Enjoy this week's Oblivious Interview with Chris Wang!
Oblivious hearts C.Wang
On this edition of Oblivious Interviews I get to know my favorite rapper turned scientist slash fancy chair collector slash target of TEAM GAROSS shenanigans Chris Wang! He is 1/3 of the Asian American hip hop group Mountain Brothers. Chris aka Peril-L is a part of CHOPS' latest project Strength in Numbers. If you can you should definitely check out the kickstarter campaign!
Enjoy this week's Oblivious Interview with Chris Wang!
A blurry picture of what I'm working on. It's been quite some time since I worked on this draft. I hashed out an ending to this 115 page thing on Sunday evening. Now comes the tortuous process of editing and rewriting. For once this piece isn't biographical. Let's see how long this rewrite and editing takes. It took a yeah to hash it out. The things we do for our passions in life.
Oblivious Interviews: Joel Quizon is a rad person. I know I say this word a lot. It's one of my favorite words. But I say it because it's TRUE!
He's a dj. His mixes on mixcloud hit the spot. He's a filmmaker and producer with Form follows Function, which tells stories about LA. And if you are in the Bay Area he'll be spinning some filipino tunes at Make Your Own Revolution. Definitely check it out!!
Many thanks to this busy man for this Oblivious Interview!
Oblivious <3s Kristina Wong
I heart Kristina Wong. When I was a young and impressionable college student unpaid intern for a theater group based out of Santa Monica, she was one of my bosses. Well more so, she was in charge when head of the theater group wasn't there. Since then I've seen her perform around town at various venues. At one Tuesday Night she gained 5 lbs in 10 minutes before a live audience by drinking lots of water and eating lentils. Yes it's as painful as that sounds.
At last years Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival she showed up in full wedding regalia. On the Oblivious Nerd Girl facebook page this picture has over 1300 views.
Her pieces always make me think and sometimes cringe, but mostly think and yeah cringe some more.
Props to her for this Totally Biased with Kamau Bell appearance! If you don't follow Kristina on Facebook, like her page already: Kristina Wong you will get updated about her shows, how she waxes her armpits, and hilarious email screencaps between her and her parents.
9/11 and birthdays
The day before my 21st birthday the twin towers fell. My alarm went off to Ralph Garmin of KROQ's Kevin and Bean show reporting about the plane crashes. Total confusion set in. I checked the date to make sure it wasn't April 1st. One of my RA supervisors came by and told me that RA training was changed and all of Mesa staff was to meet in one of the new community rooms.
I quickly changed and headed towards the community room. The professional staff let us know that training would be postponed. Counseling services would be available for folks who needed it. Kids who I didn't really know yet were consoling each other. I remember the shock and numbness. I remember out of all the folks in RA training with me, there was one kid I was already friends with through Kaba. He was most panicked of all because he couldn't get a good of his uncle and he worked in one of the towers.
With training cancelled that day, I needed to get away. I got in my car and drove. I didn't know where I was going but I just let my hands steer the wheel. I somehow ended up at Corona Del Mar. I made my way to a park bench that overlooked the ocean and journaled my feelings, my grief, my helplessness. There were moms walking with their children. I kept thinking how could they be walking around like nothing is wrong?!?! But the moms looked weary. The children looked oblivious. And I realized that although our world was devasted by the horrific events, our lives still needed to continue on. I stared out into the ocean and wished it was all a misunderstanding, wished it was all a bad dream.
I went back to my dorm to try and continue with my hall prep, but my heart wasn't in it. I called up my old roommates and we decided to kickback for an early birthday celebration. We did shots of some kind of liquor. We hung out. We had fun. At least as much fun as we could despite the earlier events of the day.
When I got back to my hall hours after my birthday passed at midnight, I found out I missed a birthday party planned for me by my fellow RAs. They sang me happy birthday even though I wasn't there. They saved the cake until I got back to Mesa. We all shared cake and a few more shots. It was an odd way to celebrate my 21st birthday, but it will always be tied to that one moment in history.
I will never forget that day or the folks who made my birthday special that year. Thank you Mesa All Stars.
When I met Sean he was a kid who wore really baggy hoodies, trucker caps tilted to the side, and baggy pants. He most likely had some kind of social conscious t-shirt on and liked to talk about Asian American issues. The kid was a spitfire. This was way back in my grad school days, which I can sadly say was a long ass time ago. Now Sean is the current holder of the Mr. Hyphen title and a producer of Tuesday Night Cafe. The guy seems to always be running around from some workshop to another meeting all while trying to choreograph a dance routine. Check out the latest Oblivious Interview with Sean Miura who is one reason why the #keepTNfree campaign exists and challenges YOU, yes you, person under 35, to donate to this campaign!
Thank you FPAC
Yesterday I helped facilitate at the new FPAC Saysay Pavilion, where FilAm arts gathered the communities stories. It was amazing to hear the different paths and moments that weave into the Filipin@-American experience.
The project mostly focuses on stories of Filipino migration. These stories can be long but with 2 minutes I shared a small snippet of my families migration story.
My folks immigrated with the big wave of Filipino professionals in the 1980s. In the midst of martial law, the writing was on the wall. My nurse auntie and engineer uncle had left in the 60s brain drain migration. They tested the waters in a new country. The report backs of opportunities and jobs set the plan in motion for my clan's move to the States.
Mom came over first. In the late 70s she came with her two sisters and my Lola Sabel. Mom would be Pops' touchstone. If she could see herself in the States, so could Pops. For three years she created a life in San Fernando Valley. She came home to marry Pops and wait for their time to make their big move.
In the meanwhile I became a bun in Moms oven while they lived in Ozamis. This hometown is where both my maternal and paternal families are from. Where folks speak bisayan. Where the island of Mindinao doesn't strike fear immediately. Where it is simply, home.
While I was hanging out in Moms' belly the need for some place cool to go to took over. Mom and Pops went to the local movie theater to take in that sweet cool air con. Pops has a tendency to scan every room he walks into, so he noticed a weird dude in the theater. He kept his eye on the weird dude, who simply wasn't acting right, and found a seat in the theater with moms. They waited for the movie to stratt but it was delayed. Pops didn't feel right about the whole situation so he decided to go home. This did not go over with Moms. She was very pregnant with me. All she wanted to so was sit in air conditioning and enjoy a movie! Pops insisted they leave and so they did.
They found out later that the movie theater they were in was a target of a faction of Filipino Muslims in the area. They have been fighting the Christians in the area for years. Several movie theaters were targeted that day. Some went off, but the theater where Moms and Pops went to was spared. The weird dude Pops spotted, was supposed to set off the bomb. That guy chickened out.
My parent left the Philippines for a better life, like most folks. But they also left because they did not want me to grow up in an area constantly at war. It isn't in an oil rich country, so this won't be in the news. But it was my families reality. This is why they left their homeland. This is my story. This is the story I shared through the Saysay project.
Many thanks to all the hardworking folks who put fpac together. It was an honor to share my story and have folks share their own!
Oblivious Nerd Girl Zine #2
My first zine explained how Oblivious Nerd Girl started and acted as a business card for the hoodnerdgirl tumblr.
Apparently at a family party last Friday my ebooks were a topic of conversation with my aunties and uncles. While I'm glad they are now purchasing the ebooks, I'm a little freaked out that my family might be asking me about those stories! Gah! Pressure!!!!
One of my tita's even told me that I'm not charging enough for the ebooks! (One is 99 cents and the 2nd is $1.99). But it's all good in the hood. If folks buy them I'll be happy!
This zine is a plug for the ebooks. As a Saysay Pavilion facilitator I was informed that I could sell books or other pieces. I don't have anything formally printed and my attempts at printing chapbooks in time were deemed futile. Instead I got the idea to make zines plugging the ebooks! So if you go to FPAC this weekend, visit the PAN Pavilion, and pick one up!
Many thanks to Jilly of FilAm Arts, for helping me fold these suckers!!!
The Saysay Project
The Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC) is this weekend. FPAC has a special place in my heart. I've worn many hats for FPAC (volulnteer to ticket coordinator to generations stage emcee to logistics director). Ultimately I am a fan of the festival. It always feels like coming home.
Last year was the first year I couldn't go to the festival and while I danced the night away at my cousins wedding, I did think about how FPAC was doing. This year I'll be facilitating a part of the Saysay Project! Funded by the James Irvine Foundation, the Saysay Project is a community-sourced story-gathering project by FilAm ARTS.
I'll be sharing my families immigration story and even some of my Oblivious Nerd Girl stories in the process. Come by the Saysay Pavilion on Saturday, September 7th from 12-2pm and share your stories with me!
#ColorYourTroublesAway Organizer of coloring events in Los Angeles|#TFAL#TFALpodcast This Filipino American Life podcast @tfalpodcast|Writer of Obliviousness
Follow me on instagram (@obliviousnerdgrl) for daily obliviousness and teaser sheets for Color Your Troubles Away!