Dino-Ray Ramos

For Beginners

Learn how to fit in, in the South.

Familiarize yourself with “y’all.” Ever since I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, I am constantly reminded that I am from Texas when I say “y’all,” which is the Southernized contraction for “you” and “all,” if you didn’t already know. You can't help but say it with a twang. When I was an instructor at a local art university (if you keep up with my columns, you know how much I LOVED that job), I was giving a lecture and was being very articulate and formal. Then, a “y'all” slipped out of my mouth and the entire class started giggling.

Hit List

The 25 best Asian and Asian American characters in pop culture.

In honor of Hyphen’s 25th issue, I present a highly subjective list of the 25 best Asian and Asian American characters on television and in the movies. The list is, for the most part, contemporary, but I also include characters who are icons, have left a distinct impression on pop culture or have gained a loyal cult following. So, in no particular order, here’s my list.

I Quit

If you hate your job, don't be so Asian American about it.

There comes a time in your life when your job doesn't feel like a job. It starts to feel like a career, like work you want to do for the rest of your life. You don't mind waking up every morning brighteyed, bushy-tailed and ambitious to make a difference!

This was not one of those times.

I was working as an instructor at an art university. It paid well, I loved most of my co-workers (can’t win ‘em all) and I liked the creative environment.

Do You Miss Me?

Revisiting Filipino American R&B music of the 1990s.

Writer Dino-Ray Ramos

THERE WAS ONCE A TIME when the soul and R&B music scene wasn't dominated by precocious, hair-whipping preteens, leggy Caribbean beauties and fedora-topped, sneaker-wearing crooners with sharp suits and even sharper moves.

In the mid '90s, before Bruno Mars threw his "Grenade" and before the Black Eyed Peas phunked with our hearts, a generous swell of Filipino American soul and R&B music acts filled radio airwaves and concert stages in some major cities, in particular the San Francisco Bay Area, where many of these groups were based.

I See Asian People

With emerging representation in film and TV, can we say we’ve made it?

In 1985, I was taken on a treasure-seeking adventure with Mikey, Brand, Mouth, Chunk, Andy, Stef, Sloth, the Fratellis and Data. If you are an ‘80s child, are drawn to retro cult appeal or just like the act of doing the truffle shuffle, then you know that I’m talking about the legendary film The Goonies.

Margaret Cho Stands Up

The comedian, actress and activist urges Asian Americans to take action.

FROM HER BEGINNINGS as a 16-year-old comedian and the star of the short-lived sitcom All-American Girl, Margaret Cho's career has soared with such gut-busting comedy shows as "I'm the One That I Want" and stand-up concert tours like "Beautiful" (her fifth). Her new music/stand-up album Guitarded (yes, she sings, too) will hit stores in 201 0, and the Lifetime network just picked up her pilot Drop Dead Diva, a show about women's relationships with their bodies.

Clearly, Cho, this issue's cover model, gets around - ina good way, of course.