lotus boys performing. Who’s a AAPI drag king, shout out to our queer and trans a N H P eyes. And so that should be a really fun performance. And I believe that king Lotus boy is also doing some different workshops this month, too.
That’s right. And then F no tech that we interviewed and Donia dance and the south Asian history, walking tour, also all part of this festival. And like you were saying, this is the first time since the start of the pandemic, that a lot of these events are happening in person. And that’s why the theme this year is so resonant. It’s re-imagining horizons. So they’re really talking about how do we reimagine the future? How do we question, how do we make changes so that we can rediscover and reconstruct our future selves? So I think that’s actually a great, huge topic. It’s such a big topic and thinking also about.
How. Shaping and determining what we want for our collective and generative future is a content negotiation of the past and present. And I think it’s so wonderful to get to explore that through art, through dance, through all these different, , you know, celebrations and means of being, and also so intergenerationally, like we spoke.
, with different artists that are from all different generations and same with, this event, there are some bay area artists who have been in the game for 40 50 years. And some that are really new that are young people that are just kinda starting out on their, you know, artistic journey and.
Reshaping reclaiming or re-imagining their identity. And I also really like that this year, they’re really thinking about solidarity with our BIPOC communities, because part of re-imagining, our future has to be how we work together. And I love that it’s centering artists because artists are built with this ability to imagine and think differently about the world.
And that’s something we really need right now. So encouraging folks to show up to the United States of Asian America events happening all throughout this month. And. Any type of art form you’re interested in, you can get involved and you can check it out. , and next we’re going to hear an interview with actually one of the kickoffs of the festival. It actually already opened last week. And that is the show jade waves rising which is a multimedia production which will be fun to be able to see so check that One out
Next up Mika chats with Marissa McKeon from CAPA gardens about the upcoming Uber meets Mascia festival.
[00:04:46] Marissa Macayan: Hi. Thank you Miko. This is so fun.
[00:04:48] Miko Lee: So you are a dancer and also the manager at Kawa Gardens. Can you talk to us about Cultivate Labs and Kapa Gardens?
[00:04:57] Marissa Macayan: Yes, absolutely. Cultivate Labs. We’re a nonprofit organization and we are focused on economic development, and we’re also an arts organization, so we’re reviving our cultural districts and preserving har our heritages and really uplifting and trying to create a thriving commercial corridor for historically overlooked communities.
Right now our focus is on Soma Filipinos, our historical Filipino cultural district in San Francisco. I’m so happy to join you. I am joined by my two-year-old Mayri so you may hear her pop in.
[00:05:32] Miko Lee: We love having young people on the show because we’re also talking about family events where people could bring their young folks, so that seems appropriate.
[00:05:41] Marissa Macayan: Absolutely. And honestly, co gardens is a space where we do encourage everyone in the community to really come by and enjoy. Bring your families, bring your aunties, bring your grandparents and really come and enjoy the space.
Kale Gardens is a physical space. We’re a community garden. We’re located on Mission Street in the heart of Selma, and we host a lot of community events, community marketplace events and. We also host private events, but we are a temporary project. So we were our former parking lot turned into a beautiful outside garden oasis.
We opened when we were still pretty just beginning the recovery from Covid in San Francisco. , we opened in April of 2021, so we were still very. Restricted in the number of attendees we could have in the garden. And since then it’s just been a really powerful place for the community to gather, to do different culturally focused programs and to continue to provide placemaking for our entrepreneurs, for our artists, for our partner community groups to be able to gather safely.
For many reasons, being outdoor, being safer for covid reasons and also it being a beautiful space. I do encourage everybody to check this out online and come through to in person to one of our events. But also we are still very much dealing with Asian hate. In the community. And so again, just being a place of healing and being a place that our community can gather and feel safe doing
[00:07:19] Miko Lee: so. As you mentioned, Kawa Gardens is located on Mission Street, an old parking lot that’s turned into an art space that has a stage and has beautiful murals all around. I’ve been lucky enough to go there for multiple events and I think in before you’ve hosted the United States of Asian America, and you’re also hosting an upcoming event called Yum Yams. Can you tell us about it?
[00:07:43] Marissa Macayan: Yes. Yum. Yams, this is our fourth. Iteration of this event. And we learned at our very first yum yams event that we really had something going on. This is an UBE festival, an all things UBE festival. So we’ve done it three times and each time it’s just gotten a little bigger and bigger.
And this year we are partnering with our friends at Coho which is another arts focus group from Japan Town. And we’re joining forces and it’ll be yum. Yams, UBE meets matcha. So it’ll be a really fun event. It’s coming up May 13th and may is also a a p i Heritage month. or
[00:08:25] Miko Lee: Tell us what a person will find when they like uba. They like maa. What happens when they walk into KAA Gardens? What will they see at this Yum Yams?
[00:08:36] Marissa Macayan: Yum Yams is going to feature both a mix of MAA vendors and UBA vendors. We have retail vendors from both Filipino entrepreneurs, Japanese. And Japanese American entrepreneurs and other Asian identifying entrepreneurs. It’s going to be a super fun vibrant, delicious. I can’t wait to just smell yum yams because I think it’s gonna be full of a ton of delicious treats and full of a lot of Asian vendors and just amazing Asian flavors for the day. So that’s why you can come and see and experience and taste and smell at Kale Gardens on May 13th.
[00:09:21] Miko Lee: UBE Festival, yum yas, that’s happening. What else is happening at Couple Gardens for a p I Heritage month?
[00:09:30] Marissa Macayan: We are also, hosting cam Fest and AP are hosting an event the day after Yum yums actually. It’s gonna be a beautiful showcase. There will be some film screenings, there will be some live performance. So we also have that going on in May. And then soon thereafter we’ll be celebrating June 10th, our Be Free festival celebrating. Filipino independence and creativity and liberation. , that is very close to our kahan, which is our Filipino independence Day, which is typically on June 12th. We’ll be celebrating at the garden on June 10th. And
[00:10:10] Miko Lee: that’s a five block celebration, right?
[00:10:13] Marissa Macayan: Yes. That one is going to be in partnership. With a few other organizations that are based in Soma, and it’ll just be a really great event for Soma residents to come out and have all these things happening in their backyard, but to also really attract other folks into the cultural district, into Soma. Filipinos is the Filipino historical district in San Francisco.
[00:10:40] Miko Lee: Marissa. Tell us why it’s important to highlight this district.
[00:10:45] Marissa Macayan: Oh, for so many reasons. But Soma, it’s, it really has such a beautiful, rich history. That involves a lot of the monologues and the monologues that came in that kind of the first popular waves of our diaspora. The Filipinos have been in Selma for many years. And it’s important for folks to, to really remember that history and how much influence the Filipino community has brought into the city of San Francisco. I think a lot of people recognize other. Areas of the city the mission with the Latinx community or Chinatown or north Beach, right? All of these areas you can see Italian owned businesses or Chinese owned businesses, or in Japan town, Japanese owned businesses. And Soma has an interesting history, as do a lot of our other Areas of the city. But really is really committed to increasing the number of Filipino owned businesses and the representation of Filipino growing entrepreneurs into the cultural district.
So the significance of the district is that I think that some people are really surprised to learn about the history, and so I think it’s important that. Kind of combat that erasure that has been experienced and really tell the stories that have really impacted this vibrant community.
And that we’re still there. Filipinos are still residing there and creating there. And that even folks who. Don’t actually live in the cultural district, that they can go and experience the culture through events like we host with Cultivate Labs.
[00:12:39] Miko Lee: Thank you. Okay. I’m gonna ask Marissa, are you a bunch of rapid fire a P i questions? First thing that comes to your mind, just say it out loud. Favorite Asian food?
[00:12:49] Marissa Macayan: Noodles.
[00:12:50] Miko: Fruit. Favorite fruit?
[00:12:52] Marissa Macayan: Oh. Mango.
[00:12:54] Miko Lee: Favorite a p i musician?
[00:12:56] Marissa Macayan: I’m gonna go with her.
[00:12:58] Miko Lee: Ancestor activist
[00:13:00] Marissa Macayan: Yuri Kochiyama.
[00:13:02] Miko Lee: Thank you. Okay. Aside from you, this amazing festival that you’re doing, yum. Yams and the other events from apic, what is your recommendation for folks to discover during a P I month?
[00:13:14] Marissa Macayan: There, there’s so much to like going on in the city. There’s, I’m sure there’s still a lot of digital events we have going on. Honestly, just pick one and and really make the time to support Asian artists. Make the time to support Asian owned businesses, make the time to even if it’s online but make the time to really recognize the beautiful work that’s coming out in the community. And support subscribe, share.
There’s just a lot. There is there is a complete renaissance I feel like right now in Asian American creatives. Maybe it’s because of this digital age. Maybe it’s just because we’re representing ourselves and the algorithm is finally recognizing some of our work. But I think folks can participate in so many ways and it’s really just important that we even represent in our own dinner tables, having conversations around how we can continue to create community and continue to uplift. The Asian community. That’s really, that’s all.
[00:14:24] Miko Lee: I love that. Thank you so much for joining us on Apex Express, Marissa Macan,
[00:14:29] Marissa Macayan: thank you so much.
Coming up next, listen to, Hey, bulldog by Fanny way before the BTS army or pinkies, there was the Fannie’s this all female rock band wrote resistance lyrics in the seventies. Fannie started as a way for two queer Filipino sisters to make friends in a Sacramento high school and turned into the first all women band to release an LP with a major record label.
Fanny, the right to rock is a documentary film on the band, which is at campus this month. And we heard from the curator. Curator of campus and part one in r a n h p i Special
Welcome back. You’re tuned in to an apex express special for a N H P I heritage month on 94.1 KPFA and 89.3 KPF. Be in Berkeley 88.1. KFCF in Fresno and 97.5 K 2 4 8. BR in Santa Cruz. And [email protected]. That was Hable dog by Fanny.
[00:16:47] Miko Lee: Welcome to Apex Express artist and curator. You win. We’re so happy to have you here on Apex.
[00:16:53] Q Nguyen: Thank you, Miko. Thank you for having me. I’m happy to be here.
[00:16:57] Miko Lee: So you are in town, you’re based in la, but you are an amazing artist who is up in town for Jade Waves rising. Can you tell us about this portraits of Power exhibition?
[00:17:09] Q Nguyen: Yeah, so this exhibition actually came about after many years of deliberation on my part and over a year of collaboration with the Asian American Woman Artist Association in San Francisco to hone our vision for the show. I think this is a show that I’ve always wanted to do ever since I.
Kind of started my journey as a professional artist, so I’m beyond joyous, that we finally made it happen and it is opened and available for the public to see
[00:17:46] Miko Lee: and tell us what this work consists of.
[00:17:49] Q Nguyen: So this exhibition for me as curator, my goal for this exhibition is to explore and celebrate the many ways in which Asian women artists have embodied and manifested their own version of power in their creative and community work.
So in this show, you will see. A vast and diverse range of artistic medium from literary to ceramics, to printmaking to installation, interactive work. We really runs a whole gammit. So you will not be disappointed by the arrays of work that you’ll get to see.
[00:18:35] Miko Lee: And can you tell me a little bit more about where the inspiration for the title Jade Waves Rising? What does Jade signify to you?
[00:18:44] Q Nguyen: This show came about After a series of many conversation, so the Asian Women Artists Association are AWOL for short. We have a monthly member like studio visit every month. And we would sit and kind of discuss like what has been going on in our mind as an artist.
And for some reason, I think in January, 2022, we came about to speak of power because it came . At the point where a lot of us felt fed up with the with the represent, with the representation of Asian women as helpless victims. And we were also felt very limited by the depiction of powerful Asian woman in popular culture and media.
And so we started talking more about this concept and after that I had a conversation with the managing director Dana Lee, and Melanie Avina, the artistic director of awol. And I share my notes. What I’ve kept for years about like power and kind of my idea for an exhibition.
And at the end of the conversation, We all realized that we need to have this show. And this show is leading up to Awas 35th anniversary, which is next year 2024. And they have a tradition where the pick the a gemstone for the year and it’s happened to be Jade. And for me Jade is very special.
Number one, like Jade has actually has many different colors, not just green, have many different shades of green. And for me it’s a perfect metaphor to the many forms that power can take. It is also a gemstone that is often found in items of power like the crown daggers, a jewelry and things like that.
So I really felt like this is appropriate. And also I think for folks for Asian folks, we have a lot of meanings associated with Jade. Personally for me my jade pendant. Is one of the only thing I have of my grandmother who passed away during the war. So I actually never got to meet her.
So it came about. That’s why we have Jade Wave Rising and we decide on one Wave because we really wanna emphasize the collective power of women when we come together. The portrait of power is really means portrayal of power Again, like we wanted to highlight Hidden Figures in Asian community.
And at the same time, we also want to leave it up to the artist to feel free to portray maybe also concepts of power itself what the power looks like in form and aesthetic. So that’s how the title came about.
[00:21:42] Miko Lee: And speaking of powerful leaders, can you also talk about the altar that you have that’s a part of the exhibit?
[00:21:49] Q Nguyen: So this is something very special. So twin was neuro company. We, when we decided to have an altar, it was for us a very special thing because it’s really connected with Asian culture the honoring of our ancestor. And ki and asking for their protection of the living. So we, I, as an artist, I’m really interested in incorporating or modernizing traditional rituals into our daily lives.
And I think it’s a way of connecting us to our past. And so in this way, we wanted to honor women who have contributed a lot to the community. And at the same time, inspire people to think about what we can do now to continue their legacy. So the mu and the mural people is actually interactive.
Folks are encouraged to actually spend some time in front of the mural and to actually write down on prayer papers their hopes and wishes for the living. And we will have a ceremony at the closing reception to Ashley Bees’ prayers. And the
[00:23:02] Miko Lee: closing reception is, can you talk a little bit more about when that will be and where the show runs?
[00:23:07] Q Nguyen: The show is up right now and it will run until May 21st. And at the closing reception, we’ll also have a film screening. We’ll have the prayer burn, the, we’ll have the prayer. Paper burning ceremony. I will also have a another ceremony particular to the installation of Wave and Stone, which is a special commission that I made to anchor the themes of Jay Rising.
[00:23:37] Miko Lee: And very exciting that at that closing, you’ll also show Mil Manila Town Manang, a documentary about artist Jeanette Lasam. It’s very exciting. Who is one of the original I hotel folks? I have a piece of her artwork hanging in my house, so that’s very exciting. That, that will be at your closing too. Can you talk to me more about you as an artist? Let’s go back in time. Tell me about the very first piece of art you created that spoke to, you could go back to when you were a tiny kid, or what’s the first piece that you really remember that you said this is my piece, and why did it speak to you?
[00:24:12] Q Nguyen: I think the piece that meant the most to me, Right now when I think about it is actually an altar piece I made for my grandparents whom I never knew it. I created these piece in 2018. At the moment when I decided that I’m gonna give myself. To my art. I’ve always been creating art is I’ve always been a part of my life.
My first job after high school was as a portrait artist in a theme park. However, I just realized I didn’t have much to say. I was 19. I was still really trying to figure out myself, and it wasn’t until much later that I realized that I wanted to use my art to heal what has been broken. And for me it’s at that point I was trying to connect with my identity.
I was born Vietnam. I move and I immigrated to the US when I was a teenager. And I try so hard to be accepted as an American. And it was almost like I was hating the part of myself that was Vietnamese, that was a third world immigrant. I feel very ashamed of that. And it really didn’t do me any good because I could never be the person that I thought people wanted me to be.
And I decided to just be who I am. But who is that? And I decided to connect it more with my identity and I decided to go back to my ancestor, my grandparents and I began asking . My mother, my uncles and aunts, to tell me about their stories, who they were, where we came from, and from that I created the altars for them so I could have this link to my identity in America.
And the piece were exhibited at the Archery Southwest Museum. And my mom was able to come to the US and came to the exhibition and I watched her reaction to it as seeing her own mom. It’s making me very emotional to think of that moment because that was a moment when I realized there’s so much power in art. In healing my own wounds, but also in inspiring other to talk about their own lives and heal through that as well. So the people who came, started speaking about their identity, their relationship with their mothers and grandmothers.
So that was a piece that kind of started me on this journey of using my works to heal by Using art , as a gateway to get people to open themselves up and be vulnerable and be authentic.
[00:26:58] Miko Lee: Thank you for sharing that. That sounds very powerful. I’d love you to connect that to your recent project that’s actually still up in Santa Monica, your High Hopes project.
[00:27:10] Q Nguyen: I started working with Hope during the pandemic when I was feeling really hopeless about the future of the world, where we’re gonna be, what’s my life is gonna be like as an artist and as a person. And I realized that I must not be the only person who feels this way. And I started to reach out to people and ask them, Hey, How do you find hope?
In, in challenging time, especially to my mom and family, friends elders whom I know have survived unspeakable war tragedies and trauma, and everyone’s gave me pretty much the same answer of it’s different for everyone and it changes from moment to moment.
So you just have to find that out for yourself and practice it day by day. And I didn’t wanna do it alone, so I decided, you know what? I’m gonna get out there. I’m gonna start this ritual and this collective practice together of finding hope together. I. And I actually started doing that. I had a hope tapestry that I take from town to town to ask who to contribute their own definition of hope.
And that led me to propose a project to the city of Santa Monica. And over 200 of us came together. Each of us contributed a hope flag, which is inspired by the Tibetan pre flag tradition. They’re all strung up and actually hung at the Meadows overlooked structure at Tonga Park in Santa Monica.
And the idea is that the installation will stay up until the flags are faded, which mean that all the prayers and hopes and wishes on the flags will have been heard. And. Assimilated into the wind air and has blessed the surrounding space.
[00:29:00] Miko Lee: That sounds beautiful. I’m looking forward to seeing that the next time I’m in la. So what is next for uq?
[00:29:07] Q Nguyen: So right now I just found out that I will have my second show in San Francisco. I’m not sure if I can review detail about it yet but it’s gonna happen in October. And It’s taking place at the Moscone Center with actually some of the artists that are currently showing in Jve Rising. So I’m super excited about it to come back to San Francisco and continue to connect with the community here.
[00:29:35] Miko Lee: Okay, excellent. Looking forward to finding out more about that secret project in the future. Now I’m gonna ask you some rapid fire questions for a P I heritage month. What is your favorite a P i Food
[00:29:48] Q Nguyen: Ramen.
[00:29:50] Miko Lee: What about favorite a p fruit
[00:29:52] Q Nguyen: Passion fruit? Yummy.
[00:29:55] Miko Lee: What about favorite A P I musician?
[00:29:57] Q Nguyen: The first thing that came to my is Yo-yo Ma.
[00:30:00] Miko Lee: Okay. That’s good. Favorite A P I film or TV show?
[00:30:04] Q Nguyen: Oh, easy. Everything everywhere, all at once.
[00:30:08] Miko Lee: Oh good. Yeah. Love it. Me too. Favorite A P I artist.
[00:30:12] Q Nguyen: Oh, goodness. Oh, so hard. I have 20 artists in my mind right now and I. Just go to Jay Foy, rising Portraits of Power, and I dare to guess which one is my favorite.
[00:30:25] Miko Lee: Oh, great answer. Okay, last question. Favorite ancestor activist.
[00:30:31] Q Nguyen: The first name that came to mind is the name that we discussed last night’s opening is Gracely Bog. And yeah, that’s a, but the first name that came to mind.
[00:30:43] Miko Lee: Great. Thank you so much. Aside from your amazing festival that you have produced, what is your recommendation for folks to discover during a p I Heritage month?
[00:30:54] Q Nguyen: I think for me, being authentic about my experience and in speaking to folk is a way of self-education. When I do this show, it’s a way to self-educate myself about a p I heritage that even I was unaware of. So I think a lot of time like we. We only think about the surface.
And we tend to go into direction of, oh, this is what I’ve known. So I’m just gonna go further along in researching that path. I think it’s really important during this heritage, if you like, for me if you like noodles, maybe try like a, an a p i food that didn’t know about or trying to find something unfamiliar. And mis mystical and almost like something that you think that you don’t like about a p A culture and research is a little deeper. I think it’s really important to do that because I find that for me, I try to not think of a p a culture is homogenous. I think that we have a lot of diversity even within our community, and I like to do that.
I like to find out the, maybe the subculture within a p I culture that I don’t know about. So that would be my my take on, or this is what I will do during A P I heritage month is trying to find something that surprises me to widen like my knowledge of my own identity.
[00:32:28] Miko Lee: Cheers. Two surprises and learning about new things.
[00:32:33] Q Nguyen: I think a thing that I really something that I really want to say is this. Every single time I do a show, I’ve always finished with a sense of deep gratitude. And this deep gratitude extends beyond the immediate folks who help put the show together. Extend beyond my immediate family, who’ve supported me in every way possible. This extend to my community. Of a P i members whom I’ve made contact with, or and whom I’ve yet to know, but also to life itself.
I think during the past years in particular with a anti-Asian hate and violence, a lot of time we can give into outrage and sorrow. I think the best way to really. Get out of that and remind ourself of our power within is to really feel like grateful to what we have and who has come into our lives and shaped who we are.
And in that space, we can find power and joy and kind of some deep understanding and compassion. From which we can create and make positive change in our life and in our community. It sounds so corny. And I don’t mean to dismiss any trauma that we might have experienced. I think they’re very real.
But in a way, everything kind of shape who we are. And I truly believe that we are more resilient, more creative, and kinder. Because of what have happened to us in life. And I really think that anything is thrown at us personally and as a community we can choose to respond to it with gratitude, with love.
And from that, I think we will become stronger together. We are never alone, and that is really one thing I really want people to take away from looking at art, experiencing art. And during A P I Heritage month, know that you are not alone. There’s always somewhere who understand exactly how you feel.
Maybe they don’t have the same background, the exact same circumstance, but there’s something that connect us. And as a survivor myself as an immigrant myself who have felt very alone and helpless, I think that’s something very important. If you feel alone, get out there, see some art, and let it connect you to others who feel the exact same way as you do, and then together make a difference in the world because there’s power inherent in each of us, and that power is magnified when we come together.
[00:35:36] Miko Lee: Thank you so much. That’s it. Thank you so much Q for joining us on Apex express.
[00:35:42] Q Nguyen: Thank you, Miko for this opportunity. I really appreciate that too. Be able to pull my heart out. .
Coming up is Fanny’s girls on the road, the Fanny band documentary juxtaposes an intimate cinema verite journey of Fannie’s uphill battle to complete and release their new album. With a fascinating history of the bands in probable journey during the seventies heyday. Shit. Coming up is Fanny’s girls on the road, the Fanny band documentary juxtaposes an intimate cinema verite journey of Fannie’s uphill battle to complete and release their new album with the fascinating history of the band’s improbable journey during their seventies, heyday.
And it’s at campus on May 19th. And it’s at camp Fest on May 19th, followed by a reunion free concert on May 20th at 1:00 PM at your point of gardens. And there’ll be joined by other artists like Rocky Obara. Next up enjoy girls on the road by
That was girls on the road by Fanny. And again, you can check out their documentary on May 19th at camp Fest. One important way that everyone can celebrate a N H P I history month. Both our own community and allies is to get a free bystander intervention training. Although we’ve been in this country since 1843 anti-Asian and anti-Asian American and xenophobic harassment continues to rise across the United States.
What better way to take action and show your support to the AA. And H p I community than to join one of the free virtual workshops co-sponsored by asian americans advancing justice southern california and right to be we’ll put a link in our show notes about how you can access the trainings
So right to be offers these amazing trainings, both for witnesses of an incident of harm, or if you are a victim of, um, of a harmful situation. And it’s really great. It’s online. I’ve been through the training and I’ve recommended it to many people and they give really clear instructions for what to do, like how important it is. If you see something happening to go stand by somebody or talk with them or diffuse the situation. And they give really concrete examples for folks so that you don’t just sit by because a lot of studies show that people just think somebody else is going to deal with that.
And they don’t do anything at all. And so what bystanders training or a right to be teaches is that you have to be the one to stand up, whether that’s, you. , being harmed yourself or other people around you. And so they offer really concrete tools. And when it comes down to it, whether it’s anti AAPI hate crime, or just any other sort of hate crime, whether it’s racialized violence or just someone kind of popping off this happens. And it was just such a part of the way that we live these days. So it’s always good to have that preparation ahead of time so that you can feel like you know, what to do and how to respond in those situations.
How long has the training, have you done it? Yeah, I’ve done it. I D I did a couple of times. I recommended it to multiple people. It’s just about an hour, I think. And it’s really clear there’s concrete actions you can take. And I think because we’re living in a time where mental health is such a scarcity and our system has broken down for a lot of folks.
There are so many volatile situations out in the streets. And so this is a great training to really provide people with tools that they can utilize. So while we’re talking so much about culture and art and all the beautiful things you can do in storytelling, we also want to be talking about what is important to protect yourself and to protect others in the community.
Yes. Very true.
But also, as we discussed with all of our guests, especially in the wake of these past few years of so much trauma and pain and hurt, it’s also really important this month to celebrate joy and creativity and fun and entertainment. Yeah. Sure on the note of entertainment, what are some of the fun? A N H P I.
Shows movies, books, things that you’ve been watching or looking forward to watching. Well, if you loved everything everywhere, all at once, like I did, I love that movie. You can see a bunch of the same cast, including Michelle. Yo. And cue. And I think Stephanie Shu, even, I think she has. In the new gene Luann, Young’s amazing graphic, novel American born Chinese. And that is pretty much it’s adapted into a TV show.
It’s a TV show. It’s a multi-part TV show, right? Yeah. Series. And on May 24th on Disney plus, and we know it’s going to be amazing. We’re going to do a separate interview with those creators behind that. And gene we’ve interviewed before because his graphic novel was really groundbreaking. So we’re really excited. I’m excited to see you excited.
Got it for that too. And it, it has a lot of different, , myths and like Chinese mythology in it. Right? Yeah. It’s about the monkey king and which is something both I grew up with. My grandpa used to take me to Chinatown San Francisco to see the monkey king series you performed as the monkey king.
At Oakland. , at. The children’s very led for a whole year. You were a character of the monkey came. So I feel like that’s, it’s part of our ethos, that, that trickster character, that fun adventure. And yet gene talks about being, you know what we say, ABC and American born Chinese. So what does it mean to be, a kid who has this.
, third culture background. , also American born Chinese is directed by destined Daniel Cretan who directed Shang Chi. And it looks like it’s also directed by Lucy Lu. So I’m excited about that. And then I have not seen, but I’m looking forward to seeing polite society. I’ve heard. From lots of peeps that I work with, how amazing it is.
So tell me about polite society because you are the one that said, I really want to go see this. And we haven’t seen it yet. So what.
Society is a feature movie. It’s. I believe written and directed by Nita Mazor. And it premiered at Sundance this year, 2023. And it’s just, it came out at the end of April. , and it’s playing all over the place right now. And it’s about an Indian American family and this girl who’s training to be a stunt woman. , and she believes that her sister has been like kidnapped by this evil family and kind of evil mother-in-law and is being entrapped into marriage. And it looks really funny and just really great.
And I’m really excited to go see it. And a bunch of people have said that it’s really amazing. Is it fantastical? I mean, are they going into different, , times or is it contemporary? I think it’s contemporary. Okay. Can’t wait to see it. , and then you also just told me about the power. So you tell me about what you know about the power, because I know the amazing book by Naomi alderman, which is really looks at misogyny and young women kind of embracing their power is such a quick and amazing feminist read.
The power is a new series that’s currently out. And I think releasing every week on prime and it’s starring Ali crevasse. So that’s how I found out about it. , cause I’ll Lee is starring in it. I didn’t know about the novel personally. But it seems like I also haven’t seen the power, but now I want to see it. And it seems like a really cool series just about, these young
teenage girls getting this big power and how that changes the overall power dynamics of society. And Lee for those that don’t know was the original Molana and she was a, that was her first film. And she was discovered when she was really young in Hawaii. Yeah. The voice of Milana and she’s, , native Hawaiian.
And then Nico Yoga is also in it. And what’s he known for? He’s a skateboarder. I believe he was in that series, Betty, which is on HBO max. And he’s been in a bunch of other films, a lot of the, kind of like teen, teen tween, teen angsty. The movies. Yeah, but he’s like a Japanese American skateboarder.
Ah, fun heartthrob. Potentially. One of the TV shows we’ve been watching is Alaska daily on Hulu, which the kind of star actor is Hilary Swank. But it’s set in, Alaska and there’s, , Intuit folks as leads. And the writing on that show is so amazing. And it’s about missing and murdered indigenous women.
But set in a newspaper. And the real star of that show is grace dove, who plays Roz, who is an Alaska native woman who is really leading this, , Investigative report about, , a woman who was killed and Alaska native woman who was killed. And she went. Fuck. Yes. And she works with Hilary Swank, , to do that.
, investigation. I haven’t heard most people talking about it, but I think it actually is really, , I really well done show
but I actually am surprised at how good the writing is on that show. I really one it’s about, you know, power and corruption and newspapers and investigative reporting. And then it’s an ABC show. So it’s pretty amazing that.
A show that’s so explicitly about missing and murdered indigenous women and even has, you know, calls to action and resources. At the end of each episode is playing on network TV. And it’s a very diverse cast. A lot of the staff at the newspaper are folks of color. So it’s actually quite lovely to see. Hulu who has a lot of good shows right now, featuring a N H P I talent. , another one that we’ve been liking is the company you keep, which is starring Katherine Haina Kim. And it’s about a Washington DC.
All these three families that are all kind of mixed up in like different business and half therein. , Catherine Haina Kim is the CR is the lead. She is, , the daughter of a Korean family who are in politics, James cyto and then, Milo Ventimiglia. He is part of this, , criminal family con family on.
Men family and his it’s like his parents and his sister and his sister’s daughter is deaf. And so the whole family signs, which is really cool. I love that part. And then there’s another like organized crime family and it’s all the three families kind of intermix. Family is Irish, but with a Colombian daughter,
And yeah, that’s, it’s very entertaining and , it’s fun that the Asian family is like the institutional, , Politics DC family. Yeah, the old school political family. And I actually love watching, cooking things. It’s actually one of those things that actually brings me joy. I am not a great cook, but I love watching people cook.
And one of the things is, , Tasty’s making it big, which is on Hulu with Elvin, Joe. And he is a YouTube dude that had, Does all these videos on tasty and now he has his own show where he basically makes gigantic things. So they’ll say , oh, corn dogs are great. And so then he’ll make like the world’s largest corn dog and it’s just absurd.
It’s just absurd, but it’s fun. And I like watching it. And then the other is this new show called relish, which is on PBS. And this is the union mung kitchen from, , Minnesota. And this is chef, , VAR. Vang. And he basically meets all these different types of chefs from the Midwest and learns about like tortillas from one family and learns about all different kinds of foods. So also I just love seeing among chef, at the center and the star of that show.
, and then the last is the restaurants at the end of the world was chef Kristen Kish. Have you seen that shift? Yeah, I really liked that one. Kristen Kish. She’s awesome. She’s so cute. Yeah. She’s so smart and this, she finds wacky restaurants in like weirdo places. And I had really extreme locations where you have to take boats and hike and just get to these really remote spaces. And then also they don’t have a lot of access to.
Grocery store or, the kind of more traditional ways that you get food. So I really like the very farm to table elements, but it’s like, oh, they have to go out and fish and see what kind of fish they can get. And that determines. What the menu is, or like they don’t have an oven, so they have to use like a, a brick oven. And it’s very bougie. Like they’re very super bougie because all these restaurants are for like the 1%.
Because I think they’re like Michelin star restaurants. They’re very fancy and the kind of food that they’re creating is also very out of the box and fancy cuisine. It’s very, very cuisine, but it’s really cool to get a window into that kind of world. Yeah. And she’s fun to watch. She’s funny because as she goes on these different adventures, including like scoop, it’s a thing in the ice to get things and hiking through the mountains, you just get a little adventure. You just got to get over the whole bougie side because it is super for the super, super wealthy.
So it’s definitely not. And definitely it’s not one where you’re going to cook it at home. That’s for sure. Right. But it is very fun to watch and, , gorgeous landscapes. Like the places that these restaurants are, are phenomenally stunning. So it kind of has like a chef’s table element. I think it also is by not geo national geographic.
It is. Yeah. There’s like this whole kind of adventure and remote element to it. As gorgeous scenery, travel a vision board. If you will. This is a documentary that just came out on May 2nd available on HBO max, which is a thousand percent me growing up mixed. And this is the new documentary from w Kamau bell.
And it’s about. Our local Berkeley guy. Exactly. And it’s about, being of multiple ethnicities and you know, that experience and what that’s like, and Jyoti Singh, who we interviewed on part one of this special, , her kids are featured in it. Yes. And she introduced me to the word Belinda and I love it. That her family is.
Black and Indian, and they talk about that experience. So you could see Jyoti and bongos kids talking about. Their experience of being mixed and they do such amazing job of raising their kids in both their cultures. I mean, they literally have a dance company that does . Indian dance and African drumming. So their kids are raised seriously within that culture.
That’s really cool. , the other thing is, you know, I am a big fan of TechTalk. I love my TechTalk. And one of the things I like is watching this, um, This Tik TOK, Hawaiian plant person. And basically she it’s called LA Lima Hawaii, and she produces all these really short videos where she talks about indigenous plants to Hawaii. And she’ll show the plant. And she’ll talk about the history and just do a little bit about.
, where that plant comes from and what the mythology is around it. And to me, that’s just fun. It’s like a little suit Mitt of native Hawaiian culture in life. That’s awesome. And if you, our listeners have any recommendations . On different, a N H P I shows or movies that you really like are interested in. Please let us know. Cause we always love to watch.
Okay. The other like pop culture thing that I’m kind of excited about, kind of embarrassed to say, and kind of excited. Is that Barbie? Yes. Barbie is releasing an anime Wong doll. Wow. And this is the first time ever. And for those of you that don’t know, Anna May Wong was our first like Asian American, truly kind of star. She had a TV show. She was in many, many movies at the time. She didn’t get to play all the parts she wanted to, but she made a really big impact on cinema.
And she couldn’t play all the parts that she wanted to because there was a law that you couldn’t have interracial romance shown on movies or TV. So there were certain roles that. Basically had to be cast in yellow face because she wasn’t allowed to play them because she’d be playing opposite someone white and there couldn’t be someone nonwhite and white.
, seen kissing at that time. And even if they, even if the characters were supposed to be Asian, like in the good earth, instead of giving her the part as she was the lead Chinese actor at the time they gave the part to Katherine Hepburn. And then also cast a white guy to play another Chinese guy so that they could kiss. It’s just ridiculous.
And at the height of her career, where’s she, was playing made, she was playing prostitutes. She was playing all these other roles. And so in, instead of taking more roles like that, she said, forget it. And she left and went to China.
And made her own documentary in China about what it felt like going home after making all these movies. So I really liked how she kind of built her own narrative and wanted to tell her own story, but now Barbie is doing it and they’re doing it with actually her niece. She never had kids of her own.
And so her niece actually helped the brand develop the whole . Look. Of the Barbie. And when is that coming out or is it already out? It’s out May 1st for, for this month for heritage month. Wow. That’s exciting. So lastly, let’s talk about some of our, rapid-fire a NHPI question. Okay. What’s your favorite food?
I think today it is, , kimchi fried rice. Mine is chashu about and strawberry mochi. And favorite fruit. Mango mango. Yeah, no question mango. Whatever book. I, my favorite book of all time is actually not Asian American. , but it’s a Mallory book and it’s called the bone people. But then recently my favorite book that is by an Asian-American is crying and H Bart, what about you? Oh, crying and HR is really good.
, woman warrior is one of my favorites. Oh, gee book. Yeah, for sure.
Musician. Mine is her or Ruby Abara. Ooh, I think those are mine too. I really love her and Ruby Obara and then also shout out to my friends, raise our Goza, who is a phenomenal musician who is native American and Japanese and Hollis long-wear who is Chinese American and white. Oh, And Rena Rena.
Oh, Rena saw. Yama. Yes, Rena. So yeah, I really liked. She’s amazing. Film or TV show minds, everything everywhere. All at once. I can’t think of a TV show, but movie is definitely everything everywhere. All was. Mine changes day-to-day but I did really like Menotti and parasite. What about artist?
, I recently went to now Shima island in Japan. So right now, favorite Asian artists I can think of is Yaya. Kusama. Oh, I do love her work. For me, my favorite, a N H P I artists changes every day and today it would be Ruth Asawa because I’m thinking a lot about weaving and how she weaved these beautiful baskets out of wire. And she really transformed how we think about sculpture. So I love her, the SOA.
Who’s your favorite ancestor activist. , this changes every day too, but I really feel like I always, always most often think of quotes from Grace Lee Boggs. I was thinking Gracely Boggs too, but I also one. But also Yuri Kochiyama, and just thinking about how radical she was up until the very end and how she would be in her nineties coming to all these community events and still being just as sharp and just as radical and refusing to take anything from anyone. And I really admire that.
I feel like a gift that we have of doing this show is so many of the elder activists that we’ve been able to interview that are still out there making changes.
, really utilizing their voice to invigorate the next generation. So I’m thankful that we get to talk to those people and learn from them constantly. Me too. And what a great time, what a great month to celebrate. So happy Asian American native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander month. And thank you so much for joining us. Please check out our website, kpfa.org to find out more about these events and our guests. We thank all you listeners out there. Keep resisting, keep organizing, keep creating and sharing your visions with the world.
Your voices are important. Apex expresses a proud member of acre Asian Americans for civil rights and equality. A network of progressive AAPI groups. Find out [email protected].
Apex express is produced by Mikko li that’s me Paige Chung, Swati RIAA, som Vita preteen mangala checar Natan, he and Wynn angelina keenly have a great day