Monday, June 26, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Some points awarded for a Hmong actress in the lead. But we must ask for better.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Even better, visit Asian Week's classic 1997 article on Vincent Chin and learn more about the history of Vincent's tragic murder and its broader significance to Asian Americans, even 24 years later. Longtime readers of mine know that as an Asian American living in Michigan at the time, this case affected me deeply. I hope you'll continue to work against racism.
Monday, June 19th is the anniversary of the night Vincent Chin was attacked.
From the BBC and others: 'Fossil' rock rat pictured alive
Of course, anyone who's seen my vacation photos or most of the photos from anyone else who's been back to Laos could have told you they're alive. Just one of the many fun discoveries to see back in the old country. It is fun to see that it's made "front page" headlines on AOL and a few other services. Of course, he didn't exactly know he was missing. Just heavily hunted. But go figure.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Featuring figures like the ever popular "Mother of Champions" who can give birth to a litter(!?!?) of 25 super soldiers every three days.
There's many things we could ask, like "Where's "Father of Champions?" and other issues of sex & sexuality. Or lack thereof, based on comic creators' apparent (no pun intended) view of Asians.
But that's a whole different rant.
In any case... Nice. I guess we can be glad we don't have Incredible Launderer, Knock-off, who possesses "the inscrutable ability to make cheap versions of anything he sees," or Crafty, the Sly Siamese Spy "who betray round-eye with single word..."
Then again, we haven't seen The Great Ten's enemies yet.
Why do I think we might be better just watching Minoriteam episodes?
In the meantime, thanks to the hard work of Loren Javier, we can traipse through yesteryear at the Asian Pacific American Toychest to see how far we've come! While I'm not sure I agree with all of Loren's takes on the subjects he showcases, this is still a very interesting site and hopefully it will become a more comprehensive resource in the years to come!
Jubilee seems to always wander off in the films. Blink and you miss her, like this scene in X-Men 2:
I'm won't go into all the things that could be said about how Psylocke was handled. (Who, in the comics, is a proper English psychic trapped in an Asian supermodel assassin's body with a lousy sense of costume practicalities... But then, aren't we all?)
Update: Given how several "well-known" X-men personalities were given short shrift in X3 it's probably good to point out that "Psylocke" was supposed to be the one on the far right with the purple hair and no dialogue:
My hopes have all but dwindled for Pulse, a remake of the long, but reasonably interesting film Kairo. To say they seem to have missed the point is a bit of an understatement.
On the other hand: The horror film Ang Pamana - The Inheritance looks like an interesting offering from the Filipino Canadian director Romeo Candido.
G-Fan Magazine also just announced that they'll be hosting one of the first showings of the first CGI Kaiju film, "Negadon-The Monster From Mars" at G-Fest in Chicago this year, along with the all new Gamera film, "Gamera-The Little Braves." If you're in Chicago, it sounds like a don't miss.
I've just got to put in a plug for the upcoming film "The Motel" It's inspired by the very funny short-story that ultimately became Ed Lin's classic novel "Waylaid," a definitely must-read if you can find a copy! Thanks to Angry Asian Man for posting the current poster for this film!
From The Dept. of "Hmmmm.":
Zhang Ziyi seems to be in talks to star in an un-Disneyfied Mulan. This could go good or bad. After all, the authentic Mulan story is a timeless classic.
There's also talk of her in a Seven Samurai remake.
This probably disturbs me just because I rather like the Seven Samurai. And hey, I may be accusing before I've seen. How bad COULD it be?
Since there are so many out there, which ones do you consider your top ten that everyone (who's interested in this sort of thing) should REALLY have a copy of?
This is the publisher's blurb about "The Ethics and Poetics of Alterity in Asian American Poetry" by Xiaojing Zhou from the University of Iowa Press that's coming out this year:
"Poetry by Asian American writers has had a significant impact on the landscape of contemporary American poetry, and a book-length critical treatment of Asian American poetry is long overdue. In this groundbreaking book, Xiaojing Zhou demonstrates how many Asian American poets transform the conventional "I" of lyric poetry - based on the traditional Western concept of the self and the Cartesian "I" - to enact a more ethical relationship between the "I" and its others. Drawing on Emmanuel Levinas's idea of the ethics of alterity - which argues that an ethical relation to the other is one that acknowledges the irreducibility of otherness - Zhou offers a reconceptualization of both self and other. Taking difference as a source of creativity and turning it into a form of resistance and a critical intervention, Asian American poets engage with broader issues than the merely poetic. They confront social injustice against the other and call critical attention to a concept of otherness which differs fundamentally from that underlying racism, sexism, and colonialism. By locating the ethical and political questions of otherness in language, discourse, aesthetics, and everyday encounters, Asian American poets help advance critical studies in race, gender, and popular culture as well as in poetry. "The Ethics and Poetics of Alterity" is not limited, however, to literary studies: it is an invaluable response to the questions raised by increasingly globalized encounters across many kinds of boundaries."
Don't get me wrong, I'm excited by the idea of the book, and will try and get a copy. I'm grateful to Xiaojing Zhou for writing this text. I think it's important for those in academics and MFAs, and it's a monumental undertaking.
On the other hand, speaking from the perspective of a practicing Asian American poet, I just find this sort of thing, well, tedious for non-academics.
Writers write, as they say, and this doesn't sound like the sort of thing that will easily win over any new fans from the general population to the marvels and joys of Asian American poetry.
And I believe there ARE marvels and joys to it.
But hey, I already wrote about this whole matter in my poem, "The Big G." in 2004, in less than 300 pages.
And, you know what, I think I'm just going to let that poem stand for the rest of my argument. Because that's what poetry is supposed to do anyway.
* As Americans
* As members of our individual ethnicity (Lao American, Japanese American, Hmong American, Tai Dam American, Chinese American etc.)
* As Asian Americans (Or APIAs, APAs, etc. or even American Asians)
* As individuals upon whom our culture and/or self/imposed identification has no effect.
* As citizens of the world/universe. As human beings.
I'm certain there are other states as well. There are complex politics of identification at play here. A hundred different boxes we can be put into. Some we climb into willingly, others, less so.
This model of course may not work for other people, but it's something I bear in mind.
Monday, June 12, 2006
My personal commandments to myself:
Never think it’s perfect.
Don’t be too hard on a piece because it’s imperfect.
Explore. Experiment. Experience. Excite.
Go where words haven’t gone yet.
Don’t forget the past.
Don’t blind yourself to the future.
Be present for the whole thing.
Remember to have something to write with nearby at all times.
Strive to write so well you’d be content to take your own work
with you on a desert island. But don’t expect to get it right the
first time. Or the last.
The inner, the outer and the other.
Remember there’s always someone better than you. There’s always
someone worse than you. Know that all this can change in an instant.
Know that worrying about this is silly.
Who's putting out new books of Asian American poetry for 2006?
2005 was a pretty impressive year, with some very good entries from a diverse body of figures. Will 2006 match it?
If you've got a book coming out or has come out, or know someone who does, let's hear about it!
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Welcome to the all-new blog by Laotian American writer Bryan Thao Worra! The focus of this blog will be on issues in contemporary Asian American writing and community activism, as well as popular culture and whatever seems appropos the moment.
As a caveat, I've usually not had much luck with maintaining blogs, but with your support and feedback we'll provide a fun and interesting journey with regular posts and updates!
Have a better one!