Thursday, April 29, 2004

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

mixtape dvd

thinking/dreaming about putting together a mixtape-dvd over summer, during those 4 weeks between graduation and summer school. a collage of visual stuff, not just sounds. all the lovely, cool footage and videos and experimentations in color. i know you - you who read my blog. y'all just like me. media/music/movie junkies and hopeless romantics. making mixtapes is always a personal process, but i'd love to hear what you'd like to put on a "mixtape dvd," what are the wildest things you've seen with your very own eyes?

(everybody, whether or not you're political, whether or not you're hip hop, you need to watch david ellis' "letter to the president," featuring the barnstormers graf collective. it's absolutely eye gouging.)
wish i was five again, a thousand lego blocks plastered on the carpet on the 14th floor of an apartment building, a building with green tiles trying to look like a tree growing in the city, this is hong kong, and i am used to bicycling through the sticky stomachs of underground parking lots, or on dusty rooftops high enough for my hair to tickle the lovehandles of clouds. i am catching butterflies with my breath, letting my feet dangle on the outskirts of our balcony, trying to peer at the cracking sunlight running along the jutting contours of this city.

now i'm twenty-one, lying on the floor on the top floor of barrows, watching a spider try to tango along the ribs of a railing where andinh once threw a dummy from.

i sharpen my spine with the two front teeth i lost long ago. i don't know why i'm feeling this way, times like this, there's no room for nostalgia.

Monday, April 26, 2004


this stuff ain't even newsworthy. put it together mostly so my moms might be proud of me. a chronicle of little exciting creative things i'm taking part in. will update it whenever new opportunities come up.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

i found the broken english conference in uc davis to be very bittersweet - i suppose you can't change the world in a single afternoon. if there is one thing to take away from the conference it's to ask a question that needs an answer so desperately now: when was the last time we were part of a YES campaign? NO on prop 187, NO on prop 54, NO on outreach budget cuts. we spend our time fighting back instead of fighting forward. if there are two things to take from this conference it's how you don't need a conference to talk about things and coalition build. all it takes is a sunny hour in the afternoon with ducks, poets, tissues stuck up our noses, and a glimpse of our backbones through the lens of a video camera.

"you know what the funny thing is? how in college you can make the work of 5 people seem like the work of hundreds..."

Friday, April 23, 2004

sony purchases movie rights to richard clarke's book

whoa. whoa - was i the last one to hear about this one? sony is making a movie out of richard clarke's against all enemies?

in typical movie-geek fashion, let's play cast the characters. i say:

ron perlman as george w. bush, philip seymour hoffman as dick cheney, mickey rourke as donald rumsfeld, steve buscemi in drag as condoleezza rice, morgan freeman as colin powell, catherine o'hara as laura bush, and tim roth as richard clarke.

can i just tell you how dazzling the blue scholars album is?

managed to nab it from fellow vietnamese soundhustler dandiggity two weeks ago at the collegiate slam bouts at Berkeley – at the nick of time too, just before Theresa Vu got her greedy fingers on em. this is blue school, folks. the beats are all blue, like the bruises on our hands after banging the sky one time too much. geologic wields the microphone beautifully.

bamboo, kiwi, geo, denizen kane and offwhyte from chicago, good ol' chops, prach ly, the friendly neighborhood magnetic north kids... a damn nice time for the apa underground.

if you haven't picked up the kiwi cd yet, shame! shame! also, shame on you if you don't know the unstoppable typical cats. while i dug denizen's solo record, his "tree city legends" and "lost found nation" songs are WAY doper without the beats or guitar riffs – the last track on the re-issued 2 tongues record is breathtaking.

(but... man, was i the only one slightly disappointed by chops' latest?)

Thursday, April 22, 2004

welcome to schizotopia. school's making me lose my mind, and it doesn't help that all i'm reading these days are postmodern/supermodern hyper-real jargon like slavoj zizek, jean baudrillard, and george orwell, nor does it help that all i'm listening to these days are dystopic shit like el-p and iron and wine. slightly paranoid about the future - i'm an overly abstract achitecture major with a resume that's all over the place. the world's going to eat me up, but that's exciting, i suppose.

diggin' through a book a day - i'm obsessive, i know, but i can't stop with all these research papers. yesterday was "welcome to the desert of the real" by sizek, today is "IN" magazine, tomorrow it'll be "making and remaking asian america" by bill ong hing.

me and my mates are graduating soon. some cats are going straight into law school and grad school, others are going abroad for a bit - vietnam, china, germany, et al, other people are finding leads in dc or boston, or hopefully with fancy architects overseas... but some of us, most of us, we don't know what's happening next. we're naive and ignorant, we don't know better so we'll do what we want.

fuggit, let's just be filmmakers and rock stars, paint the world yellow and pink

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

this has to be a dream.

andinh, lili, an, carolyn, trung, and jennifer - thank you, we plant trees with our blood veins as roots.

these next two week: suji kwock kim, broken english conference in uc davis (ill-literacy and dandiggity, what), poetry 4 the people final readings, tourette without regrets (cal slam team is featuring), and three papers to write (on refugees, the end of cities, and the cinematic city.) poetry and papers - i'm more than loving it.

oh, and of course, a long-awaited coffee date at cafe milano.

Monday, April 19, 2004

damn, head still in the clouds from this weekend. how am i supposed to study with all these thoughts scampering through my head? sorry that i refused those lovely flowers - felt that there were many more people who deserved them than me (thank you jimmy, melanie, kathy, jolyn, nkauj iab, mike, vinh, hai, annabel, cindy, david, peter gee, old man, phatrick, stephanie, amorette, carina, cristina, j. lo, wanda, nancy, ronnie, and many more that i'm forgetting right now.) we merry-makers are unstoppable.

but, damn. big ups to david huang of poetic dream. he's got such a gorgeous eye. documentarian of the arts and activism movement, every step of the way. please, take a look at the rest of his til our chest burn pictures. beautiful through and through.

(now if only i could get some pictures of the vsa culture show - kathy bach where you at?)

Sunday, April 18, 2004

we're scribing words out of the same ink of consciousness. mad props to the pcn crew - i'd love to hold all your hands, you make us vietnamese folks blush. we've all got birds in our eyes - a crow nesting in one socket and a sparrow in the other. one is to honor the dead, the other to wake the living. duct tape our mouths shut, our eyes will never stop talking.

mused with helene about how it'd be like if we could combine both culture shows into one element - if we could turn up two stereos bumping cassette tapes of vietnoise and pinoise at the same time.

(which reminds me, i never told you about a double date i went on - AWKWARD!)

can't wait til i develop this weekend's lomos.

days like this makes me wish i could breakdance - headspin in the rain until i grow gills.
no need for time marks, no need for dates, these feelings go on and on, rolling clumsily like a chubby cat after a strong sip of cider. thank you for sharing them with me. all you gorgeous, beautiful, and dangerous, stand up! where we'll go from here no one knows.


i'm on a bart train - junichi is waiting for me in a burger king somewhere in san francisco. mitsuye yamada is still on the tip of my tongue, met ruth forman a week ago and will meet suji kwock kim in two. if i wasn't so shy i'd dance on the train - slow steps, some words need to be written slower than others.


jimmy knocks on my door and we watch beatboxing on his camcorder. he gives me a copy of his chapbook and i wonder skeptically if i'll ever finish mine. he calls his chapbook the i-pod of all chapbooks. it is - compact and available in different colors.


lili is mute, caroline is blind, and andinh is deaf.


stressed as if there's sulfur caught in my nose. my cell phone rings, a number i don't recognize, 415 area code - it must be ed, who has a pair of black curtains i urgently need. i tunnel into the phone, hissing like hornets.

a pause.

"this isn't, ed... it's denizen kane, how you feelin'?" comes the reply.


i catch s at the corner of my eye - she smiles something that stitches my lips shut, eyes left bigger than the sky.


kiwi rips our arms from our sockets and turns our feet into doodlebugs. odessa chen sings and we all feel like we're soaking in the wind. denizen kane leaves us drunk on our gasps.


i'm surrounded by friends and cheap chinese food yet i'm quiet - i can't share an ounce of words. phatrick is dissing cantonese people, melanie is waving at me from across the table, and christine is wondering where her vegetable chow mein is. i'm surrounded by people so beautiful uttering a single word might ruin the moment.


i've been holding it in for five days but it finally comes out, at 2:30 in the morning: i bawl in bed, mumbling the words "thank you" over and over again into a pillow.


i'm on my knees in front of my bathroom mirror, begging my grandfather to come out from under the fat muscle just below the lining of my eye. he's crouched in there, laughing like sparks cracking. i want to look like you, your blistered hands, your sun bleached hair. give me a song and i'll whisper it through my fingertips juking against the lining of someone else's skin.


i wipe the wrinkles out of lili's cheek, she writes the word "home" on my shoulder blade.


andinh tells me that it doesn't feel like it's over - no, it doesn't... but isn't that the beauty of it? how this journey begins and never ends.


jean tells me that i made her cry - take that fumihiko maki.


we're all walking up a surprisingly quiet durant avenue - diane, cyrus, s, and i. we have one of those streetcorner goodbyes that are happily unsuccessful, long stares, head nods, and murmurs of half-jokes and the possibilities of tomorrow.


i'm holding a fistfull of feathers that will teach me how to fly. unground me, the sky is a bed sheet and it's tangled in dreams. tattoo a nightcap onto my scalp, i'm shot full of holes and each bone, breath, and nerve in me are drifting out of my skin, lifting into the damp air, feet kicking, fists pounding, finally breaking free...


Saturday, April 17, 2004

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

what annoys me about architecture students is that most cats don't give a rats ass about politics, won't vote for the asuc election, and care little about anything except the latest electrochromatic glass window - and these will be the kids who will be building our futures (thank you freedom tower!) nah, i'm just in a sleep-deprived bad mood - there are plenty of beautiful conscious activist folks in the architecture program (kirk, ed wendorf, christine, kathy b, etc...)

get out there and vote, y'all.

because calserve pulled together together all the nor cal schools to fight against prop 54, and calserve will continue the fight to save outreach and retention programs. calserves kids like liz hall and mike sheen are always down for the issues, know how to lobby in sacramento, and have experience organizing grassroots campaign. student action, well, they're endorsed by the cal patriot .

i'm voting annalyn, betty and brent.

our student government will represent us to sacramento, to the governor, to the uc regents, to the high schools, to the local organizations, to the educators, and to all the students across california and the nation. what do you want to say?

Monday, April 12, 2004

look what we made, mom. god bless spring rods, fresh sandblasters, and the milling machine.

tomorrow is day one of can't sleep won't sleep week.

moody, and slightly nervous. gonna give a lecture on the refugee experience and vietnamese/vietnamese american poetry in a few days, i'll have to represent some crazy dope viet poets... le minh thu, christian nguyen langworthy, bao phi, du tu le, thuong vuong-riddick, truong tran, jimmy thong tran, and more.

le minh thu, age thirteen

once mother told me.
"you were born in the Year of the Dog
and when the next Year of the Dog comes
you will be thirteen and strong enough
to help your father in the rice fields."

now I am thirteen
but have seen no dogs in our village:
"they would disturb the guerillas at night,"
my mother said, softly.

nor have I seen my father:
"he gave his life for the mountains and rivers of Viet Nam."
my mother said, weeping.

how I could interpret the events of my youth, events I do not remember except in dreams
christian nguyen langworthy

because I was newly adopted
child from another country
(a prostitute's son in a Vietnamese
city bristling with rifles
and as a result of my mother's truancy
from motherhood I was given
to nuns and locked within the confines
of missionary walls)
I crossed the perilous south china sea
and pacific in three days
(barely surviving anti-aircraft fire)
aboard an eight prop-engine plane.
I came to this country
to a nine-inch carpet of snow
and a sure welcome of strangers
engaged with the possibilities of parenthood.

my new beginning consisted of firsts:
first experience snowfall in America-
(how it was magic in a fairy tale land)
first toilet flushings,
(at the airport, when I flushed every
toilet in the men's room to my new
father's delight)
and another notable first-
the first cartoon I ever saw on saturday
morning: bugs bunny and elmer fudd,
and how there were no wounded or dead
from the flying bullets
and I laughed so hard I cried
though I did not understand their language then.

as the years of my second life progressed,
my adopted parents tried so to be
a good father and mother and to the cinema
we went, and I saw the children?s epics:

snow white and the seven dwarfs
and sleeping beauty; at home my mother read
fairy tales to me, tales like rumpelstiltskin
and I learned
the false beauty of the wicked witch,
the castle besieged by thorns,
the terror of the kidnapped son.
I could have told them I'd seen these tales
before, but I was too young to know the difference.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

we are made out of honey, motherfuckers - congratulations to the uc berkeley slam team. jimmy tran, mush, jose, and josh, yall are too gorgeous. kids were crying all over. sage francis skydived with broken wings, stephen from rice ripped it, jazz cats from michigan, long live the suicide kings and you haven't really lived til you've seen kid beyond do his thing.

poetry was so dope tonight - wish i had it on dvd.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

got a ghostly itch that won't go away, these will be a painful nine days

Friday, April 09, 2004

i hate you college of environmental design. hate.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

double dutch bus on the tip of her tongue, writing with all five of her senses, lingering a moment longer on the sense of taste, hence all the yam and sweet potato pies, death to all adverbs and adjectives (useless), it's all about powerful verbs and nouns, speak the truth and nothing but the truth and you'll learn things about yourself that you never knew was there (after each poem she writes she comes out a different person), and lose the "to be" verbs, unless you want to slow things down and find comfort in that. yes, i fell in love with ruth forman tonight. we all did.

poetry should ride the bus

poetry should hopscotch in a polka dot dress
wheel cartwheels
n hold your hand
when you walk past the yellow crack house

poetry should wear bright red lipstick
n practice kisses in the mirror
for all the fine young men with fades
shootin craps around the corner

poetry should dress in fine plum linen suits
n not be so educated that it don't stop in
every now n then to sit on the porch
and talk about the comins and goins of the world

poetry should ride the bus
in a fat woman's Safeway bag
between the greens n chicken wings
to be served with tuesday's dinner

poetry should drop by a sweet potato pie
ask about the grandchildren
n sit through a whole photo album
on an orange plastic covered lazyboy with no place to go

poetry should sing red revolution love songs
that massage your scalp
and bring hope to your blood
when you think you're too old to fight

poetry should whisper electric blue magic
all the years of your life
never forgettin to look you in the soul
every once in a while
n smile

- ruth

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

penpals in iraq

a family in baghdad hold a joint blog ("mother: Faiza, sons: Raed, Khaled and Majid writing down their diaries. Father: Azzam is not interested") listen to the war through the ears of a mother:

our neighbour rang us in the late night, be careful and don’t go out, he said.
"they are holding RPGs in the nearby Husainyya (Shia mosque) and waiting for Americans to come, they want to burn them"
i couldn't sleep yesterday's night... feeling nervous and waiting for explosions...

the oldest son raed delivers it through and through from the war front, he drops things on the political tip, tripping us up and dropping his perspective on what's going on (often drastically different than what we hear on the news, his slams bremer, bush, and speaks on the real deal on the rise of assadr, the political and religious leader of millions in iraq dismissed as an "outlaw" by us intelligence.) watch how raed drops the bomb:

Most of the people that I know (including myself) were against this war... and still are...
Why? Because we are Baathists and Saddamists? Because we are masochists who enjoyed living in the horrible life under the Iraqi government?
It was because we understood that the modifying must come from INSIDE... even if it took decades or centuries.

I know that I can't come to Texas and tell people what to do...
Or to London... or to Madrid...
Not because I don't have enough ideas... it is because my ideas will be OUT OF CONTEXT.

his brothers khalid and majid have their own blogs too - thoughts from teenagers backpacking through a city under siege.

interesting trivia note: raed is the titular person in salaam pax's heartbreaking blog dear raed, probably the most well known and most widely talked about iraqi blog out there. i'm still a neophyte when it comes to iraqi blogs - not well versed in them by any means - but this is some crazy captivating reading. other iraqi blogs that i just found are river's baghdad burning and zeyad's healing iraq. listen to a city crumble under the breaths of our daughters, from zeyad's blog:

Sorry for the depressing note. It seems like everything is back under control, at least from what I can see in my neighbourhood. There is an eerie silence outside, only dogs barking. Until about an hour ago, it sounded like a battlefield, and we had flashbacks of last April. I don't know what happened, but there were large plumes of smoke from the direction of Adhamiya and Kadhimiya. I wanted to take some pictures but my father and uncle both said they would shoot me on the spot if I tried, they were afraid the Apaches would mistake us for troublemakers and fire at us. I'm dreading tomorrow.

god, i feel like there's a ring of blue bees circling around my head - i've got so much to do, can't think straight. might have to ditch class tomorrow to catch up on things.

your poems gotta be so fresh your words smell like dandelions, old ladies go to the market to buy your lines ($8.99 a pound) in pink paper wraps and when their grandchildren barbeque your stanzas with lemon juice... smoke doesn't rise up out of fire - butterflies do.

these next few weeks will be rich with poetry

this week is the motherfucking college slam finals (sage francis and mike mcgee are ripping our campus on saturday!) jimmy and the cal slam team, mush, jose, and josh, have been tearing it up like crazy lately. they've been damn unbelievable on the mic. schools from all over the nation are coming to compete. you can't miss any of the bouts. peep jimmy's blog for the info.

the incredible ruth forman, mitsude yamada, and suji kwock kim are all coming to poetry 4 the people in the next few weeks. you better believe it! three of the most amazing women poets out there will be coming to rock it.

denizen kane, golda supanova, odessa chen, kiwi and many damn more at til our chests burn concert... the save outreach/sasc summer institute 2004 benefit concert... the thing that has engulfed my life since day one of this semester. i still can't believe i managed to put together such an insane line-up, my jaw is still dropped somewhere by my socks. come through yall. do this for the kids.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

diggin' dj spooky's book rhythm science, imagine a collabo piece spit by dj kool herc and gilles deleuze. the subliminal kid's writing style is aight, sort of on the vague as depth tip (but who am i to criticize?) i mean, it's dope, giving me some neato ideas. i'll share some more thoughts when i'm done.

Friday, April 02, 2004

scoped the ant farm exhibit today at the berkeley art museum. rebellious architects, filmmakers, and cadillac-enthusiasts from the 60s and 70s. they tried to hype up inflatable architecture (blow-up buildings) back in the day but it didn't catch on. they played with fire - guerilla filmmakers fixed up a cadillac and drove it through a mountain of burning tvs - and the sad irony was that their studio burned down to a crisp in 1978, destroying their lifeworks and forcing them to disband.

an underground collective of wackos throwing together insane architecture, planting cadillacs in the earth like lilacs, and shooting movies after movies?

damn, what a dope lifestyle. let's do this. let's bend our creative backbones, snap our fingers, shake our thighs til our studio bursts into flames as well.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

noam chomsky comes out against voting for nader, who dissapointly comes off as a self-glorifying ego-tripper in his air america radio appearance last night - the transcript is a must read.

i'm dissapointed in how nader spent most of the interview attacking democrats (and his radio host) instead of addressing the issues talk show randi kept on throwing at him. but i'm also very dissapointed in the whole blame nader attitude a lot of democrats are taking - if they know that nader is a strong enough presence to push the election into republican hands, why haven't they come up with a better solution than name-calling and finger pointing? why haven't they brought progressives into the fold?

(ain't it so cool that noam chomsky has a blog? if only charlie kaufman had a blog...)
makeagodamnfilmbytheendofthesemester - entry 2

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind left a kiss on my lips that won't go away. i love how gondry did it all with just natural lighting and a janky flashlight duct taped to his camcorder. best scene is the slow fade of the house on the beach, the dream of facing a regret.

i've been loving like mad kaufman's adventures in films. he's ravaging our celluloid geographies like he's on redbull and rum, tearing down the fourth wall and kickflipping through our (film saturated) brains. how he makes mischief with our fascination for john malkovich, our (mis)understandings on traditional screenplays, and flashbacks... i have a feeling that his movies are about watching movies (sort of like the truman show or edtv... but slightly different.) the audience are the main actors, the ones sucked and directly engaged in the movie itself.

in other words, eternal sunshine is the gay parade - gosh damn beautiful and simply unstoppable. cop the soundtrack now, rock beck and the polyphonic spree all the way to school.

the music video school of film has been sending us some dope movie-makers of late: spike jonze and michel gondry can't stop, won't stop. can't wait til chris cunningham drops a movie. jonas ackerlund, who made the crazy "smack my bitch up" video for prodigy, recently did "spun," which was understandly slept on - it doesn't work as a movie but it's interesting if you look at it as an experiment in style, like fifty music videos strung together (mickey rourke was dope in it tho, but the dopest rourke film is still "the year of the dragon." have you seen it? a racist - or is it critical - movie about an anti-asian cop trying to take down chinatown gangsters.)

in other news, if you can, come through this friday to the pro arts gallery in oakland (8-ish): proletariat bronze is performing and they're screening regret and a video by helene park!

(also, casting is set for the next short! a lot of us are going to make our own short films at the same time, it should be quite crazy.)

bending steel with my mind, or at least a 1000 degree pure white heat flame thrower. god, architecture is such a fresh major.