Joyce Chen

Poetry and Abandonment

A Review of Jon Pineda's Let's No One Get Hurt

One of the first characters readers are introduced to in Jon Pineda’s new imagery-rich novel, Lets No One Get Hurt, is the river that curls itself around the compound where young protagonist Pearl and her ragtag group of compadres lives. Pineda compares the river at times to “tailor’s chalk” and at other times to “television static.” But the most precise description of the river — and the role it plays for Pearl in her winding path toward womanhood — is the virgule, “meaning ‘either this or that.’ Or both, fusing like a stitch.”

"A Small Revolution" by Jimin Han

A Small Revolution by Jimin Han

In an era of book-to-film adaptations a la Hidden Figures or book-to-TV adaptations like The Handmaids Tale, Jimin Han’s debut novel, A Small Revolution, spins the trend on its head by reading, instead, like a literary adaptation of a miniseries, a visual and visceral journey through some of storytelling’s most familiar tropes: love, innocence, loss of innocence; violence, corruption, deception; duty to country, to others, to self; and personal truths versus reality.

'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow' Resonates Across Cultures

Arvin Chen’s sophomore film, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, debuted at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. He describes his process in character development, why he decided to include elements of magical realism, and how he inadvertently ended up casting two Taiwanese pop stars in the lead roles.

Bieber's 'Legaci' Crosses Color Lines

Full disclosure: This past weekend, I spent my Saturday night in New Jersey in the company of something like tens of thousands of screaming tween girls, their equally excited mothers, and plenty of iPhone-wielding dads who gave each other knowing looks across the aisle. A friend of mine was working on a story about Justin Bieber, or more specifically, his signature hair swoosh, and so as part of the reporting process, I found myself at the Prudential Center in Newark, head bobbing to Bieber’s tunes and marveling at the epic proportions of a YouTube craze gone viral.

AAIFF Films: Masculinity in 'Mao's Last Dancer'


These days, masculinity in the media is taking on forms other than the Old Spice guy’s booming voice and log-rolling antics -- try ballet dancers and grand jetés in place of He-Man and power-punches. Bruce Beresford's Mao's Last Dancer is the kind of film that many Asian Americans have been long waiting to see following the questionable representations found in films like The Hangover and The Last Airbender (comical angry Asian mob bosses and sinister villains, respectively).

Model Minority Goes to College


The story is familiar: Asian American high schoolers toil away night and day, shuttled between school in the daytime, cram schools at night and a multitude of extracurricular sports, music and art classes in between. Tack on a few leadership roles and a volunteer stint or two, and long before they’ve ever taken their first college course or sauntered into their first internship interview, these kids already have overflowing resumes.

Trend (TV) Setters: Indian-American Sitcoms Join Major Network Lineup

One year after feel-good Bollywood-esque flick Slumdog Millionaire took the cinematic stage, sweeping the American awards circuit with eight Oscar wins, the Mumbai momentum keeps on rolling. From Bollywood big screen to situation sitcom small screen (that's a mouthful) -- TV's latest additions to what one historian refers to as the "ethnic comedy mix" features Asian American leads. Two new comedies -- Fox's Nevermind Nirvana and NBC's Outsourced -- represent the latest in culturally inclusive primetime: both are ensemble shows centered around Indians and Indian Americans.

'Faces of America' to Showcase Family Roots and Branches

Diversity advertisements they're not, but the racially eclectic posters plastered on NYC subways and across billboards are catching many a bypasser's eye. Hundreds of years in the making, Faces of America, PBS's four-part TV special, will finally kick off on February 10. In it, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., will investigate what it means to be "American" in today's diverse social climate. Sound familiar? It should. Intriguing? You bet.