Monday, November 17, 2008

AAI Living Archives website launch

For much of this year, I have been serving as Project Coordinator for the Asian Arts Initiative's Living Archives project (aka the Oral History project). This past Friday was the official launch for the website and I hope you all will check it out and read some of the excerpts from the interviews we conducted with 15 amazing artists about their work and addressing social justice issues (I'm included! Not to say that I'm "amazing" or anything--just that I'm included :])

The project coincides with AAI's 15-year Anniversary and is designed to celebrate the Inish and recognize all of the ways in which the organization has been instrumental in connecting artists to communities and facilitating social change.

The 15 artists interviewed are David Acosta, Tomie Arai, Pallabi Chakravorty, Ananya Chatterjea, Phally Chroy, Yalini Dream, Khanh Le, Magda Martinez, Michelle Myers, Alison Roh Park, Ju-Yeon Ryu, Shivaani Selvaraj, Eliseo Art Silva, Lena Sze, and Anu Yadav.

You can visit the Living Archives website through this link.

Peace and love always,

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Doin' it big in Bmore

Do I rave about my students enough? Not nearly. So here's more: Halloween weekend me and my CCP homie, English Prof Leslye Friedberg, took several students with us to Baltimore to give a presentation at the Community College Humanities Association Eastern Division Conference. They/we were repping the Spoken Word Poetry Club and the CAP Literary Magazine. They shared some poems and conversed with the profs in the audience, who in turn called the students "inspiring." That they are.

So that's all of us in the photo above. We just don't know what to do with ourselves, we're so cute. Anyway. from left to right, seated: Stephen, me, Steve, Kim, Leslye, Rell. And standing above us all, Lindo.

Things to remember: Phillies parade, shrimp trio (aka Rell's appetite), dinner conversation (aka guys who don't show emotion and prejudging people), we-know-you're-cold-as-hell-in-that-costume, sexy GPS voices, $10 open mics (WTF!), ghetto-geekin', deep anti-love poems, flinging pens, cabs that won't stop for black men at midnight, "What the fuck do you mean you don't know where the Sheraton is?", Sheraton lobby, tense elevator rides, PIG cops, Lindo "breaks bread" with Rell (WTF?!), sleeping habits, B-harbor, Flying Kings, Time flies . . .

Special thanks to Leslye and the CAP Literary Magazine, and Matthew Shupp in Student Life for making this trip possible. You two are the best.

Peace and love always,

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

PhiLL-Literacy, Part II

So, me being absent-minded and just generally stressed out last Friday when iLL-Literacy was in Philly, I forgot to bring my camera with me to CCP, so I missed out taking some good pics of the crew and my students. But I made sure that I had it with me that night for the Swarthmore show.

Me and my daughter Myong--and later Lindo (from my Spoken Word Poetry Club)--hung out on the balcony to watch the show. I got some cool overhead shots.

As you can see, they fuckin ROCKED IT OUT! And Myong loved them--she actually stayed awake until midnight, so you know she was really impressed.

This was my first time meeting Dahlak and Nico. It was great to see the whole crew and the Hi-Lifes were just amazing, too. Special thanks to Ruby, Adriel, Dahlak, and Nico for taking time out of their busy tour to visit Community College of Philadelphia. Thanks to all my students and Leslye for busting their asses to get the word out in 2 days and pull together a great crowd for a Friday afternoon.

Peace and love always,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Phill-Literacy! Part I

Last weekend, our homes from Cali, Ill-Literacy made a stop to Philly on their extended East Coast Tour, along with their full live band The Hi-Lifes. They arrived tired and hungry late Thursday night so I took them to eat where else, Chinatown.

From left to right, half of Dahlak's face, Ruby, Tazika (Did I spell that wrong? Sorry), and Sam aka Scoot.
I took them to David's Mai Lai Wah because they could account for a table of 10, plus they have these bomb-ass salt and pepper chicken wings which Adriel and Dahlak are tearing up (Dahlak, as you can see doesn't like getting his pic taken during eating, hence the middle finger).

And then all the Asians - Adriel, Me, Chris aka DJ Flow and Ruby - posing with our Tsingtao Beers. We were supposed to go a secret Q-Tip concert at Trocadero but by the time we were done eating dinner the longs had extebnded well beyond our waiting capability. So we went Karaoke singing around the corner at Yakatori Boy. Belwo is our squeezed elevator picture, that's Chris the bass player on the left, you know everyone else already.

Karaoke was fun, we'll just leave it at that. The Ill crew had a long day ahead of them anyway.

Here's Nico the next day at CCP, along with Michelle's poetry club students, getting them a intro worthy of an opening. See what happens when nobody wants to sit up front?

Ruby was busy holding down the merchandise table...

and gave me my very own signed and autographed copy of her book Miss Universe! Check out her intervview with me on 215, if you get a chance.

Dahlak's turn to incite the crowd, from the other side of the room. These guys make full use of their space don't they?

After their amazingly inspirational show, it's down to business - signing autographs!

Not to mention, group picture time! This is where I made them say "Phill-Literacy". Yeah so original, I know, leave me alone.

Last time Adriel was here I took his to Denise Soul Food truck at 30th Street. He was jonesing for it again, so I had to treat 'em to another trip to the tasty pink truck.

While we waited for our orders, Ruby and Tazika got down to business right there on the sidewalk. Literally.

Tazika ordered an all veggie meal, which I didn;t even know you could do - rice and beans, greens and sweet potatoes, yummy.

I ordered the fried catfish, mac and cheese and potato salad. All I can say was Hollerrrrrrrrrrr.

Nico and Adriel exchanged their plates up front. And where was the High Lifes this whole time?

getting a good ol' cheesesteak down at Campo's in Old City, of course! That's OJ the drummer in the far left, btw. See I always make sure my peeps get fed right. Anyway this is where my camera battery died. Adriel has a photo-journal of his own Philly adventures that you can see here, and Ruby put up pictures I took on her camera on her blog here. To see the conclusion of the Swarthmore Show from the balcony section, Michelle's uploading those soon.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

REFUEL THE VOTE: Yellow Rage at UMCP, 11/8

Yes, the celebration is on but that doesn't mean the fight is over. Rush Limbaugh was on a rampage today, and some conservatives are vowing to make us all sorry . . . Yes, hatred is a powerfully gnawing and hungry thing in some people.

That being said, this means we need to mobilize and solidify this progressive movement towards positive change more than ever. And in beginning to do our part, Catzie and I will be addressing APIA voter apathy and motivating our community to be up on important issues specific to APIAs and for the country at-large. This Sat, Nov 8, we will be serving as Keynote Speakers at the F.U.E.L. (Forging Understanding Empowering Leadership) Conference sponsored by the Asian American Student Union at University of Maryland, College Park. The theme of the conference is "Refuel the Vote: Keep the Fire Going."

We will be speaking/performing in the Benjamin Banneker Rm, STAMP Student Union on UMCP's campus at 11:30 am.

Hope to see some of you there.

One love,

It's a Celebration Bitches!

In honor of Barack Hussein Obama's Presidential Election celebration, and the welcoming of our friends from the Bay, super spoken word group Ill-Literacy to Philly this week, I'm posting this video of Dahlak's track Black Genius from his forthcoming mixtape dropping next week. The video was put together by Adam Cain. You can download the track off the Ill-Literacy's site where you can also find details of where they're performing next.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Todays the day.

and here's a little Hollywood reminder why it's important you vote, all fancy futuristicly stylish and whatnot...

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