Friday, June 29, 2007

The Friday Groove

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

ATCQ - Find A Way

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's Party Time, People

Swank shindig in San Francisco next week, brought to you by the same forces that support this site. From the Evite (which we'll add you to if you want, just give us a heads up in the comments):

A unique spread of gourmet munchies, a generous splash of soju cocktails, a mix of DJ beats, and a crowd of friendly faces--what better way to bridge the gap between Independence Day and the weekend?

Join us on Thursday, July 5, at Namu, the hip new spot in San Francisco's Richmond District, as we warm up for the big Hapa Issues Forum Reunion/Retrospective. We're looking to generate some buzz for that September 8 event--some buzz and some funding. We need a little financial help with an exhibition of old HIF memorabilia we're putting together to display on that day, and then for a few months in early 2008 at the National Japanese American Historical Society.

So we're asking for a $20 entry fee; that'll cover you for the food and featured drinks (beer and wine are also available, but for purchase, as they are not included in the deal). But that money doesn't just buy you a good time--it will also enable us to give HIF a proper send-off in a couple months, one which we've been working hard to make a reality.

Please offer up your RSVP now; we know it's short notice, but we need to have a head count by next Tuesday (7/3), a week from today. We'll take money at the door, but would prefer you use the PayPal option (credit cards accepted) that we're providing in this Evite--it's safer this way for our gracious hosts at Namu, who are going out on a limb for us on this.

We look forward to seeing you, and any and all guests you would like to bring along--this is by no means an exclusive gig, and if you're getting this Evite but have no idea what HIF even is, don't sweat it, just come. You'll get a chance to connect with some cool folks, catch some good music, and enjoy some delicious eats and cocktails--and it's all in support of a great cause.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Protecting the Right for Everyone to Marry

So yesterday was the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, and I caught part of the recap on NPR this morning. I was only half-listening, so I didn't get his name, but I heard one of the parade's honorary marshals refer to the Supreme Court case of Loving vs. Virginia--which is something we've of course mentioned once or twice around these parts, seeing as how that decision legalized interracial marriage on a federal level in 1967. Turns out the marshal himself was mixed race, and he was comparing the obstacle his parents faced in their desire to wed with the one facing himself and others in the gay community today.

It's not especially profound of me to say this, but I should take the occasion to emphasize that those of us born of interracial unions have a responsibility to stick up for same-sex unions. When your group has confronted a historical challenge, I think you have an obligation to support other groups who end up encountering similar problems. Those who fight to sanction gay marriage shouldn't hesitate to solicit the help of the mixed race community, and we in turn should be ready to provide that help. It's just common sense.

(To bring a little levity to this issue, I thought I'd also include this satirical piece from the The Onion that demonstrates how the rights we seek can end up becoming burdens.)

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Friday, June 22, 2007

The Friday Groove

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

I know we already got this song playing on the tuner but I just love the video...

Mos Def- Umi Says

*** The Friday Groove Extra:

Here is a funny little story that happened last Friday that I have been wanting to share. Now, before I give you the details I have to lay down some background information. Ever since I can remember my father and I have had this on going joke about haole-kine and their mishaps with wasabi at sushi restaurants. Twice my father has seen unsuspecting sushi-newcomers take big chunks of wasabi and stick-it in their mouths. The ensuing red-face, beads of sweat and panicked water drinking always gives us a good chuckle.

However, never in a million years would I have thought it, but the opposite happened last week while out at dinner. As I was conversing with a friend of a friend who had recently arrived from Japan I noticed that the girl was tearing at the eye, turning red and had a shocked look on her face. As I looked down at her plate at what she had eaten it dawned on me, "Oh s*#t! Jalapenos don't exist in Japan!"

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Diggin' in the Cybercrates: Internet Samples (Listener Request Line)

On the regular, Hip Hapa hooks you into the sites and sounds of the virtual world, offering up samples to help you make the perfect mix of your netsurfing. If you find a gem that needs inclusion, let us know and we'll post it.

Hip Hapa finally reconnected with one of the old crew, and she's bona fide now: Recognize the byline on this piece about Hyphy 4 Christ, anyone?

More music: The heir to Wat Misaka's thrown gives us a trio of sites for kickin' it Big Willie Style (YEEHAH!):
More basketball: JF tells me, "My man is FILLING IT UP."

More filling: I'm sure Brian sent this along because he wants it as a wedding gift.

To all our peoples who provided links:


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ramona Douglass Passes Away

I'm pretty sure I never met Ramona Douglass in person, but her name was always common currency among the mixed race advocates I have known. Yesterday, I learned of her death, which actually seems to have occurred weeks ago. I read about it on Racialicious, who found out through MAVIN:

"MAVIN Foundation board and staff extend our condolences to the family and friends of Ramona E. Douglass who passed away last week. Ms. Douglass was a civil rights activist for nearly three decades. She was one of the most prominent figures in the multiracial movement in America since its inception. As a U.S. Department of Commerce federal appointee to the 2000 Census Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C., beginning in 1995, she consistently represented multiracial community interests before Congress, the national media, and the Executive Office of the President.

Ms. Douglass was a co-founder of the Association of MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA) and member of the board of directions since its founding in 1988, serving in the capacities of vice president (1988-1994), president (1994-1999), director of media and public relations (2000-2005), and member of the Advisory Council until her death.

I'm not entirely certain about this, but it looks like she may have passed at the end of May--coincidently, around the tenth anniversary of this testimony before congress regarding the 2000 census, which we excerpt here as a tribute to her:

From the May 22, 1997 Hearing on Multiracial Identification Before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight

Statement of Ramona E. Douglass
President of the Association of MultiEthnic Americans
Member of the Federal 2000 Census Advisory Committee

"My name is Ramona E. Douglass and I am proud to call myself a multiracial American. I consider it an honor and a privilege to stand before this subcommittee and be able to tell its members what being multiracial/multiethnic means to me and the more than 2.5 millions others like me in the U.S. today. We are no longer willing to remain proverbial square pegs shoved into the consistently round holes of America's racial classification system...

...The lives of our interracial families and multiracial children are in your hands. We as a community are asking you to give us the same consideration and respect you would demand for your own families' health and well-being. Please count us, track us, begin the process of including us in the American framework that has monitored the evolution and growth of other racial/ethnic populations throughout our history. We are the changing face of America and a reflection of its highest ideals when it comes to human interaction, acceptance and love. Asking us to endure another decade or another census unacknowledged, discounted or ignored isn't an option any of us can afford to live with any longer. If one member of our society is without freedom then none of us are truly free."

The full text of this testimony is available to read from The Multiracial Activist.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

48 Hour Film Madness

Just so you know right quick: occasional Hip Hapa correspondent Yasmine Gomez and a small group of friends participated in the 48 Hour Film Project this past weekend, and their work will be screened in San Francisco tonight. Check it:

Consumed by Subject To Change Productions
Tuesday June 19, 2007
6:30pm and 9pm (2 screenings)
Landmark Embarcadero Center Cinemas
One Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA 94111

Note: Accompanying image has nothing to do with this event, it's just our attempt at being clever. But that was a great movie, no? Man, Eddie Murphy was awesome back in the day.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Remembering Vincent Chin

Starting tomorrow, Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, in conjunction with a number of local organizations, will be hosting a series of events all across the country to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin. Each event will feature a screening of the must-see documentary Who Killed Vincent Chin?, along with a panel discussion of local community leaders. Here's the schedule:

June 19, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in the Americas, 70 Mulberry Street, 2nd Floor
Co-sponsored by the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, with appearances by John Liu (New York City Councilman), Liz Ouyang (Executive Vice President, OCA), and Darwin Davis (President and CEO, New York Urban League)

June 19, 6:00 PM
St. Mary Magdalen Family Center, 1213 52nd Street
Co-sponsored by the Asian Victims Relief Fund, with appearances by Dan Levy (Chief Legal Officer, Michigan Department of Civil Rights) Pravina Ramanathan (Asian American Liaison, Michigan Dept. of Civil Rights), and Ingrid Scott-Weekly (Director, City of Grand Rapids Equal Opportunity Department)

June 20, 6:30 PM
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 South Halsted Street
Co-sponsored by the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, the Japanese American Citizens League, and the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, with appearances by Bill Yoshino (Midwest Director, JACL), Diana Lin (VP, Asian American Institute), Myron Quon (Legal Director, Asian American Institute), and Rima Kapitan (Staff Attorney, Chicago Council on American-Islamic Relations)

June 23, 9:00 AM (ALL DAY)
Chinese Community Center, 32585 Concord Drive, Madison Heights, MI 48071
Sponsored by the Detroit Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans and the Allstate Foundation, with co-sponsors the American Citizens for Justice, the Governor's Advisory Council on Asian Pacific American Affairs, and Asian Pacific Americans for Progress. Organized as part of its Initiative on Hate Crimes, Detroit OCA has in addition to the film screening scheduled a series of panels and a visit to the grave site at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Panelists will include Frank H. Wu (Dean, Wayne State Law School), Roland Hwang (President, ACJ), Stephanie Lily Chang (ACJ), and many more.

June 23, 10:30 AM
Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 901 G. Street
Co-sponsored by South Asian American Leaders for Tomorrow, the Japanese American Citizens League, the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Sikh American Legal Education and Defense Fund, the University of Maryland's Asian American Studies Program, and the DC APA Film Festival, with appearances by Eric Byler (Director, Americanese and Charlotte Sometimes)
and Larry Shinagawa (Professor, University of Maryland)

June 23, 2:00 PM
665 Hancock Street
Co-sponsored by the Asian American Resource Workshop, the American Chinese Federation, and the Chinese Progressive Association

June 24, 2:00 PM
The National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 Central Avenue
Co-sponsored by the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, the South Asian Network, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, with appearances by Hamid Khan (Executive Director, South Asian Network), Stewart Kwoh (Executive Director, APALC), Robin Toma (Executive Director, LA County Human Relations Commission), and Renee Tajima (Director, Who Killed Vincent Chin?)

June 27, 6:30 PM
Chinese For Affirmative Action, 17 Walter U Lum Place
Co-sponsored by the Chinese Historical Society, with appearances by Honorable Yvonne Lee (Member of the SF Police Commission and former Commissioner of the President's Commission on Civil Rights), Malcolm Yeung (Staff Attorney, Asian Law Caucus), Kavneet Singh (Managing Director, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund

July 14, 2:00 PM
Korman Communities Theater, 300 Seaforth Drive
Co-sponsored by the National Association of Asian American Professionals-North Carolina and the North Carolina Asian Pacific American Bar Association

If you live near one of the venues, please attend, and note that additional events in Salt Lake City, Portland, and Milwaukee are also on the horizon.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Friday Groove

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

This week we bring to you The Friday Grove: J-Pop Karaoke Edition! This one is dedicated to my main man O.G. and the City of Kumamoto. (Hahahaa... sorry man I couldn't resist when I saw it!)

Misia - Everything

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John Rain, Killing It

Last night I finished reading The Last Assassin, a thriller about an international hit man named John Rain. As Rain is hapa, we've actually mentioned this book in passing before, but today I thought I'd do a more in-depth post on the subject.

The Last Assassin is the fifth book in a series of six. The latest, Requiem for an Assassin, has been bouncing around the lower ranks of the New York Times hardcover fiction best seller list since being released last month, and Lord of the Rings producer Barrie Osborne picked up a film option on the series, so Rain has already acquired a fair amount of notoriety. He even has his own Wikipedia entry.

I've found the Rain series to be thoroughly entertaining, even though it's a little outside of my normal reading preferences. I've tore through each of the previous installments in a few days, and I'm really looking forward to Requiem for an Assassin, which I will probably go buy this weekend.

Overall, what I dig so much about this series is that the sense of place always feels so rich to me. Most of the books have action in Japan, so there's some nostalgia value, but there's usually incorporation of many locations around the world where I've never been, and would like to visit based on how they're presented in these books. And regardless of which city he's in, Rain always seems to find the dope jazz spots with the vintage whiskey selections, which gets my motor humming as an aspiring connoisseur of both those indulgences.

Plus there's all that ruthless hired gun, espionage razzle-dazzle adventure stuff which is a lot of fun (yet tempered somewhat with ethical considerations now and then, so you don't have to feel too guilty about lapping up the bloodshed).

The fact that the protagonist is hapa adds a layer as well, and gives me another reason to pay attention. I've recently written on this site that I'm not one for mixed race celebrity gawking, so I'm certainly not going to start doing it with fictional characters. But I do think it's kind of neat that this dynamic has been incorporated into a successful and recognized pop culture franchise--and with an approach that feels fairly tasteful and thoughtful, in my opinion.

By those terms, the major drawback so far has been that Rain tends to get marketed as being "half American and half Japanese" in a way that seems to want to conflate Americanness with whiteness. This problem exists within the books as well (but is necessarily complicated by textual nuance--like the presence of a couple of monoracial Japanese Americans, and just generally the fact that manuscripts go into much greater detail than blurbs and jacket copy), but the issue becomes most salient (and thereby worrisome) in how the book is presented to the prospective book-buying public.

Anyway, I'm not here to write a thesis--I'll leave that to the culture vulture media studies types (and you folks really should check into this series; I think it'll afford you some rich material, especially if it ever turns into a movie). But regardless of who you are, this is a pretty interesting thing to keep your eye on, I think.

One final note: I've actually met the author, Barry Eisler, a couple times, and interviewed him over email for a newspaper I used to write for. He's a really charismatic, friendly individual with good business sense, a commitment to his craft, and a unique past (and he seems to be into all that MMA-type stuff my collaborator loves so much). Although I wouldn't say it's a must-read, he's also got a blog on world politics and related affairs that can be interesting (sometimes it does seem to lean a little to the right, but not dogmatically so, and he usually comes across as pretty open-minded and thorough in his takes).


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

40 Years of Interracial Awesomeness

From the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Loving v. Virginia, handed down on this day 40 years ago:

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

These convictions must be reversed.

It is so ordered.

Kind of gets me misty-eyed, you know? I'm not even kidding.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Hapas Can Win Meaningful Contests, Too

Not to imply that Apolo Anton Ohno doesn't deserve his for killing it on the dance floor, but this one has a little more importance in my book. Over the weekend, Luke Patterson took the crown of Mr. Hyphen '07, an honor awarded to Asian American men "who devote their tremendous time and effort to worthy Asian community organizations."

In a crowded field, Luke took the title by "winning the judges over with a combination of eloquence and playful gallantry." He won that spiffy crown you see to the right, as well as 500 bones for his chosen non-profit, Great Leap, a multicultural performing arts organization in Los Angeles for whom he works as Administrative Coordinator.

Way to represent for H-nation, Luke.


Friday, June 08, 2007

The Friday Groove

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

Didn't make it to the DJ Tonk gig at the Asian Art Museum last night, so in lieu of original coverage, here's a video of his featuring Raashan Ahmad and Headnodic, both of Crown City Rockers.

DJ Tonk - Beautiful

This video being shot in Oakland seems excuse enough to mention that this Saturday evening, Hyphen Magazine will be holding its "Mr. Hyphen '07" contest in Chinatown (Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 Ninth Street, Suite 290, to be exact).

Have a good weekend, kids--and be safe!

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

DJ Tonk Tonight

In San Francisco this evening from 5-9pm, the Asian Art Museum (200 Larkin Street) is kicking off another summer of MATCHA, its series of 'first Thursdays' monthly mixers:

"MATCHA makes a fierce second season comeback with a special guest: DJ Tonk, one of Japan's most reputable hip-hop producers/DJs. In this rare stateside appearance, he will be laying down his unique blend of fresh beats, accompanied by emcee Othello. As he spins infectious grooves at the decks, guests are invited to step into the world of manga and anime in the museum’s Manga Lounge, participate in special guided tours of Tezuka: The Marvel of Manga and Yoshitoshi's Strange Tales, create manga (Japanese comic), listen to a brief talk on manga, and more."

Looks like a good time--go check it out.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Outtakes with Ben Fong-Torres

Well, the title's not an entirely accurate statement, since the piece hasn't even been written yet and these quotes might make the cut in shortened form, but I thought I'd post a couple of snippets from my conversation this evening with rock journalist Ben Fong-Torres, the former writer and senior editor at Rolling Stone who has interviewed such music legends as Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, and the Grateful Dead--to name just a few. That's him with Quincy Jones on the right.

Fong-Torres was emceeing an event that I was covering, and so I got a chance to chat with him briefly beforehand. Of course in tune with the tools of the trade, he immediately made a complimentary note of my digital recorder, and mentioned a few devices he'd relied upon in the past. I couldn't help but ask for his take on how to report on the event, and then picked his brain about his own career. Yeah, sort of an amateurish approach, but you don't get the chance to solicit advice from pros of this caliber every day--and plus I figured it was a good way to warm him up a bit.

After talking shop, we strolled over to the spread, where I learned that, when it comes to appetizers, Fong-Torres is not a fan of gourmet eggrolls, and would have preferred to see pigs-in-a-blanket or calamari instead (these are the details I'm sure you crave).

Anyway, this is when I got down to business, and we started talking about the accomplishments of grassroots organizations on the margins (specifically, the one holding the event). He told me this about the need to press on:

"I would just say that for all of the progress that has been made by not just Chinese Americans but Asian Americans in general and people of color overall, we're still at a place where we have a long, long way to go. There's still a tremendous amount of racism out there in different forms--and so the battle continues. It is by no means over, even though a lot of people think, 'oh come on, you guys have done well, and hey come on, you guys get into the schools you want to, get the jobs you want to'--well not really, you know? When you look at it more deeply and more thoroughly, there's just a lot of restrictions and a still too-low ceiling for Asian Americans and other groups."

In addressing what everyday folks can do to push for progress, he commented:

"Just be aware. We're in a time now in American society when people tend to have fairly short attention spans. I think Al Gore is correct that people are being sidetracked by unimportant things in pop culture and not really, really keeping track of news as much as trivia and gossip."

And in reference to the prospect of standing up to the current administration and waging political protest, he offered a little bit of hope:

"More than ever, I think people have a right to say 'What is the point?'...I don't know, I don't want to be in fantasy land about it, but I feel like it can still happen, we can still right this ship."

We went on to talk about the role music can play in this movement, as it did when he was starting out as a journalist in San Francisco during the 60s. He expressed a belief that people today are writing and playing songs that do call for social change and a more righteous world, but that this is happening on a local level, not necessarily through your standard channels.

He was eventually commandeered by an event organizer before I could ask him what he thought of Paul McCartney releasing a new record on the Starbucks 'label' (although honestly, I was just saving that for if I ran out of things to say), and that was that.

The last note I want to add from this episode is that, when he was later addressing the crowd from the podium, he actually mentioned his conversation with me, and managed to squeeze in the name of the paper that I write for. It was certainly more a case that the anecdote served to help him pay compliment to the evening's keynote speaker for her stirring delivery, but the man has worked in media longer than I've been alive, so you have to believe he had some awareness that he was also giving a boost to the small publisher I was representing. Pretty considerate for a guy who's made the big time.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Down Goes Morton!

We've been following this for a while, so we're sort of obligated to ride it to its bitter end:

49 seconds. Maybe they'll let him wear a football helmet next time.

Since we're on the topic of sports, might as well toss in this little gem on the game of choice of the Black President (and no, we're not talking about Gilbert Arenas--but in case you didn't know, he's reppin' the biracial as well).

Thanks to JF for the link--had seen it already, but appreciate the reminder.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Hip Hapa's Friday Groove

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

Once again my Homie T told me about a late 90's classic that I just had to share with you all today. This is the JAM right here!

Camp Lo - Lucini

*** Ehem! For your listening enjoyment you may want to press pause on the Standalone Player before playing the video.

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