I was out on a First Date last night and I think maybe the guy was somewhat intimidated by me. (I hope not. But I got that feeling anyhow.) At one point in the conversation he commented, "Wow, you know a lot of people," and my response was that it's my job to.
As someone who's been involved in the Asian American community, I have (over the years) become less shy and more comfortable with networking (schmoozing). I still think of myself as being shy and quiet (like when it comes to "boys"), but when I'm in my "element"... Watch out! I'm a handshaking, Crest smiling, business card exchanging, joke making fool. I think of it as making new friends (because I do end up being friends with a lot of the people I meet in the community).
However, sometimes you meet people in the community and you make nice, just to make nice. You exchange business cards and shoot the shit, but you know (in the back of your head) that most likely nothing will come of it. Case in point, a couple weeks ago I met the publisher of a soon-to-be-released Asian American male magazine. Think the APA male version of Maxim. It's called SAM. I'd been hearing rumors about this magazine coming out, because a friend of mine was interviewed for their "pilot" issue. I was under the impression that the acronym stood for Single Asian Male.
I haven't been happy with the state of hip-hop music lately, Asian American or not. I've been finding solace in my Neil Armstrong mix-CDs, Sweeet, Bittersweeet, and now WarmFuzzy. They are staples in my car and on my iPod.
On Saturday I went with a friend to a hip-hop show. I hadn't been to a show in a while (when you put together parties/shows, ironically you don't have the time to go to others). I saw Black Sheep at the Red Devil Lounge in the city.
Black Sheep was great! I didn't expect to see so many "random" people: Fratboy-looking types and Asians. I felt like an old lady, because I swear the average age in the club was well under 25. I was thinking, How old were these people when "The Choice Is Yours" came out? (At least people knew enough to sing along to the words of "Strobelight Honey.")
Back from Philly!
I actually wasn't very happy with the trip to Philly (in regards to ECAASU). If I wasn't getting reimbursed for my travel expenses, I'd be blowing up the spot and making a stink, but... At least I can express my disappointment. (Due to bad organizing, only two people showed up to the panel that Chris and I spoke on. And there was no traffic for any of the exhibitors during the tabling session.)
But at least my whole three-day weekend wasn't a complete bust. I got some networking done and saw the city. Met folks from Boston, Sacramento, DC, Los Angeles, Minneapolis... I got to drive through the boonies of Pennsylvania, see the Real World Philly house, and play pool with my new Mongolian friend (think big Asian guy with a heavy Russian accent). Oh, and best of all, I had a cheesesteak at Pat's in the South Philly. Lining up to order my food was like a Seinfeld "Soup Nazi" experience. I was so scared of ordering wrong and being told to go to the end of the line to try it again.
My roommate (Melissa, Hyphen's editor in chief) and I used to steal wi-fi from the guys who live upstairs from us. I mean, if people don't password-protect their connections, then why not? But for the past week neither of us has been able to connect to the Internet, and I don't exactly sit in the computer labs at school just to blog, so I apologize for missing my blog days.
So much going on in Hyphen Land (personal drama, scrambling to meet deadlines, events passed and coming up, etc.) Last Thursday I went to the launch party for the 2005 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, and a volunteer (who I recognize as a returner, year after year) chatted me up, saying that he reads the Hyphen blog. He said he liked reading my blogs and I had to admit that I was amazed that people even read the Hyphen blog, much less my entries. (So thanks, Steve!)
Thursday already. Man.
Later this evening I will be in San Jose, speaking on a panel (I think it's hilarious the panel is being called "Man Jose") about dating issues and the Asian American community in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley. Go here for details. As I said before, I don't know how much of a dating or relationship "expert" I am to impart any sort of knowledge upon anyone who's paying for this event... But I'll at least try to make people laugh. I already know that some of my friends will be in attendance to put me on the spot, so I'm prepared.
Sorry whoever's day it is to blog. But this is some important stuff!
After reading a review on Jeff Chang's book in my beloved Entertainment Weekly (they gave him an A-), I emailed him and told him, Hyphen loves the Asian American Male Pop Music Critics (or AAMPMCs: a term coined by Oliver Wang).
Yo, Jeff's book, Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-hop Generation is officially on sale today! Better go get your copy.
When it rains, it pours: These next few weeks will be a shit storm of Hyphen happenings coming your way! This week has been all about relentless e-tag and phone-tag, trying to set up speaking engagements and locking down details for events. (And I'm only talking February, here. March is something else altogether.)
As far as interviews and public speaking go, I've been pretty hands off thus far because I've been so burdened by other publisher duties. Having to sit and prepare talking points and psyche myself out to be on good behavior in public just wasn't a priority in 2004. However, next month I throw caution to the wind and, as one of the leaders of your beloved rag, shall do my share of public speaking. I shall also leave the comfort of my home (default Hyphen office) and party with the kiddies (staff) for a good cause.
Sorry to hooride on your day to blog, Todd, but I couldn't get my airport wireless to connect to the Internet last night. (Sometimes I wish I hadn't done the Mac "switch.")
While I was in San Diego with my extended family for the holidays, my younger cousins hipped me to a "new term" that I hadn't heard before: "Asian Persuasion." It's a "nicer" sounding version of "Yellow Fever," I suppose. (Well, I much prefer it to "Asian-izing" other words like "UrbanizAzn," etc.)
Upon my return home to the Bay Area, I read an email that Big Brother Todd sent me ("Get in touch with your inner Karizma Kapoor!") with a link to this Bollywood "finishing school" type deal, and it made me wonder if my new "obsession" with Bollywood constitutes a "South Asian Persuasion?"
Ah, vacation is almost over. No longer will I be subjected to the horrid radio music my cousins think is "hip-hop" and "dancehall." (Sorry, I don't like Nelly or reggaeton.) I was about to have an Orlando Jones (in Drumline) moment... Sigh.
Did any of you, by chance, get to read Oliver Wang's article about hip-hop and politics in yesterday's SF Bay Guardian? I've been having deja vu all week. After reading Oliver's article, I was nostalgic for the days when wearing my Hip-hop Badge was a big declaration for me. I've been experiencing flashbacks of all the changes that cycled and re-cycled (for me) up til now.
I am still in Southern California (I get a longer "vacation" from Hyphen land just for the fact that spring semester for me doesn't start til January 24th), preparing for my older brother's wedding next weekend. Although I'm still sick, I'm slowly recovering and getting back into Work Mode.
As I've been in the San Diego area the past few weeks, I've been getting to know my way around Bonita, National City, Chula Vista and the Paradise Hills part of San Diego. The first thing any outsider will notice is how Filipino it is here. It makes me wonder if there are more Filipinos here than in Daly City!
This part of San Diego is just as hill-y as Daly City, so the only noticeable difference is that Daly City has rice cooker fog and San Diego has a plethora of tropical greenery (kalamansi, banana and palm trees) that would not survive the Bay Area winters.
I hope everyone had Happy Holidays. I've been enjoying time with my family, even though I've been sick as a dog for the past week and a half. Turns out I had a cold that morphed into strep throat and an ear infection, and I contaminated most of my cousins. (Well, I don't take all the credit. My younger cousin Erika [Hyphen's Issue 5 "presidential candidate"] has been sick; the two of us have wreaked sickness upon the Ednalino cousins.)
I'm still sick, taking bootlegged pharmaceuticals (long story) to kill the bacteria. The hearing in my right ear is muffled and I feel a pain in the back of my head whenever I cough. But, hey, at least I'm not the only one who's sick!
Gross! I have a personal blog and I like to check my Statcounter once in a while, to see who's been reading it. I mostly check to see if I get weird Google (or other search engine) hits. This morning I got a hit for the search "filipina + pinay + asian beaver." Ay naku, bastos talaga! I've gotten other hits for similar searches, but "Asian beaver" downright makes me feel violated.
*Audrey angrily waves a tightly-balled fist in the air* Just because I am the O.G. ManilaSpice does NOT mean I'm down with Filipina online "penpal" or porn sites! HMPH!
Okay. Venting over. Anywaaay.
Last month I signed on to organize the main showcase of Directions in Sound, a three-day music (and music video) showcase presented by the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, for the fifth year in a row. Moreso than Hyphen, Directions in Sound is like my "baby." As I sat down the other day to send out emails soliciting DJs and other talent, I got sidetracked thinking about all the things I did to lead me to this.
I come from a family of Republicans, my older brother included. He and I are so different, it's amazing we come from the same gene pool. When I was a teenager, my brother listened to bad country music (there is good country out there) while I was just getting out of my punk rock phase. He became a Born Again Christian while I was exploring Tibetan Buddhism.
As far as politics go, even in my extended family I am a bit of a black sheep (my younger cousin J, excluded). The week before elections, I was down in Milpitas (for you non-Bay Areans, that is near San Jose) visiting my Auntie Baby (every Filipino has an Auntie Baby). As I was eating my fish and rice, she asked me (excuse the Filipino accent), "Who are you boting por, Kerry or Boose?" I already knew she'd probably go off on some diatribe about Kerry, so I diplomatically said, "I don't know. I never favored either candidate from the start, but I'm definitely not voting for Bush." Auntie Baby gave me a funny look then replied, "I'm going to bote por Boose. Dat Kerry, I don't like hees pace."
After spending six days in San Diego with my extended family for the Thanksgiving Holiday, I have come back obsessed with the musical variety shows that air on The Filipino Channel (or "TFC" for the already initiated). I mentioned TFC variety shows briefly in my post from last week. If my younger cousins didn't have the TV on MTV, Fuse or BET, then my aunties had it on TFC.
I watched so much TFC, I returned to the Bay Area wanting to get TFC at home (Melissa would love that), just so I can immerse myself in Tagalog and maybe learn to speak better by osmosis. Buddha help me, I can't remember the name of the fat, old, gay guy who's supposed to be the Filipino version of Simon from American Idol. (I don't know about you, but if I had to choose between getting a verbal beatdown from some ornery British guy or a Filipino queen, I'd go with Simon. It's hard to argue with a diva.)
But I digress.
First off: I don't mean to intrude on Jennifer's day to blog. I'm a day early, but I doubt I'll have time to blog tomorrow so: Hapa Thanksgiving! (My bad, I mean Happy Turkey Day.)
It's 4:30 AM and I didn't bother with sleep after getting home just before midnight. (I was with other Hyphen staffers, getting our store-front ready at Bay Street in Emeryville, for our gift-wrapping fundraiser). I figured it'd be retarded for me to try and sleep... I still had work to do, emails to send out, packing, and I was taking care of all that up til the moment I drove myself to the airport at 3:40 AM.
So hello from Oakland Airport--again. (I'm sitting next to the check-in kiosk at my gate, and I just saw a rat running around on the floor! Yikes!) I'm headed to San Diego to spend the holiday weekend with my dad and extended Ednalino clan. I hope you all have good, long weekends with your families and/or other loved ones.
Now on to business. Last weekend I went with my good friend T to Fremont to see a Bollywood film, Veer-Zaara. In Fremont there's a theater called Naz8 that screens only South Asian films. (You can eat samosas and drink mango juice while watching your flick!) After seeing a film called Main Hoon Na at the Third I Film Festival two weekends ago, I've developed a slight fangirl obsession with actor Shahrukh Khan (he's sooo dreamy!). (Google him if you don't know who I'm talking about.) When T invited me to Fremont for another chance to see Shahrukh on the big screen, I happily opened up my Saturday afternoon for a three-hour film.
I woke up this morning and two thoughts popped into my head: "It's Daddy's birthday! I need to call him later!" and "Holy-freaking-crap! It's my turn to blog today, but I don't know what to write about."
It's not that I hate this blog; I love reading it and writing for it. It's just that I'm feeling over-Hyphen-ated. Since returning from NYC over a week ago, I've been running on empty trying to stay on top of my final projects for school, and Hyphen. A girl can only do so much when she averages a couple hours of sleep a night, and drinks Red Bull and coffee. One of my professors sent me home from class last week because I fell asleep in the middle of lecture. On Tuesday my doctor told me (though not in these words) that Hyphen has been a "bad boyfriend" for being so demanding.
It sucks that it took being sick for me to get some sleep (and a two-day respite from Hyphen) finally. Much to the chagrin of some friends and my doctor, I've still been working (in bed) on my laptop. So I'm not totally out of the loop:
Now that I've returned to Hyphenland (also known as my apartment [Melissa, Hyphen 's editor, is my roommate) from NYC, I am slowly playing catch-up on emails (both personal and Hyphen-related), voicemail messages, school work (finals!), unpacking, and just life in general.
Lots of love to my friend Anhoni, who forwarded me a link to this site last week. I'm sorry too, but I'd rather get an apology from everyone who voted for Dubya.
While in New York City last week, I hung out with my two best friends who I hadn't seen in months. Sunday night the three of us went to Queens for Filipino food and (after) drank Red Stripes and Irish Car Bombs at a local bar in Brooklyn.
For dinner my friends and I ordered so much food, the restaurant staff (and other patrons) seemed amused that our table was becoming so crowded with entrees; we had to move to a bigger table to accomodate all the food. It was like we hadn't eaten in years, when in fact it was just that Y and I hadn't eaten (homecooked) Filipino food in months. After dinner S requested that we walk up the street a few blocks, to the predominantly South Asian shopping strip off Roosevelt. I made the joke that for dinner Y and I got to be among "our people," and our post-dinner trek (to burn off all the calories) was to see "S's people." We called it a "Third World Connection" -- "brown Asians living side by side in harmony."
As a Filipina who gets mistaken for every other (usually non-Asian) ethnicity but what I really am (you'd be amazed at the totally-off things people have come up with), I don't buy into the stereotype that all Asians look alike. As MC Serch of 3rd Bass (the Gas Face!) said back in the day, "Must've been a white guy who started all that."
A Canadian reporter contacted Melissa and I earlier this week requesting interviews regarding this website. I'd never heard of All Look Same before. Unfortunately I was too busy to answer questions; Melissa was able to oblige. I'm curious (and anxious) to read the article.
On another note, I will be in New York City from tomorrow (later this evening, rather) to Tuesday. My last trip to NYC was when Hyphen had a launch party in Tribeca, at 99 Hudson (last July). I've been itching to visit NYC ever since.
I like to joke that Hyphen is like my boyfriend, because of all the time and passion I invest into helping produce the magazine. Although NYC is (so far) the only major city Hyphen is carried in on the East Coast, our presence there doesn't (yet) seem to have the same impact as in the Bay Area. I'm anxious to meet more people and get the word out about "the man" in my life.
New York City, I want you to meet my new boyfriend!
Last week I was in San Diego for SDAFF's fifth annual film festival. Being a San Franciscan (or more accurately, a "Bay Area-n"), I didn't pack for the sunshine and suffered in my sweater and Triple 5 Soul hoody. (How can I be Filipina when I hate the beach and the sunshine?)
Although my cousins and I missed the sold out screenings of Arahan, A Tale of Two Sisters and Steamboy, I wouldn't say that my Film Festival Mission was a bust. All the free copies I had of Hyphen were gone one hour after setting up my table on the second day of the festival, and my cousins sold subscriptions to their friends!
If you haven't picked up Issue 5 of Hyphen, there's a great must-read for hip-hop lovers: Bay Area writer Jeff Chang discusses his involvement with Solesides (the record label which spawned DJ Shadow, Latyrx and Blackalicious), to working at Russell Simmons' (now defunct) 360hiphop as the politics editor, to writing his own book about hip-hop. As an undergrad I interned at Quannum Projects (the present day reincarnation of Solesides) for a semester, so needless to say, I'm excited for Chang's book (Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-hop Generation) to come out.
It's been a flurry of Hyphen-related emails the past two days.
Amidst the Hyphen chaos, I was finally able to get to personal emails. One of my best friends who is in a graduate program at Columbia University, forwarded me the link to one of her Oberlin connections. I took a quick break and perused the welcomed diversion. I have a new bookmark to add to my daily reading.
Anyone know who Dante Woo is? That Russell Leong quote has piqued my curiosity.
I’m sure only I see the irony here, but before I sat down to blog, I had writer’s block. Then I opened up my (snail) mail and realized what day it is: Today makes it five months to the day since my mom passed away from breast cancer.
In the mail I received an invitation to Hatwalk 2004, a gala benefit presented by the Asian American Cancer Support Network (AACSN). What a great fundraiser! Hatwalk (according to AACSN) “celebrates the value and importance of hats in bringing comfort to cancer patients.” The second annual Hatwalk will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame, CA on Saturday, November 6. Models will “hatwalk” down a runway in hats designed by AACSN volunteers; there will not only be a three-course dinner, but a silent auction and taiko performance. (For more information, key up their website or email: hatwalk2004 [at] aacsn.org)
According to the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training, “Cancer is the #1 cause of death for Asian and Pacific Islander females.” I never bothered to think of cancer in terms of demographics (race or gender). It was (and still is) personal to me because my mom fought cancer for over five years and it was hard to not only watch, but live through with her…and now without her.
Since the day my mom was first diagnosed with cancer, I stupidly continued to smoke my cigarettes. (I started smoking when I found out she was sick; of course I hid the fact that I smoked. My excuse to justify the habit was that it was a “stress reliever.”) Today I vow to quit smoking. I never really stuck to that resolution before--I also never really put too much effort in trying to quit. To commemorate this promise to myself, I am writing a donation check (in an amount bigger than I normally would) to AACSN. I’ll consider it a fraction of the utang na puso (“debt of the heart” in Tagalog) long overdue to Mama.
You have permission to chastise me if you see me light up.