Sunday, October 29, 2006

Tangents, updates and whatnot.

God bless anybody who has a blog and keeps it going. Especially if your blog in one of the many many things you have to keep going. On top of updating blog, upcoming shows, our day jobs, our other side jobs, and the spending of quality time with friends and family that often happens at the end of the day, although it’s always claimed at the top of the priority list. I say this of course in light of the fact that this blog doesn’t get updated not as often as we’d like, and that’s with two of us writing. I’d like to blame it one the broken computer and lack of working camera, but that’s just an excuse. As writers, we should be devoted to this blog, regardless of technological difficulties. But I’d also like to remind you that we’re new to this, so bear with us. I'm never really sure how many people actually read this until I come across the occasional fan who tells me they read it all the time or worse, that letter that asks "how come you haven’t written anything lately?" With that being said, I’ll make this one an extra long blog and hope it makes up for the past week. I have to warn you first, it kind of a tangent. If you’re into short blogs, now is the time to train your eyes to skim.

I’ll start with an intro about intros. This here is my friend Nick. He runs a streetwear brand, Twelvebar, as well as a blog I am also featured on btw) and recently discusses the intros of songs and how they serve as perfect precursors for the rest of the other instruments to join in and follow. I think the same can be said of blogs, as Nick’s blog are enjoyable and always has a great intro. You see, a blog still counts as writing and therefore, like music, is considered a body of work. And a body of work should to have, well, body, supported by a worthy intro that leads readers to. a conclusion, a story to tell. Sorry, but name drops grouped with pictures that aren’t even worth the look (not to mention worth a thousand words) aren’t exactly the distraction we seek in our internet browsing. It’s hard to find blogs these days that are really worth "subscribing" to, you know the ones that you can consistently check up on and the material is worth the read, even if there aren’t major announcements. I’m saying this to anyone who may not understand blogs or why we write about what seems like random things.

The purpose of a blog is simple, it’s a public journal. The "public" part is because whoever the author is has gained such a following in whatever previous work they’ve done before that a blog becomes necessary to let followers/supporters/fans know what’s going on. For some people, the blog is medium for updates, a display of schedule that boasts about how busy they are and the upcoming projects they’re working on. And sometimes that’s all that needed to be said. Then, there’s the "journal" part, the part that means that it’s also personal, therefore you can talk about whatever the hell you want, even if it’s not pertaining to the original thing that created the need for a blog in the first place. Which is why even though we are poets, we can ramble on about other things like Flava Flav episodes, stalker status-like crushes on MC/Producers (Cool Calm Pete is actually Korean, not Chinese like I had previously thought). There are things going on in our lives besides "poetry" that we’d like to talk about. We are humans, we are complex. We are consistently changing our minds on what we feel is particularly interesting or important today. But we are also poets, we draw our inspirations from what’s around us. How we process our creative efforts remains the same, it's how we outlet it that's different.

Politics influence current events, which in turn influences music; music in turn, influences fashion, and so on and so forth. Going back to Nick, I asked him why he named his brand Twelvebar, and he told me that music influences everything, and in music the measurement is always in twelve bars. It makes so much sense. Remember when fashion magazines used to just be fashion magazines? Now they’re lifestyle magazines, and they cover everything from make-up to food to religion . Models who used to be the only ones to grace the covers now share the spotlight with actresses and singers, because it was obvious that we didn’t want to read about somebody we didn’t have very much going on except a pretty face. We’re no longer the monotonous human beings we used to be.

Blogging is also an important tool because communication is the basis for everything that happens. We get our info as a result of communication. We get our inspiration as a result of communication. We get everything done as a result of communication. Sometimes when things coincide, we say that the world is small, but honestly it’s just connected through communication. I mention this because I have to mention another friend, Vaughn, who also writes his own blog,

In this mirror self-portrait, Vaughn is holding up a copy of Prequel, of which he is also a staff writer. Vaughn is a new friend, I "met" him just a little while ago (I say "met" because he lives in Cali, on the west coast so we haven’t physically met, but we talk all the time via the interweb) although he knew of me from before because he saw the Def Poetry episode that Michelle and I were on. See, connection through communication. Vaughn recently wrote a list of creative folks who inspire him and he put Yellow Rage 4th in his order, talking about our work with Beau Sia and even compared us to Mobb Deep. The funny thing is that he also put, the magazine that I write for, 5th on the list, and made note of that coincidence. Yep, more communication connections. I’m sure if he’s changed it since I saw it last week but originally he wrote my name as Catzuella, my alter ego. Haha, can't escape that Freudian slip.

Well I just wanted to throw that "intro" in there because you, the reader, our fans and firm supporters, keep us connected. So now the moment you’ve been waiting for... Updates!!!

The show at the Asian Arts Initiative was awesome, and we were so glad to be apart of an amazing line up and remember performing in that space for the very last time. Thanks to Phil, Taiyo, Regir, Omar, Florence and everybody who came out. Unfortunately, neither me nor Michelle could take any pictures (unless she secretly has and is waiting to upload them a month later, just kidding M) and because the house was so packed, all of our friends' pictures came out kinda blurry, so you’ll just have to depend on my words to paint the pictures. Asian’s Misbehavin’, made up by Dan Kim, Anula Shetty and Michelle did such an amazing job curating the show with absolutely no tech run-throughs. The highlight of the show was the finale skit, Joy Cock Club in which Regie and Omar play bickering mother and daughter over bukkake. Oh did they have me in the corner in a hyena-like hyperventilating after-laugh. In case you have never seen it, it’s one the very things my writing can do no justice for but if I could try to describe it it’s a spoof of the Joy Luck Club based on porn. If you don’t know what bukkake is, you’re gonna have to look that up, buddy.

The only pictures I managed to dig up are from going out after the show, you know, the afterparty...

It’s obvious the ladies love Taiyo. No, seriously, I’ve gotten so many questions about who the acoustic soul singer was. The funniest thing I heard all night was that Taiyo was married and had a kid. Yep, somebody confused him for Dennis from I was Born With Two Tongues/Typical Cats.

This here is DJ Phillee Blunt and he never likes to make nice faces when he's pictured with me. Phil is our resident show DJ and he's also a member of the Ill Vibe Collective. If you ever see their name on a flyer, you should go to their events. Real classic stuff.

Next week, we join our long time no see buddy Giles Li coming all the way from Beantown for Sulu Series in Brooklyn.

Yes, he is also another smooth and acoustic poet. Sorry ladies, he’s married. But you can probably come see Taiyo because he’ll be there with Regie, who both run the Series every first Sunday of the month. Peep the flyer:

Yes, that's is Mr. Sulu from Star Trek. A+ for you if you already knew that.

Last but not least I have to give a shout out to my best friend Anwar who turns 25 today. Happy Birthday Homie. Tonight he's having a 90's theme party to celebrate. I’m going as Mary J. Blige and he's going as Biggie. I wonder if anybody will show up in finger waves.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Upcoming Show: SULU SERIES on Nov. 5

SULU SERIES @ Galapagos Arts Space


Us, of course

Jay Legaspi/

Vinh Hua/


Giles Li/

Jason Joseph/

and more!

70 North 6th Street between Kent and Wythe Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211.
Take the L Train to Bedford
$3-5 suggested

Hosted by Regie Cabico, curated by Taiyo Na, with music by DJ Boo.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More pics from Ileto Event

I know I'm hella late with these pics, but I'm busy-busy. I will do my best to post up pics every week and keep these entries updated. First, here are more pics from the Ileto commemoration event in LA, which we did back on Sept. 21.

The event was held at the Japanese American National Museum--what a beautiful space.

And of course I liked it even better when I saw its current exhibit:

Yeah!--100% hapa, baby! Anyway, by the time we got to the space, the event had already started. Folks from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center spoke and the Ileto family addressed those attending the event. These were followed by panel discussions with youth from all around the LA area. Middle school and high school students were bussed in to participate, and I had a chance to take a few pictures. When I was in the audience, the students were talking about racism in their communities--for example, one Chicano youth was talking about prejudiced feelings members of his community have for black people. Most expressed concern that if such feelings of racism weren't dealt with within our own communities when it's directed towards others, then we wouldn't be able to stop racism when it's being directed towards ourselves.

After the panel discussion were the performances. Happily, one of the other artists was Kristina Wong--she's sooo craaazy! If you've never seen her, she's a very funny theatrical artist who does a lot of comedic monologues or sketches. Her work explores edgy or controversial issues by making the audience laugh at things that maybe they wouldn't normally. In a provocative way, Kristina reminds us that we are are complicitous in continuing racism, discrimination, exploitation even if we don't recognize it. For the Ileto event, Kristina wrote a new piece in which she explored the whole concept and so-called practice of racial harmony or unity in the U.S. She did this by donning an 80's type work-out garb and analyzing the song "We are the World"--and if it really represented or initiated inclusiveness and racial harmony. What I like about Kristina's work is that she always manages to flip the message so that, in this case, she asserts that "We are the World" has not only become a parody of itself--a joke unto itself--but also has provided a vehicle for hate to perpetuate. By the time we reach the end of her piece, she has reminded us that the melody from "We are the World" was used for the famously hateful "Tsunami Song." Her work is really deep and if ever have the chance to check her out, you should do so. Here are a couple of pics I took of her performance. Sorry I couldn't get the slide show of the "We are the World" video to come out clearly.

OK, my late-ass has to get to work now, so I'll have more next week.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Friday!!! The Other Side!!!

Tomorrow, or today depending on how often you read this (talking to you, Ross) or how fucked up the internet is, is our very last performance in the space Yellow Rage met and started, the Asian Arts Initiative. We're very very excite to honor and commemorate the "Inish" along with our friends and extended fam. Unfortunately, my stupid computer has crashed yet again, so I will be without technology for a week and a half. The good news is that writing creatively can go back to its raw form of just hand scribbling. The bad news is that I can't update anything on the interweb. That being said, I can only do so much while I'm at work so I'll just leave you with a Myspace bulletin that my dear friend Anwar aka Weezy wrote to promote the show...

Weezy Endorses Yellow Rage:

"Years back ago I met a angry little Asian girl. She was more angry than I was, and she knew "Oye, listen AIDS is a killer!" That meant she was cool and she understood Kensington Spanish Rap (this is pre-reggaeton mind you). but before she was the curly head in the middle of me and pheak's domes and all of that other stuff she mentioned (if you're on her friend list, you know what i mean). she had aai...

This Friday, my poet laureate Catzie Vilay"jawn"and Michelle Myers who make up Yellow Rage are saying goodbye to the place that they got their start, The Asian Arts Initiative which will be closing its doors. I hear it's gonna be a little bit of Def Poetry Jam, Yellow Rage first and latest release, and that silly shit Catzie does that even I know she didn't plan. The info is below and you can check out more about Yellow Rage and their socially conscious, politically charged, and in your face you ignorant bastard poetry. Even the Panthers rolled with Yellow Peril (yup, look it up), right on *pumps fist*. Yellow Rage Myspace Page"

Gotta love your friends, especially when they come up with their own words to promote your shit. A fuller description is posted below. See you at the Inish.

- Catzie

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Our very last show at AAI's original space...

I thought this blog called for a poem...

Before I wrote blogs to keep you updated on me
Before I had “stalkers” write blogs to keep me updated on them
Before I realized how much I liked writing
Before you even knew that side of me
Before being cast as the love interest in neo-soul videos,
Before I was available on DVD
Before I was available on On-Demand
Before I was on reruns
Before I watched the episode with my mom
Before I saw myself on a commercial
Before I taped for HBO DEF Poetry
Before I opened for Dave Chappelle
Before I was told by Mos Def to the audience that I was dope,
Before being molested by Mos Def backstage,
Before the eyes of my boyfriend, no less
Before my first standing ovation
Before I knew I even had mic skills
Before all that…

I had the Asian Arts Initiative.

The Asian Arts Initiative, or what I affectionately call "The Inish" is where Michelle and I met and performed our very first poem "Im a Woman Not A Flava" together. We perform for the very last time in that space this Friday. Come through.

The Other Side
Asian Arts Initiative
1315 Cherry St, 2nd Fl
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Friday, Oct. 20th, 8:00-10:00

(as part of the Gilbert Building Celebration)
Admission: $5 for Asian Arts Initiative members, $10 for general admission

The Other Side***: Like the dark side of the moon, there's another side to Asian American culture that is never seen, but is there, nonetheless. Join us for our last ever show at the very place we got our start at the Asian Arts Initiave with a dope ass line up of fellow spoken word poets Taiyo, and Rodney Camarce; singer/songwriters Gary San Angel and Florence Yoo; spoken word poets/playwrights Regie Cabico and Omar Telan; hip hop/breakdancer Jeff Cylkowski; sketch writer/comedian Dan Kim; and filmmaker/writer Anula Shetty. Oh yeah, Mr. DJ Phillee Blunt will be killin it on the turntables.

*** Part of the the Gilbert Building Celebration which will be held from 5-to-10 p.m. on Friday, October 20 at 1315 Cherry St. to commemorate the arts organizations and individual artists that have transformed the Gilbert Building into a thriving arts center and an anchor within Philadelphia’s arts and culture scene. The evening’s activities will feature open artist studios and gallery exhibitions, food, music in addition to the cabaret performance by ensemble Asians Misbehavin stated above,’ as part of the Center City District and Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance/ You heard that? We're part of the Philly Fun Guide!

This building-wide celebration highlights the work of Asian Arts Initiative, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Highwire Gallery, the Institute for Arts in Education, Vox Populi, and more than two dozen individual artists before the tenants are relocated as a result of the pending Convention Center expansion.

A brief presentation will acknowledge the organizations and individuals who have contributed to the Gilbert Building throughout its history; as well as a preview of the vision for the shared arts facility being developed by the Asian Arts Initiative, artists and organizations as a future home.

Hope to see you all there. Peace.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Remembering Joseph Ileto and Pics


I'm soooo behind getting these pictures up from our trip to LA and Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago. I have lots of pics, though, and will probably post them as separate groupings. First, I'm going to put up pictures from the "Joseph Ileto Hate Crimes Prevention Event: Building Peace in our Communities and Campuses," which was held at the Japanese American National Museum in LA.

I didn't get to take many pictures b/c Catzie and I were too busy rehearsing. But I was able to get some of the banners that people and orgs signed with messages honoring Joseph Ileto and the Ileto family. And we'd definitely like to thank the Iletos for all the wonderful and brave work that they do raising awareness about hate crimes and the need for cross-cultural understanding. Thanks also to Yun-Sook Kim Navarre and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center for inviting us out to be part of this important event. Big ups to Kristina Wong and Bambu along with John Eric Concordia and the rest of the guys.

Oh yeah, btw: the celebrity I'm most frequently told I look like is . . . Michelle Branch. Right--maybe after I lose about 15-20lbs of pregnancy weight!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


My friend Nikki recently introduced me to this thing "Celebrity Face Recognition" on this site Its and tells you what celebrities you look like, or... er, what celebrities look like you. Nikki, who is white (I dont know what her ethnic background is, but to me looks like some kind of Greek-Italian goddess) surprisingly was told she looked like Alicia Keys most (78%) when she pouted her lips and she crimped her hair she looked like Sammi Cheng (90%, what!!!). The funny thing is when she's pouty lipped she's also "multi-racially Asian" because Mariah Carey, Gong Li, Namie Amuro and Celina Jaitley (she's Indian) were also in there, but when she's crimped (and 90% Asian) she only has one other bit of color via Beyonce while everyone else is well, white.

After many years of being told I look like people I dont ever believed I resembled, like Sandra Bullock, Kimora Lee Simmons, Amerie, and Kelis to name few I was really curious to see if my own sense of self-perception was distorted from what other people saw. I was really hoping I could prove these people wrong. So I posted up two pictures of myself (I would've used Michelle's but... you know how that goes) one without bangs and one with. Taking cue from Nikki, I purposely put different pictures to see who I looked like and if it would be as dramatically different as hers. Take a look for yourself -

Apparently I look alot like Lacey Chabert, the actress who used to play the young girl on Party of Five. I only have two Asian women, Aya Matsuura and Sammi Cheng I resemble. Nobody has ever told me I look like Charlize Theron, or even Ashley Olsen. What the hell?

And for some reason, I am more Asian with my bangs. I also look like a man. Yeah, that is very comforting. Sure I got a little Hally Berry in me, but look at all these Asians, I don't know any of them. Except for Keanu Reeves. Okay so is very racially equal and open to Asian people and includes them as opposed to our our close-minded American perception of who's important and popular. But I didnt want to be told I look like Asian men, no not really.

This is what I get for putting my hand in Pandora's Box, a electro-techno virtual box that like is unconfirmed in research by nothing. This is like the time when me and my ex-boyfriend Low (who is Laotian like me) took pictures of ourselves to see what our kid might look like and he came out looking like some nerd. He didnt' even look Laotian, everyone I showed it to said he looked Korean, whatever that means. Not saying that Koreans look nerdy, not saying that at all - aw I dont know what Im saying. Im just saying this thing was dumb fun and nothing reliable or predictory. If you have a couple minutes because that sucker also makes you register, try it out and see what race of celebrities you look like most.

Im gonna pluck my eyeborws some more and attempt to change my appearance, and learn how to take better pictures. Which reminds me, I have to find more updated pictures for the site, ahem.