Polygon's 20 Best Films Born From The Asian Diaspora

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

From writer Siddhant Adlakha:

The task of exploring “Asianness” in cinema falls on a variety of shoulders. In America, “Asian” usually means you’re Chinese or Japanese, or occasionally Korean, regardless of where in East Asia you’re from. In the U.K., it means you’re Indian or Pakistani. In reality, it’s a much wider umbrella, yet at the same time, a reductive pigeonhole. Such is the burden of post-colonial identity, the idea that even as filmmakers, one’s outlook as an immigrant — or as the child or grandchild of immigrants — must, at once, adhere to certain ideas of what constitutes “Asian” while simultaneously transcending them.

“You are not Asian; you are Other,” I remember being told as a teen in Mumbai, India, Asia, while filling out an SAT form. At the time I was called this thing, this “Other” — a mere category on paper that now feels insidious — I hadn’t even made my way to America to study yet, and I was already feeling an imposed contortion on my identity. But to what degree, I wonder, do I or my American-born cousins overlap with what is largely described as Asian-American culture? We work with the language (and within the boxes) prescribed by a white, English-speaking status quo, and whether we want to or not, our work in media constitutes a tapestry of what it means to be Asian in the rest of the world. And what a year it was to make a film that would inevitably be brought under the label of Asian, regardless of intent.

In America, “Asian August” was a watershed moment, wherein the teen rom-com To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the Kevin Kwan adaptation Crazy Rich Asians and the screen-life thriller Searching were simultaneously on screens. Yet America’s year of Asian excellence arguably began in January: Cathy Yan’s yet-unreleased Dead Pigs made waves at Sundance, leading to her being tapped to direct DC’s Birds of Prey; ChloĆ© Zhao’s monumental Native American Western The Rider finally hit screens in April, and she was subsequently hired to make Marvel movie The Eternals. In June, Chinese-Canadian empty-nest-syndrome short Bao by Domee Shi was seen by audiences worldwide before Incredibles 2, leading to her being hired for her first feature. Chinese-American Dave Callaham is all set to write Marvel’s Shang-Chi. And while superhero movies are by no means the only indicator of cinematic success, they’re a barometer of the ways in which Hollywood is slowly but surely widening its scope.

Read the full list @ https://www.polygon.com/2018/12/20/18139166/best-asian-movies-filmmakers-2018?fbclid=IwAR0xtlaRhQDmZbIDzgtho-QlUu71aNQ2bXuJWwsv-hiY4_TDd3MQhWlzpRQ

R. Kelly Is Off The Playlist (AKA Surviving R. Kelly AKA That Was Needed)

Monday, January 14, 2019

The relationship someone has with music and film, the arts - and themselves and their lives - it can be complicated. It's personal. One of the questions brought up early in literature is whether you should disassociate the author's personal life - know nothing about them - before reading their works. That this will influence you and how you see them.

It permeates outside the sphere of literature as well.

In this case--specific to the music of R. Kelly, or for instance in the case of Woody Allen in film, I don't think you can. I don't think those two questions are quantitatively the same.

One just holds more weight than the other.

Watching "Surviving R. Kelly"--I just can't forget about the person, and only live with the artist. I can't.

And I've been guilty of using the "Well...I don't really listen to him anymore, it's just those old 'classics'. And I never watched the film, I heard both parties said it wasn't them." and I think like others in a lot of communities--and thinking about the relationship to the projects, people, the films, the churches, the pop culture--we did turn a blind eye at worst, or at best claimed not having all the knowledge giving benefit of the doubt, and maybe at times saying "Trying to bring another man of color down..."

And that could be steeped in culture, community, faith, race, structures that already existed because of all of them combined. Listening to all the interviews in "Surviving R. Kelly" you can draw the lines and connect the points.

It's that much harder--and I'll say impossible, to refute anything as rumor or conjecture.

I just can't have it.

And it is complicated--those are some songs from the soundtrack of my and many other people's lives...when life is good you hold on to all of it because you don't know if it happens again. You don't know what the next day holds. So you keep a piece of that memory. That vibe. Because it may soothe you later on.

But when it really comes down to it--should that take precedence?

In the end, I should be able to choose the safety and well being of Black Girls and Black Women easily over the songs of R. Kelly.

I should be able to say no to a system that in some ways values the lives of Women of Color as less then those of White Women.

And there're other songs.

Other memories.

Just like there are other movies and other films to take my time versus a Woody Allen movie, there are other songs to take my time other than R. Kelly's.

"Surviving R. Kelly" was needed. It shed light on so much that someone like myself didn't know (and I say that in a somber way because I still knew enough). I didn't know he hung out at high schools and malls like that. I didn't know he was even married or that he had kids. Or what his wife went through. Or that the girl in the video was that young (I thought she was older/of age when it all happened and I didn't follow everything at those times--at least that's my memory now). Or that to this day he's still a predator, legal or not. All of these stories, all of these conversations, it's almost so mind boggling how truly long it has been able to go on for (and is still going on in different permutations)--but that's also what the documentary did--it delved into the deep relationships we have with music and art, those who make it, and how it affects us on a very personal level and the reasons "why".

I wish I had come to this conclusion earlier.

That somehow I would have paid more attention, that I didn't gloss over the court cases.

That I didn't try to X out the bad with the good and give benefit of the doubt, thereby sanctioning his actions for a good vibe--even though there's more to that statement, when boiled down that's what it is.

That I didn't give myself excuses.

But I am here now and I think that's important, and I think it's important as an Asian American POC that if I think about other stands I take--how can I not stand where I am now?

Retro Interviews: Publisher Nghi Huynh

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Interview with Nghi Huynh, Asian American Press from Peter B. Myers on Vimeo.

It's That Time: The 100 AZNS List Of 2018!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Just like for 2017 - it's time for the list of awesome 100 AZNS for 2018!

In case you needed refreshing on where this list came from and why it was created here's the mission (from the inaugural season in 2017).

100 AZNS is here to document and showcase the immense talents, creativity, and leadership among Asian-Americans [...] Heavily influenced by The Root 100, 100 AZNS was born out of initial skepticism that enough Asian-Americans could even fill a list. The result was the compilation of a wildly long list of many hundreds. The following represents only a selection of many who are putting in the work, livin their best lives, and inspiring positive change. Congratulations to this year's 100!!

Created & Designed by Leah Nichols
Contributors: Vicky Chao, Elisa Gyotoku, Suejean Kim, Lindsay Meyer, Binh Nguyen, Maddie Raffel, Andrew Stenson, Diana Wu

This year - for 2018 - here's a little more from creator and designer (and award winning filmmaker) Leah Nichols from "Notes from 100 AZNs":

100 AZNs reclaims “Asian American” on our own terms. The widespread dissociation from “Asian American” on an individual level is a subconscious f*ck you to the uninspiring, at best, and dangerous, at worst, dominant narrative about Asian American identity. White supremacy’s historic perversion of “Asian American” lumps together all Asian subcultures in order to encourage a pro-model minority/anti-Black agenda as well as further inequality between East Asians and Southeast Asians. Overshadowed is the initial intentions of “Asian American” set by Chinese, Filipinx and Japanese students to unify Asians across subcultures during anti-Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement organizing. Similar to the first call in 1968, this is a time for pan-Asian solidarity.

For the full read go to the Medium post.


Take it in. Feel honored. And definitely check out the official page here where you can download the PDF in full and view some other great info.


I Want More: Theater Mu And Its Split With Its Artistic Director Randy Reyes

Monday, January 07, 2019

First, here's the text from the message from their site:

Dear Theater Mu Community,
From its inception, Theater Mu has been dedicated to producing performances born of arts, equity, and justice from the heart of the Asian American experience. We aspire to celebrate and empower Asian Americans through theater. In doing so, Theater Mu is committed to maintaining a welcoming and equitable environment.

A few months ago, Theater Mu received complaints about its artistic director. While our investigation into the matter did not find that any unlawful conduct occurred, we discovered conduct that did not reflect the culture we strive to achieve at Mu and did not reflect the high standards to which we hold Mu leadership. After reflection, the board has concluded that Mu must end his employment with the organization. We are grateful for all that he has brought to Mu over the years, and are disappointed that it has come to this conclusion.

Theater Mu remains, more than ever, dedicated to its mission, to the Asian American actor’s community, and to the Asian American community in the Twin Cities. Though this is a difficult and disappointing time, we believe that Theater Mu has the ability to learn, grow, and change from this experience. We hope to have the opportunity to demonstrate this over the next few months.


Theater Mu Board of Directors

I can understand the reasoning with some things needing to be "behind the scenes" and go from there. What people don't know, they don't know, and in a lot of cases - they don't need to know.

It's none of their business.

And I can relate in that way, especially if there are "skirmishes" in the community (whatever portions of those communities you belong too), or everyone wants to save some face (and I think everyone gets that from an Asian perspective).

Keep it on the DL (or as much as you can) and move on.

I get it.

I understand the need for privacy in some cases.

I understand that less is more and sometimes that's better.


In this case though - I just feel like, the statement they put out, it leaves too much open to question - and I think you can ask questions on both sides.

Who were the complaints from?

What were they?

What was the conduct that did not reflect the culture Mu strove to achieve and did not reflect the high standards to which they held Mu leadership?

I think it's fair game to ask those questions - and note I don't know Randy Reyes personally per se - even though we are located in the same city. I have met him (1-2 times), and I did do an interview with him, and have seen plays that he's directed/starred in (I think maybe two). At the same time, I've also been to Theater Mu. I've seen plays there. I've met founder Rick Shiomi (1-2 times). We talked for a bit about myself possibly being on a media committee they were thinking about having (albeit nothing came out of that).

So in that way I don't have skin in this game. I'm not pulling for one or the other.

In that way - from an outsider's POV - I feel like both have done good things for the AAPI community and I feel like - in this era - it just leaves too much open up to question.

On both sides.

If one can ask themselves - as they will - what type of complaints there were against Randy Reyes (which could be all over the board) it's fair to ask if the culture at Mu played any part in allowing that conduct - doesn't it?

Was there an internal investigation into the organization itself, after the investigation into their own artistic director?

And who did the investigation?

Was it external or internal?

For a company like Theater Mu - which is a non-profit who gets tax breaks and donations and is a visible organization and community player - versus say a smaller group or one just getting started, etc. - I feel like it should be more transparent because it has a responsibility to do so (and I can certainly be taken to task for thinking size/reach, etc. plays a part in what gets disclosed).

But In The End

Maybe it's better this way for everyone.

Maybe it's okay to not say anything so Reyes can defend himself in private and move on in his career.

Maybe it's okay to not say anything so Mu can move forward and people can keep donating to their organization.

Maybe it's okay to not say anything so it can all get pushed under the rug for the sake of the Asian American community so that the community can move forward, because it's the Asian American community, and an organization in the Midwest, and why make anything harder than it needs to be?

YES! Sandra Oh WINS Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series Drama (AKA KILLING IT)

Sunday, January 06, 2019

How do you follow up being the first Asian American woman to host the the Golden Globes?

Oh yeah....

Just win Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series ― Drama for your show "Killing Eve".


The GOAT: Sandra Oh Takes On "Ghost In The Shell" And "Aloha" In Golden Globes Opener

Sunday, January 06, 2019

I loved the fact that Sandra Oh took on Ghost In The Shell And Aloha - and the whitewashing of Asian roles.

"Crazy Rich Asians is the first studio film with an Asian American lead since 'Ghost in the Shell' and 'Aloha.'"

My jaw literally dropped.

And what makes it even more AMAZING is that Emma Stone was on the stage fairly quickly afterwards presenting.

Thankfully - someone on twitter got it all - even Emma Stone in the crowd saying "I'm Sorry!"


Saturday, January 05, 2019

In Text

2019 will represent new beginnings for YOMYOMF. One of the changes we'll be making is the closing down of our daily blog. YOMYOMF was born from the blog and in the decade since we've launched, we've continued to grow including launching the YOMYOMF Network as part of the YouTube Original Channels program, the Interpretations Film Initiative, and many other projects that encompass both traditional and new media.

Those projects have continued to grow (we recently announced two of them: FAMILY STYLE, our Asian food series for Warner Bros/Stage 13, and our first theatrical feature, MOONSHADOW, which goes into production shortly) and we have over two dozen other active projects. The decision to shut down the blog wasn't an easy one, but we ultimately made it because we want to put all of our focus towards producing content which will help take our mission to support Asian American and other underrepresented communities to the next level. We have ambitious plans for the future and 2019 is the perfect time to kick things off.

If you aren't already, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with our future projects and activities. As always, thank you for your support. We'll have some exciting announcements coming up in 2019 (and beyond) and we hope you'll join us on this next phase of the journey as part of our YOMYOMF family.

More Posts/Later Posts

While the site notice went up (as well as on FB) end of NY - I actually missed it myself until last night/this morning about a week later.

Definitely a lot more to say - so much goodness - and an end of an era - but - I'm also working on making sure I get all of the articles/posts I had written as well (close...maybe about 3 more...).

6 Days Left: Help Make Radical Cram School Season 2!!!!

Thursday, January 03, 2019

If you saw the first season (and isn't it great that you can say "season") - help fund SEASON 2!

They are less than $6K away from their goal and there's about a week left for the fundraising campaign.

Do it!!!

After a successful first season, we’re ready to make more progressive, heartfelt, humorous content for kids! Season 2 of Radical Cram School tackles even bigger issues our children must navigate: consent, gun violence, undocumented immigration, emasculation, and civic participation. We'll create content to encourage young Asian Americans to be allies to social movements like Black Lives Matters and the fight for Gender Justice. We'll take a deeper dive into understanding hate crimes and discrimination with a focus on Islamophobia and kids with (dis)abilities. We'll create content that includes the experiences of South Asians kids; and we'll create content for Asian American boys to be aware of toxic masculinity and learn how to radically support girls and women. We also will invite children who didn’t get represented in Season 1 in our future episodes: Muslim kids and kids with (dis)abilities to share the multiple intersections involving Asian American identity.

More music videos! More puppets! More Aunties, Uncles, and non-gender conforming mentors! We'll keep our fun, colorful aesthetic and add some new surprises! Plus, our curriculum will be meticulously developed with co-producer, Dr. Theodore Chao, Professor of Education at Ohio State University, and his team of early childhood educators.

Help us make a revolutionary web series. Help us make Season 2 of Radical Cram School a reality.

Check out the campaign for SEASON 2 in full at Seed And Spark and help make the production a reality!

Between Festivities, I Missed Andrew Zimmern Is Gone From The Travel Channel

Thursday, January 03, 2019


“Bizarre Foods” host Andrew Zimmern has been axed from prime time on the Travel Channel amid the controversy over his assertion that Chinese food in the Midwest is being served in “horses - - t restaurants.”

The celebrity chef’s “Bizarre Foods” juggernaut franchise and sister show, “The Zimmern List,” have been bumped by network owner Discovery, Inc. into a graveyard rotation slot on Saturday mornings to run their course, Page Six has confirmed.

Filming has stopped on both shows midseason, sources tell us, and is not expected to continue further.

The move comes after the James Beard Award-winning chef offended the Asian-American community in comments to promote his Midwestern Chinese restaurant chain by saying: “I think I’m saving the souls of all the people from having to dine at these horses - - t restaurants masquerading as Chinese food that are in the Midwest.”

See ya!

Kpop January 2019 Releases + Soompi Poll

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Check out - https://www.soompi.com/article/1286343wpp/january-comebacks-debuts-way for all the new K-Pop singles coming out in the beginning of 2019 as well as all the results from their new release poll.

Top 5 results from their poll.

Which January release are you the most excited about?

iKON 24.18%

ASTRO 19.38%

Chungha 11.7%

GFRIEND 11.31%

Apink 8.09%