Asian American History Month

What’s a better excuse to re-enter the blog than Asian  Pacific American Heritage Month? And what better way to avoid writing than to post a big ol’ set of videos? Actually, this last question is more than just tongue in cheek. I just wrapped up my Asian American literature class for the spring (one down, two to go! W00t!), and one of the students mentioned to me the power of video for showing us realities that we can’t always construct in our own imaginations. So, a salute to the power of the visual, in honor of the month:

First, via Jenn at Reappropriate, the Asia Society’s video featuring a cavalcade of Asian American actors, celebrities, politicians and entrepreneurs. Two additions: you can see extended footage from each interview both at YouTube and at the Asia Society website. The latter is also encouraging people to post video reflections on the question “what does being Asian American mean to you?” [And if you want to get really depressed and see how far Asian Americans have to go to make their issues visible to the public, check out the comment string for the YouTube video. Sigh.]

Second, a great idea passed on to me via a student (thanks Erin!)---a fake trailer for Chang-Rae Lee's Native Speaker, one of my top five favorite Asian American novels, and one of my favorite twentieth century American novels to boot. [If this trailer doesn't make you want to read the book---and to admire the filmmaker (you go, Bigjfrodo!)---I don't know what will. Someone call Miramax!]

And while I'm sorely tempted to post the red-band trailer for Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay here, just for a satyr-play closing video, I think I'll try to maintain this blog's PG rating. Instead, I'll leave you with the mesmerizing opening sequence from Greg Pak's Robot Stories, which is a profound and sometimes cheeky vision of contemporary Asian American life. And yes, it's THAT Greg Pak, for all you Hulk fans out there. Tip: you're going to be tempted to stop watching, but I promise that the end is worth it!!

Enjoy! Celebrate!

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