Saturday, August 30, 2003

my truly sincere condolences to a friend who lost his mother's father today.

i lost my mother's father a year and a half ago. my grandfather died alone (even with generations of children,) of a broken heart. i can only offer this advice (born from regret) to those who still have the chance: get to know your grandparents, your parents, you uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings, get to know your own. forgive our relatives before they become our ancestors.

Friday, August 29, 2003

once through so many semesters of theatre rice, it's hard to remember or recognize what theatre rice is anymore.

without a doubt, we, the members of past and present, are theatre rice. we is the body, constantly moving, our artistic direction is always on the grow. we dare to collaborate for change, "to meet, develop, and perform showcases that reflect a modern Asian-American theatre."

and we make choices, some are radical, some are conservative, but all relentlessly shape the direction theatre rice goes in. our committee, representatives elected by the theatre rice constituency of the precious semester, is ultimately responsible for these choices.

last night, our committee chose to keep our mid-semester show to the dual combination of a comedy troupe and improv, and to not allow a play to appear in addition to it. i do not argue with this decision. but i am frightened by it.

before i talk my fears, i would like to say first and foremost that i do agree that certain submissions must meet certain levels of quality before gaining acceptance into our shows. the debate about the quality of this piece may be limitless but is of not much concern to what i want to bring up (but on a side-note: "regret," "flight of the penguins," and "story time with joyce" all needed to be developed but were nonetheless admitted into their respective showcases.)

this piece didn't lose because the committee had serious issues with the quality of the piece (some really did, some really didn't, but to each their own.)

the reason why the piece didn't get in is much more simple and, to me, much more frightening: the committee didn't want to put a highly political and serious play alongside comedy troupe and improv. the juxtaposition of seriousness and comedy would apparently be too strange for our audience.

i go into a few questions to address this:
- doesn't this thought process imply that comedy troupe is not capable of serious issues in their skits, that a skit can not be of comedy but still be of quality?
- is it resourceful to have a short mid-semester show (which will run for three days) while trying to cram in all of our submissions into our showcase (which will run for two days)?
- doesn't all comedy in our mid-semester show create the expectation for more shows like those - an expectation that may be responsible for an audience backlash in the face of anything non-comedy? isn't theatre rice stereotyped to being simply funny? that may not be a bad thing, but isn't that against our purpose of being? is asian american theatre only made of comedy? are our stories only told through caricatures, exaggerations, and satires?

i'm afraid that we, the committee, might not be able to step up to change when change calls. this is a beautiful time to be in theatre rice. it's an incredibly creative time marked by a dramatic rise of the number of creative projects individual members are pushing forth on their own. our submissions are going to grow and more and more. we are faced with the possibilty of evolving with this growth naturally, or restrict it to what we know and what we think can do (opposed to what we really can do.)

no matter how sensational the privilege of our education promises, it promises nothing in the realm of theatre, film, and performing arts for not only asian americans, but all ethnic groups. for a tremendous amount of people, theatre rice is the sole venue for artists to realize their dreams. dreams that we, as committee members, must always respect and consider, which is why we must always real all submissions that we receive (i'm afraid that not all of us actually read the mid-semester submission.) when we don't read our submissions, we not only wrong the artists who submit, we also wrong the theatre rice who chose us as representatives and weavers of our growing artistic thread.

i do not share because i want us to re-consider last night's decision. i share this because i am disheartened and truly worried. i share this because i trust theatre rice, who has always been of the open nature, to always share and listen with our own. this is not an attack on anyone but simply a loved criticism. please, do not be offended.

i would like to end this with words from the author of the mid-semester show submission. we typically always read out loud every submission author's "reasons why..." before deciding on their vote, but we failed to do so at last night meeting. here is a part of it.

"explain why you think this should be a theatre rice production"

"because theatre rice all too often dwells on abstract asian american identity politics when there are urgent issues concerning real Asian Americans in the present.
because no one knows about it.
because NOW is always the time that theatre rice is ready to tackle ANY issue affecting Asian Americans.
because Theatre Rice needs to be respected as a THEATRE group and needs to break away from it�s popular perception as a comedy group.
because the mid semester show sets the tone on how Theatre Rice is viewed in the public eye, especially since it�s free.
because the term �Asian American� is a political term.
because art is about revision.
because an art piece is never ever finished."

we are never finished. i understand that theatre rice is never anything concrete, never like a bird but rather like its shadow, always a blur, a changing beauty, never to be grasped or held down. this is the beginning of a new year. let's see what fire and freshness awaits us all.

ps: the fact of the matter is: i'm fucking pissed and i'll use all my pretty bird, blur, beauty metaphors to express it, thank you very much.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

regret is a broken guitar, and when you shake it upside down, unfinished songs rain gently out, drifting slowly, over and over, side to side, before becoming nothing but soft stains on the ground. a soldier on a battlefield somewhere puts his gun down, closes his eyes, and dreams of white lilies. somewhere else, in calcutta, a man sighs at how in america, the richest country in the world, citizenship still does not guarantee home-owning as a right (not a privilege.) in iraq, a man offers this advice to a lightless notheast america: "don't trust the americans to fix your electricity grid, because they will most certainly short circuit and, worst of all, they will blame someone else for it." in berkeley, in one day, i spend 60 dollars on books, 7 dollars on pho, 14 dollars on new speakers, and only 1 dollar on the old woman on the street with no where to sleep. mars is at the closest its ever been to earth in forever and the berkeley sky is red with clouds. my apartment is full of (whether we realize it or not) some of the most educated people in the world, but there is still so much that we don't know: 1 of us can't fry an egg over-easy, 2 of us has never heard of proposition 54, 2 of us can't clean the bathroom when we're supposed to, 1 one of us does not know what a clit-stimulator is, 3 of us can't write and sing a song for someone, and none of us can fix our own ride. but let's focus on what we do know: how to blog. life is full of close-escapes, this isn't one of them, whether we're escaping or we're trapped is only a matter of perspective. this is really a cliche but you are loved.

a teacher's guide on is a wonderful read. go through the "library," it has a small fortune of information. are online colleges really the future?

ps: take the skinheads bowling, take them bowling.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

my schedule is in shambles, sorta. re-arranging everything around, i regret dropping architecture 100b actually, it sounds like magic but i'm afraid that i won't be able to honestly uphold my other commitments this semester if i undergo such a passion-taxing (although sometimes passion-fueling) class. it's a big gamble and i don't have the crazy eights for it. first impressions of my other classes:

third world cinema: eye-opening for a first lecture. exploration of the "voiceless" (a tired term but that resonates painfully true in the movies of this class.) the professor is surprisingly young, says "yalls" a lot, and is an anti-establishment "hegemony" fanatic. very fuck hollywood (and not in the superficial "the matrix" way.)
intro to photography: guilty pleasure. i should have gone to my computer 3d modeling class (less fun, but more crucial, especially in this revolutionary time when 3d technology and the internet will have unimaginable effects on the environment, or on our perception of the environment, real or otherwise.) sounds cool, but a hobby's a hobby, and my unit delegation is spare. gonna drop it.
urbanization of developing countries: i feel like crying in lecture. incredibly moving and intelligent. the professor drops all sorts of knowledge from all sorts of spectrums. the reading is immense but it's the stuff that i read for fun anyways. beautiful. i pray that i get past the waitlist.
visual autobiography: never trust a class that has comic sans mas as its official syllabus font. full of fluffy art and snobby hipsters: i spot 4 black rimmed weezer glasses, 5 mop tops (including me, i suppose), and 6 kids adorned in bright colored ironic t-shirts. my politeness made me stay (it will be the death of me) but now i will drop it.
poetry for the people: a whole lot of dirty poets. my kind of people.

i will now shop around for 2 new classes... potentially a digital film editing class (called the "digital video: architecture of time"... the words "video" and "architecture" in the same course title, is this fate, my love?), a landscape drawing class (because my sketch drawings are messy like david choe, but the beauty through ugliness thing ain't coming through, it's just ugly), or that 3d modeling class.

me talking about all my new classes and shit, did i just bore you, or what?

Monday, August 25, 2003

it's that time of month again when we re-evaluate dreams. i felt like a shadow yesterday, like i had forgotten how to love. maybe it's because i had the flu, but let's not point fingers at anyone. this a reconstruction period. i'm not where i want to be yet. i'm almost there though. so close. this semester will be a semester of preparation. i need to get ready. something is coming.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

i'm stuck in traffic today. for a butt long time. so i go through my cd case, pull out songs, and assemble a mixtape. err, mix-cd (i christen it "what's that in your cd case? vol I") i burn it at this hour because i am currently unable to sleep (i will regret my postponment of sleep tomorrow morning.)

james brown - superbad
rjd2 - bus stop bitties
captain funkaho - my 2600
lovage - stroker ace
joyo velarde - people like me
dj shadow and latyrx - storm warning
blackalicious - sky is falling
jorge ben - comanche
atmosphere - god's bathroom floor
blk sonshine (ft. masauko chipembere) - building
talib kweli (ft. mos def) - joy
michael franti and spearhead - sometimes
typical cats - what you thought hops
binary star - slang blade
j-live - yes
cunninlynguists - linguistics
latyrx - lady don't tek no
cody chesnutt - look good in leather

ahh, funkay... getchoo soul on, buh, buh.
i was supposed to write poems today. i was supposed to call contacts for the concert/poetry event today. i was supposed to wash the dog today. i was supposed to watch "family guy" with jeremy today. i was supposed to, i was supposed to, i was supposed to, blah, blah, blah.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

"wonder boys" beautiful dope movie (and witty, don't you love witty things?) essential watching for anyone who wants to be a writer. "adaptation" too.

i also picked up a gilberto gil/jorge ben cd today. awesome listen! straight up fun and funky all the way from brasil. great music to write to. that and peanut butter wolf's "jukebox 45" joint.

Monday, August 18, 2003

wow. i just bumrushed out a short film script. i think i did a decently dope job, if i may be so cocky, not too bad for a first draft. i still think i could push it even further. i'm adapting one of the most beautiful short stories i've ever read into a potential short film. a love story that deals with the imaginary and the "what ifs" we always get hung up on.

quick life updates:

- home is full of good food. jeremy's hair is crazy long. mom is smiling. dad wears a wig to a barmitzvah. i am blackmailed into wearing a tuxedo. we have a dog named rufio ("small legs, BIG DONG!" says my brother.)
- "regret" will be screened (so far) at the san diego asian film festival and the san francisco korean media arts film festival. we never knew that we would get this far with a project that we almost gave up on (the moral: never give up on your shit, no matter how ugly it looks.) extremely exciting.
- theatre rice is tight, jason and i anticipate some good designing fun. i want to get out of acting, it's just not my thing right now.
- my thing right now: poetry. i will be a student teacher poet for june jordan's poetry 4 the people class. how frigging dope is that!
- my other thing: fuck crecno. trying to organize a concert/poetry to raise awareness about prop 54.
- missing moon: children book will be illustrated by jean, who can make magic happen with the pen. it's going to be unbelievable.
- architecture: i exploded, wanted to give up, sacrificed sleep, cash, and parties, posted sad aim away messages (chris chen: "dude. what's with the 'fuck everything' away messages?"), but still had some serious fun along the whole damn way. rockin' the creativity until i cry...
- school: hey, i dropped cognitive science. alright!
- books: reading the howard zinn reader and "almost transparent blue" by ryu murakami. insane shit.
- politics: can you say "howard dean in 2004?"
- food: had thit kho for dinner.
- rsf: i WILL work out more.
- room: a total mess.
- sara: beautiful.

please, don't let me be a dreamer, let me be a lifer. dreams are kisses we chase, born with a sweet-smell in the morning but soon to grow ancient (maybe it's too late, our dreams have gone to hide beneath the falling pink sky.) a life is the fight that's worth the sorrow. too many people are afraid of the sorrow. let's hold each other accountable. if you catch me dreaming but not doing i'll blush red like a tomato, not knowing how to face you after writing such a brutal blog entry.

september is on its way.

one day, i would like to wake up like a gust of wind, overflowing with mapel leaves and freshness. i would like to dare people to tattoo poems all over my skin (who has the courage to pronounce something permanent?) i would like to sing a song to someone as i wash their hair. i would like to fill a hollow space in my palm with sunflower seeds. i would like to fight for my life, we are trapped in a corner, there is no water and food left, and the sun is going down and "they only come out at night." i would like to dance with you on the thin edge between days and draw it out for as long as possible.

there i go dreaming again.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

"uh... actually, you guys go ahead, i, um, forgot to do something," says a sly bernard suddenly after insisting on accompanying sara and me on a meteor catching adventure.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

it's an unfortunate potential tragedy that i've discovered the beauty of sputnik 7 right smack in the middle of the brouharhar of my architecture project and its relentlessly encroaching deadline.

have you witnessed thee mad march of the white stripes' "seven nation army"? the rebellious robotron of quannum's "i changed my mind"? the funky impostories of fatlips' "what's up, fatlip" (by spike jonze, no less)? all dope music videos, all on sputnik (home of some real amazing short films too, discovering them is like tasting necterines for the first time, and the beach air is in your hair, and a little dog scoots by on stumpy legs without knees.)

Sunday, August 10, 2003

even though i come home from architecture studios at 4:30 in the morning (thank you, sara, for driving me), i find myself unable to sleep at night, no matter how tired i am. these times, with gentle street cleaning machines buzzing in the distance, give me the opportunity (or curse) to think in my room. lately, i've been feeling moody and disheartened because of the desperate political and social landscapes we live in, here in america. it's a terribly tragic time. while the fall of saddam's regime is a relief to the whole world, the war on iraq is a living breathing testament to how our government manipulated us through lies and forged evidence, while costing us (and still costing us) a billion dollars a week to maintain. our economy is bankrupt, (we've lost millions of jobs in the past 3 years.) we're also living under the patriot's act, which grants the goverment's total access to all information, a nightmare straight out of orwell's 1984.

yes, the days are depressing.

but i am cheered.

i am cheered because of the power of blog (not a joke.) blogs are a revolution of free world-wide information for all. there are lot of beautiful and very well-informed blogs out there that are a wealth of information to read, such as the blogs of writer danny goldberg and the "the right christians". insane reads. i'm lost in these and their links for hours sometimes.

i am cheered because of the grass-roots activitsts. there's an incendiary passion at activists meetings (inspiring, until a heated debate.) i am trying to get more involved in activism this semester more so than ever. some amazingly creative and talented kids and i are all trying to destroy creno, one of the most fucked up and dangerous (and unfortunately little known) initiatives to come to california.

i am cheered by do it yourself media. i am empowered to the fullest effect in film (thank you andinh) and poetry (thank you jimmy.) the media is a language that we've lost but must now regain, train, and sing our hearts out with.

i am cheered by my loved ones, loved ones of crab and beer, thai temples brunches, long rides to los angeles and back, drunken freestyles, late night confessions at sun hong kong, songs at cafe jun, "24" marathons, birthday kidnappings, architecture all-nighters, sproul sunbathing, walking the dog, rice pinkies, fried chicken, and waffles, and getting lost on freeways after a late night movie.

i am cheered by jimmy and ed's birthdays.

and now, i will be cheered by sleep.


Friday, August 08, 2003

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

today in lecture i realize that i want to die in a village where you can tell what season it is by listening to the songs the villagers sing. school children will sing songs of spring in the morning as i leave home for work and that night as i return on a beaten path, i will hear an old guitarist cry like winter soft rain. maybe that place is somewhere in vietnam, or the southern coast of france, or somewhere that i don't even dare to imagine, somewhere out there in the deep blue wide, a place of footprints in the sands, burnt bread in the air, and the moon dancing on our roofs.

my last words would be "everything in its right place," but quoting radiohead would be corny, especially such words as those.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

"Dear Ann:

This really happened in a town near mine and never fails to bring me a chuckle. A woman frantically rushed into an emergency room with one palm pressed against the back of her head. She claimed she had been shot from behind while driving her car and that she had driven to the hospital with one hand while using the other to keep her brains from spilling out. The emergency team reacted quickly, knowing how precious each bit of brain tissue was to the woman's functioning in the future. Soon enough, however, they were able to piece together what had actually happened. The woman had been to the supermarket and placed her groceries in the back seat of her car, which was very hot from sitting in the sun. As she was driving home, a bullet apparently fired from at least a half-mile away passed through the glass in her back window and had just enough velocity to enter the scalp at the back of her skull. The "brains" that the woman thought she was holding in was actually just a mixture of blood and cerebrospinal fluid!"

from ann landers' parallel universe
"just in case there's any misunderstanding, you will be living in studio for the next ten days. you can only go home to eat and sleep."

"what about shower?"

"not even that."

our architecture teacher warning us on the gloom and doom of the final days of architecture.

ps: need another reason to no vote for george w. bush in 2004? how about one thousand more?

Sunday, August 03, 2003

read znet to learn about why 11 million children die each year.

micheal moore's website is a very rousing read. if you haven't seen "bowling for columbine" yet, i implore - i say, implore - you to watch it.

she comes to america, america the bright, america the light
she comes to america the same reason a moth comes to a lightbulb
she comes to become fire
to become fire, as in bright, as in fiery, as incendiary as your imagination
she comes to become fire
but instead
she's fired upon
a ghost under the shells of a gun

cau tran
mother of two
you didn't expect this, didn't you?

you dial 911
but when did 911 stop meaning a call for help
and start meaning a call for guns
9 is the trigger
1 is the bullet
1 is the last

thanks to the boys in blue
with the white stars
and now red stains too

when a mother dies, not just a light goes out, a darkness goes in
a darkness goes into not only the home that she leaves behind
but into the hearts of two children alone

(i write as i ride a bus at 2 am, this poem is unfinished, like most poems and, sad to say, most lives too.)

Friday, August 01, 2003

in case you don't know, creno (aka classification of race, ethnicity and national origin initiative) is a resolution proposed by ward connerly that would make the collection of any data on racial and ethnic information illegal for the university of california and other state government agencies. creno dreams of creating a race-blind society by keeping information, demographics, and statistics of ethnicity and race out of govermental reach.

this is an illegalization of information.

to ignore facts does not change them. to allow race to be seen but never noted, traced, or tracked, is unimaginably dangerous.

the anti-discrimination movement would be potentially destroyed. we won't be able to note race and ethnicity-based hate crimes, cases of racial profiling, work-place based discrimination, and racism in the housing market.

the chiasm in educational opportunities between racial groups could be even further widened. demographics show that african-american and latino students have less access to ap opportunities, trained teachers, and attend schools with fewer financial resouces. without this information, how can we make change?

there are drastic differences in the type of care, the quality of care, and the availability of health care between whites and racial and ethnic minorities (even when they have comparable medical issurance.) disease patterns also differ between ethnic groups (for example: vietnamese women have the highest invasive cervical cancer incidence rates of all women, and latino women rank second highest.) medical and social research would be hurt dramatically.

to have justice, we have to be able to identify injustice, its causes, and its effects. creno won't make racism or discrimination dissapear.

please, say no to creno.

and then please, do whatever you can to stop this from happening. you know better than i what it is that you can secretly accomplish.