MUSIC MONDAY: When a Prodigy Grows Up

Violinist Midori Goto debuted as an 11 year-old, having been selected by conductor Zubin Mehta to perform with the New York Philharmonic in 1982. She gained further legendary status three years later when she played through two instances of violin strings breaking during a Tanglewood concert with Leonard Bernstein conducting. The New York Times reported…

HISTORICAL NOTE: One Week to One Month in May, Every Year

In 1977, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii introduced a resolution [S.J.Res.72] in the U.S. Senate that proposed the idea of celebrating “Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week” during the first 10 days of May. A similar resolution [H.J.Res.540] was also introduced by Congressman Frank Horton of New York in the House of Representatives. Both resolutions did not…

FOODIE FRIDAY: Of cabbages and YouTube queens

Emily Kim, also known for her YouTube persona “Maangchi” (Korean for “hammer”), has now attracted over 1 million subscribers to her cooking channel. Since 2007, Kim has been producing videos that showed how to cook traditional Korean dishes. She has also published her book on how to cook real Korean food. Before her career as…

MEDIA MIX: Stories from emerging communities

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas is crowdfunding for a new media platform “EmergingUS” and making his appeal: “It’s time to hear new stories. Challenge old narratives. Help us tell our story, all of us”. [EmerginUS / YouTube] This is #EmergingUS–the emerging American identity Vargas wrote for the Washington Post, a member of the staff…

NOTABLE ESSAYS: On Solidarity, Invisibility, and Satire

Racial and ethnic identity politics make for difficult conversations these days. Quick and sharp responses to offensive language in the media are multiplied and repeated, then  become trending topics in brief social media outbursts. These eruptions, unfortunately, offer more heat than light. Except for these three recent essays: [Huffington Post] How Do Asian Americans Advocate…

IN BUSINESS: Portable power from the sun

NBC News, via its NBC Asian America channel, is featuring start-ups in the new business series “Self-Starters.” The series highlights stories of entrepreneurs pursuing their paths to attain the proverbial American dream. The current episode “GigaWatt” shows CEOs Deep Patel and Harold Tan describe their products — portable solar energy solutions that power devices in…

MUSIC MONDAY: L.A., the Devil, and other love songs

Singer and songwriter Connie Lim has a direct and spare style that gives her contemporary songs emotional clarity. The Los Angeles-based musician hasn’t gained much nationwide attention, but she has been producing an impressive range of songs that include alternative pop ballads, covers, smooth soul, and more recent indietronic rock. The following music videos feature…

CINEMA SUNDAY: Daughters & Mothers

Based on Amy Tan’s novel and directed by Wayne Wang, “The Joy Luck Club” movie reveals the difficult and sometimes violent life stories that underlie the conflicts between mothers and daughters. In the movie, memories of the mothers’ past lives in China intersect with the  modern-day experiences of their Chinese American daughters. The multiple emotions…

NEWS ROUNDUP: Refugees and history, communities and politics

This week, USA Today has a report on the state of former refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia who were resettled in the U.S. after the Vietnam War. The successful adaptation by this refugee community to their new lives in America depended greatly on the organizations that sponsored them and the support services available in…

FOODIE FRIDAY: Gastronomy and Irony

After some Asian American writers protested the publication of his latest New Yorker poem, “Have They Run Out of Provinces Yet?,” humorist Calvin Trillin had to defend his doggerel as just satire of the “food-obsessed bourgeoisie,” not racist verse. Trillin’s offending poem starts out with a complaint: “Have they run out of provinces yet? If…

FEATURED VIDEO: Speaking of race

A New York Times Opinion Documentary piece “A Conversation With Asians on Race” by Geeta Gandbhir and Michèle Stephenson presents a dozen Asian Americans’ views on race. The short interviews cover personal experiences with racial stereotypes (not just outside but also within the diverse Asian American community). Their stories include encounters with early racism in childhood,…

MUSIC MONDAY: Dancing with a Young, Gifted, and Brown Soul

Joe Bataan’s music career, which peaked in the late 1960’s, experienced a recent resurgence after he was featured in a 2015 indie documentary “We Like It Like That.” The movie showed his pioneering role in the development of “Latin Boogaloo” a mixture of Latin dance music with rhythm and blues soul, that was a precursor…