I missed this NPR report a couple of weeks ago, about the impact of the character Long Duk Dong from the 1980s hit movie, “16 Candles.” I had heard a promo for the report while driving but got home before it came on.
I finally went back to check it out and it’s worth hearing.
The link to the report is at the top of the page; the text on the page is the report’s transcript. Be sure to check out the extra interview clip with Gedde Watanabe, the Japanese American actor who played “the Donger” — he doesn’t really have a clue, unfortunately. And check out the comic that’s included, “Donger and Me.” Continue reading →
As a card-carrying baby boomer (I guess officially, with my AARP membership!), I was 10 when most of 1968 happened. It was a pivotal year, no doubt — though in my consciousness, ’69 left a deeper impact.
AARP magazine does a fine job of using the Web as a story-telling device to revisit the year. This online special section kicks ass over the print edition’s article and timeline. No offense to the mag; its layout is really good and compelling to flip through. But the online version, with its audio clips of interviews, slideshow, interactive timeline, trivia quiz, “AARP Radio” and all the articles and reader reminiscences (and invitation for audiences to submit their memories), is a pleasure to experience.
Recommended reading/viewing for nostalgic boomers as well as anyone interested in the history of our country. This photo above, from the timeline, is a good reminder that with an unpopular war being waged and a lame duck president in office, Richard Milhouse Nixon took the presidency away from the Democrats. That’s one of the darker legacies that 1968 left us.
I was having problems with my Nikkeiview “theme” template, so I tested out some new WordPress looks.
I like this theme, called “Cutline.” What do you think? I’ll leave it up for a while, and who knows, after some customizing, I may keep it. I’ll need to swap out the photo images with my own images, though.
For Christmas, I bought Erin a pass for 10 visits to Dahn Yoga, an international chain of yoga schools founded in Korea in the 1970s that has several locations in the Denver area. One is close by, and Erin was interested in taking yoga, so I walked in. I left with the gift certificate for Erin, and a slightly sour aftertaste about the place, because of the high-pressure way I was urged to spend more money for a higher package of classes.
I warned Erin that there was a little of “cult-like” feel about Dahn Yoga, but one of our good friends has been taking classes there for years at another location with the same instructor, so we figured it would be OK. Erin finally attended her first class last week, and also signed both of us up for a free class about brain health (Erin’s an expert on the brain, and loves to learn anything about it). Continue reading →
Around the turn of the century (man, it’s still weird to use that phrase in 2008), I started reading about a bootlegged series of cassettes making the rounds, of Cambodian rock and soul recordings from before that country’s dark, post-Vietnam war years under despot Pol Pot. These recordings, I read, were all that were left, like audio archeology, of musicians who had absorbed Western pop and soul and rock during the 1960s and early ’70s, and both covered those songs enthusiastically in their own language, Khmer, and wrote original songs using those sonic elements as their foundation. These musicians had all been slaughtered in Pol Pot’s killing fields, the stories went, and these three-decades-old echoes were all that was left of that creative explosion.
I finally got a hold of some of these recordings (some are now available via legitimate avenues including Amazon.com, no doubt cleaned up and sounding much better than many of the tinny recordings I got). They were exciting, and fun to listen to, but spooky when you realized all the artists were killed within a few years of the recording sessions. Sometimes they were faithful recreations of familiar songs — until the lyrics came in. But whether they were covers or original, the playing and singing had an irrepressible and irresistible spark.
Those recordings were enough to inspire a pair of California brothers to pursue the sound and make their own fresh echoes of long -ago Cambodian pop in a unique group called Dengue Fever, which has over the years evolved from re-creating the sound of the old Cambodian scene to integrating those sounds in a fresh take on world pop. Continue reading →