Cynthia Brothers is from Seattle and has recently worked as a grantmaker in the immigrant rights and civic engagement fields, with the AAPI online organizing group 18 Million Rising, and with pro-migrant arts and culture group CultureStrike. She's also paid the rent as a mental health researcher, public benefits outreach worker, and espresso flunky. She's performed with the Tribes Project in the U.S., Mexico, and South Africa, and in addition to Hyphen, has been published in the International Examiner and Mavin Magazine. Cynthia first got mixed up with Hyphen by covering the 2008 New York Asian American Film Festival. She's also blogged at www.bicoastalbitchin.com.
Heads up for Back to the Homeland, an engaging (and free!) community event in Seattle next Tuesday. Special guests Refugee Nation will preview a theater project based on the oral histories of Laotian refugees and their descendants. Student performances, spoken word, and a film screening will also be featured.
Legacies of War, one of the sponsoring organizations, does incredible work using art, community organizing and dialogue to raise awareness about the history of bombings in Laos. They provide a space to heal the wounds of war and advocate for the removal of unexploded bombs. From 1964 to 1973, Laos was the most heavily bombed country in the world, with the United States dropping over two million tons. Check out Legacies' online journal for a compelling account of their recent trip to meet with Laotian villagers affected by cluster bombs and build partnerships with NGOs and government.
My buddy Danny Katz informed me about this upcoming show in NYC. Danny and his fellow Sensitive Guys with Guitars -- Jay Legaspi, WonderMarq, John Violago and John-Flor Sisante -- will be presenting a night of "pure sensitivity and magic," with all proceeds benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Gearing Up Internet Literacy and Access for Students. The latter provides Internet connectivity to public schools in the Philippines.
For our New York readers: on December 8th, playwright David Henry Hwang will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, as part of the 11th Annual Asian American Literary Awards. Hwang will be reunited with actor B.D. Wong ("Law and Order") for a special reading and conversation. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Hwang's influential and Tony Award-winning "M.Butterfly", in which B.D. Wong made his Broadway debut and also won a Tony.
"M.Butterfly" seems to be required reading in every college AsianAm and ethnic lit course. Here's your chance to witness two groundbreakers come together again, rub elbows and carouse at the VIP reception, and then brag to all your poorly-read, uncouth friends.
Welcome back to Hyphen's Dollar Store Finds feature! For this week's installment, I went treasure hunting at the aptly named "A Dollar Store" in NYC's Chinatown. And was not disappointed. Observe and marvel, gentle readers:
I definitely had a WTF moment when I came upon this gem in the "school supplies" section, next to the innovatively spelled "Brattz" and "Barby" journals. Not too sure why Moms would want to send her kiddie off to school with a soft porn notebook (or as my own moms pronounces it, "the prawns"), but whatever keeps Junior attendant to his studies, I guess. And it even comes with a pen! I can't wait to bust this out at the next staff meeting.
If you can manage to tear yourself away from "Gossip Girl" re-runs, I suggest watching something worthwhile this weekend. On Sunday, Asian America TV will broadcast a roundtable discussion on the impact of the economic crisis on Asian Pacific Americans on NYC-TV (Channel 25) from 7:30 - 8:30pm.
"Asian America" is a weekly PBS-syndicated program that has featured a range of APA issues and guests, from voting rights to Asian American elected officials and comedians. While the channel is specific to the New York City and Tri-State areas -- don't fret -- the show is available to other PBS stations and non-commercial cable nationwide, so check your local listings or peep the video on the website.
The recession especially affects APA communities in New York, which have the second highest poverty rate of all racial groups in the city. However, we're usually overlooked in mainstream policy and economic discussions, so this type of programming is both rare and significant for calling attention to our particular concerns. The panel will include experts on Asian American health and policy, including (one of my favorite nonprofits) the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), which does some amazing advocacy work with low-income APAs in New York.
I'd appreciate any comments from folks who catch the show this Sunday.