Rocky Mountain PBS Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month programming

This just in from Joni Sakaguchi of the Japanese American Resource Center of Colorado: Here’s a list of PBS programs being shown for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month through Rocky Mountain PBS. These documentaries appear a bit heavy on Pacific Islander coverage but that’s cool. Especially here in Colorado, there’s a great deal of interest in Pacific Islander history and culture. JARCC is the organization that has a small museum and exhibit space on the 2nd floor of Sakura Square at 19th and Lawrence that’s open by appointment only or on the second Saturday of every month from 11am-2pm (303-650-0708):

– Japanese American Resource Center of Colorado

Sunday, May 6 › 1pm
on Rocky Mountain PBS
In 1974, Hawaiians sailed the traditional voyaging canoe HÃ…ÃŒkÅ«le’a from Hawai’i to Tahiti and proved to the world that their ancestors had explored the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean by navigating with the stars. Papa Mau: The Wayfinder is the story of critical role that master navigator Mau Piailug played in that voyage, and the rebirth of Polynesian unity and pride that followed. The HÃ…ÃŒkÅ«le’a was built by members of the newly formed Polynesian Voyaging Society, who dreamed of sailing in the way of their ancestors. Shortly thereafter, a search began for someone who could teach them the art of non-instrument navigation, which had been all but lost until they met Micronesian-born Mau, who agreed to share his knowledge. Follow the remarkable journey of an iconic voyaging canoe and a new generation of Hawaiian navigators who, under the guidance of Papa Mau, revitalized and reclaimed Polynesia’s voyaging tradition. High Definition | Anamorphic Widescreen

V3con opening night will feature singer-songwriter Connie Lim

Connie Lim

Connie Lim portrait by Shane Sato (courtesy of

The V3 Conference organizing committee got some great news last week, when we learned that singer-songwriter Connie Lim had agreed to be part of the Opening Night festivities for the third conference of Asian American digital media-ites that started as the Banana gathering way back in 2009.

Lim is an introspective songwriter with a mellow voice with a deep and wide emotional range that pulls you in. If you like artists such as Nora Jones and the new generation of atmospheric singers who walk the line between alternative, folk and pop, you’ll like Lim.

She’s been writing music on the piano since she was eight years old, and when MySpace (what’s that?) was all the rage, she obsessively recorded tracks and posted them online. She has a couple of albums including a 2010 seven-track project, “The Hunted,” and a few remixes available for purchase online on her Music page on the website, or visit the Connie Lim Store on Amazon (which includes her edgy, nicely-produced 2008 album, “Shifting”).

I love her music best when she adds an edge to her voice and the production has fuller instrumentation. Although her voice pairs perfectly with just a piano or a quiet art-chamber arrangement, I really get fired up listening to the rocking title track of her “Shifting” album, which closes out the six tracks on the release, where she pushed her voice through a variety of soulful textures from a whisper to a scream.

You can learn more about Lim from this excellent Feb. 2012 interview with AARising’s Nelson Wong.

Lim will perform at the V3con opening reception presented by NBC Universal on Friday, Aug. 24 at the Pacific Asia Museum, and also be a panelist the next day during the actual conference, which will be held at the Japanese American National Museum.

There’s two reasons right there to attend V3con!

Here are several terrific videos from Lim’s official website:
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Final (?) installment of Yul Kwon’s PBS series “America Revealed” airs tonight

Program yer DVRs, folks. here’s an email from Yu Kwon that hints that if enough viewers tune in and let PBS know how cool the show is, the show may get a new lease on life after its mini-series debut:

I’ll no longer be on TV (clothes notwithstanding)

Actually, that’s not technically true, but I won’t be on America Revealed anymore. Tomorrow is the final episode. It’s a really good one – we explore how America builds things like cars, microchips, aircraft carriers, Martin guitars, and social networks. I don’t fall out of any airplanes or dangle off any wind turbines, but I do get my ego crushed by a chess-playing robot. Here’s a preview:

I want to thank all my friends for the tremendous support they’ve given me. Filming this series has been one of the highlights of my life, and I’m proud to have been part of creating such a high-quality program. If you’ve enjoyed watching the series and would like to see more programming like this in the future, please encourage your friends to tune-in tomorrow or record it on their DVRs. Unless we get a big bump up in viewership tomorrow, I’m guessing this will be the end of the road for this series. You can also show your support by watching it online (, ordering the DVD on Amazon, or sending a note to PBS (

I’ll be live-tweeting tomorrow night and answering questions on Twitter (#AmRevPBS) for both the east and west coast airings.

Thanks so much for inviting me into your living rooms this past month, it was an honor going through this experience with all of you.


Here’s an Angry Asian Man post about Yul and the series before it began.

Here are the first three full episodes:
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V3con is the evolution of the Banana Asian American bloggers’ conference: Visibility. Vision. Voice.

Banana 2

The first Banana conference of Asian American bloggers back in November 2009 — almost an eternity in Internet years — was a revelation to me. Although I was familiar with some AAPI blogs, I didn’t feel like I was a part of a community of people like me, toiling away on our computers to pass on information and express our opinions on issues that matter to Asian Americans.

It was cool to meet some people face-to-face that I’d only I connected with online, and some bloggers who I admired, and make new friends.

Erin and I were invited to be panelists at Banana 1. It was a small gathering – in fact, organizer Lac Su didn’t want to call it a conference, he used the term “gathering” – held on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Su, the author of “I Love Yous Are for White People,” and co-founder Steve Nguyen (a filmmaker of came up with the idea to showcase the diversity of Asian American perspectives online.

Erin knew Lac from her emotional intelligence training — when he’s not promoting AAPI bloggers, Su is a psychologist, the founder and vice president of marketing for TalentSmart, a global think tank and management consulting firm based in San Diego. But I only knew him from his excellent book, a memoir of his upbringing in a refugee family that fled Vietnam for the U.S.

The gathering was planned quickly, but 20 bloggers showed up to be panelists, representing the well-known (Angry Asian Man, 8Asians) to the lesser-known but notable (Kimchi Mamas, Big WOWO). Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man was given an achievement award for his blog, which is a must-read for anyone interested in Asian America.

Banana 1 was a little raggedy, but real. It was an ad-hoc affair that attracted about 50 audience members, many of them also bloggers, and there was a lot of interaction between panelists and audience members. There was only one extended conversation that took much of the afternoon, with panelists fielding questions from Su that ranged from the provocative (women’s perspective in blogging) to confusing (if childhood traumas motivated us). The political bloggers criticized the pop culture bloggers for being shallow, and the lone Canadian on the panel criticized the event’s U.S.-centric worldview.

In the end, it was an inspirational afternoon of thoughtful conversation, and everyone left feeling like we were a part of something bigger than just ourselves and our blogs. It was a validation of our voice.

I wrote after attending Banana 1 that it felt like the start of something that would continue and grow.

It took a little over a year to organize, but Banana 2 took the inspirational spirit of the first conference and turned it into a terrific event for a couple-hundred people.
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Asian Americans are making progress in mainstream American pop culture

I Am Bruce Lee

I happened to catch a terrific documentary the other night, “I Am Bruce Lee,” which combines a well-researched biography of the late great martial arts star Bruce Lee with interviews with everyone from his wife Linda Lee Caldwell, to LA Lakers star (and martial artist) Kobe Bryant who discuss Lee’s legacy and enormous influence on American pop culture.

Much of the documentary focuses on Lee’s efforts to overcome racial stereotypes of Asians that were prevalent in the 1960s and ’70s (many are still with us), and his struggles against a system that was stacked against featuring a male Asian in a leading role.

One segment got me thinking, where the film asserts that the system is still stacked against Asians – even today, there has been no major Asian male star who has the draw of, say, a Brad Pitt.

Sure, Jet Li for a time took up the martial arts mantle, and so did Jackie Chan. But Li’s talent never transcended his action roles, and Chan’s brand in Hollywood is as a comedic lightweight even though he can act in dramatic parts. Plus, once niched into martial arts, you’re always a martial artist. Even Bruce Lee might not have overcome that hurdle, had he lived.

There are some potential future contenders, though: John Cho can hopefully rise above the youth market appeal of the “Harold and Kumar” films and build on his butt-kicking role as Sulu in the new “Star Trek” movies, and it’s possible to imagine Tim Kang (TV’s “The Mentalist”) and Sung Kang (the “Fast and Furious” movies) cast as big-budget leads someday.

But I can’t monku (complain) too much about the lack of Asian men in star positions. The fact is, we’re doing so much better than just a few years ago in Hollywood, that we should be celebrating.

Less than a decade ago, I was giving speeches on the lack of Asian faces on TV and in movies.
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