How Can We Invite Everyone Into Our World? Review of Final Bow For Yellowface

Recently, I had the pleasure of watching the Oakland Ballet Company (OBC) rehearse for their production of Dancing Moons Festival at the studio where I teach. Dancing Moons was Oakland Ballet’s response to the rise in anti-Asian bigotry and violence, celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) choreographers and musicians. To create this program, OBC Artistic …

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Surprising Asian American Hero From 1940: A Review of The Phantom of Chinatown

My recent trip to the Formosa Cafe inspired me to watch the 1940 film “Phantom of Chinatown,” starring Keye Luke and Lotus Long. I wanted to see how American cinema portrayed Asian Americans at the time. The short answer is it’s complicated. In Phantom of Chinatown, Keye Luke stars as Detective Jimmy Wong, brought in …

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Honoring the Stories of our Loved Ones on Qingming or Tomb Sweeping Day

Today’s literary adventure is a symbolic one in honor of Qingming Festival, called Tomb Sweeping Day in English. In China, this is a three-day holiday to honor one’s ancestors dating back 2500 years to the Zhou Dynasty. Families visit the tombs and graves of their ancestors to sweep them clean, pay respects, and honor memories. …

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Meet Me at the Formosa: A Chinese American Hollywood History Adventure

This week's Asian American history adventure is a visit to the Formosa Cafe, a Chinese American fusion cafe and bar in West Hollywood, which first opened in 1939. Located across from the then Samuel Goldwyn studio, stars like Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, John Wayne, Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley regularly popped …

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