Angry Asian Man with the Asian Pacific Americans for Progress named UCLA one of the Top Ten Best Colleges and Universities for AAPI students. UCLA’s long list of notable AAPI alumni, including Congresswoman Judy Chu, Kal Penn (actor and associate director of the White House Office of Public Liaison), and George Takei, actor and LGBT rights activist, and long history of AAPI activism through the Asian American studies department, student organizations, and campaigns are just some of the highlights Angry Asian Man mentions in his profile of the Bruins.
Archive for the ‘PacTies News’ Category
Last month, Pacific Ties had the opportunity to attend the 2009 Campus Progress National Conference in Washington D.C. In addition to listening to awesome speakers like Bill Clinton, Van Jones and Nancy Pelosi, we also got to experience an amazing performance given by Chinese-Taiwanese spoken-word artist, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai.
Who is Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai? She’s only one of the best Asian-American spoken word artists on the East Coast! Here’s a short bio for those of you who don’t know:
Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai is a Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based, Chinese Taiwanese American spoken word artist who has performed her poetry at over 350 venues worldwide including three seasons on “Russell Simmons Presents HBO Def Poetry.” Winner of a 2007 New York Foundation for the Arts Urban Artist Initiative Award, she was listed as one of Idealist in NYC’s Top 40 New Yorkers Who Make Positive Social Change in 2008 and AngryAsianMan.com’s “30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30” in 2009. She has shared stages with Mos Def, KRS-One, Sonia Sanchez, Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, Amiri Baraka, and many more.
Pacific Ties recently had the honor of interviewing Kelly, who gave her thoughts and insights on her beginnings as a spoken word artist, what inspires her to speak out in the Asian-American community today, her take on Asian-Americans in the media, advice for up-and-coming artists such as herself, and much more.
Here’s a short preview of the interview, which will be featured in Pacific Ties’ Fall 2009 Issue. Make sure to check it out both online and in print!
Pacific Ties (PT): How did you first get into spoken word poetry?
Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai: I’ve always been into writing and performing ever since I was a little kid. I even found these stories I’d written in third or fourth grade at my parents’ house that were all about these little girls who wanted to become writers.
When I was in high school, I had a cool English teacher who was and still is really involved with the national grand poetry slam. The original poetry slam was a competition where you’d get six poets who would compete during the course of the evening; there would be five judges and then all the poets get scored from 0 – 10 (0 being like the worst thing you’ve ever heard and 10 being the most amazing thing you’ve ever heard). These competitions actually started in Chicago with Marc Kelly Smith who started running competitions in all these bars. My teacher would bring my friends and me there to see these poetry slams and I got into poetry slam very early on.
PT: What do you want audiences to get out of your poetry, particularly Asian-American audiences?
Kelly: I think in terms of Asian-Americans, it’s just way past due for us to speak out. Our community is so diverse – linguistically, culturally, and in terms of our history and socioeconomic backgrounds. Our community is so diverse, and we need as many of our voices out there as possible. I hope that by articulating these things, by unpacking what’s going on in my every day life, it helps other people articulate what’s going on in their own lives. That’s definitely a big thing that I hope audiences get from my work. Another thing that I hope audiences get is just a pure emotional experience – whether it’s thinking about a place, person, or event in history.
How do you feel the performing arts and creating social change are connected, particularly in the Asian American community? Do you feel that there is a direct connection between spoken word and politics?
Kelly: I think there is naturally, inherently a connection. In any kind of art-making, you’re making a statement and you’re making the choice to speak out. Now whether or not artists decide to be conscious about the statement they’re making, I think is a different question… I think all art is inherently political, but I think what determines a political artist from a non-political artist, so to speak, is whether or not they’re conscious of that.
In the Asian-American community, it’s really interesting that at this point in time (and I think this will be rapidly changing over a couple of decades), if we don’t create artistic expression – if we don’t have the outlets and the venues that we build ourselves – we won’t have them in mainstream media. We definitely have a lot more than we did when I was a kid, but we’re still at the point where if we don’t make it, we don’t necessarily have it. In that way, artistic representation and politics are connected in a lot of ways.
PT: Do you have any advice for young people looking to break into the same field as you?
Kelly: I think something unfortunate that I see right now is that I think a lot of people get really focused on the business side of arts and entertainment much too early… Sometimes I talk to different emerging artists and they’ll be worried about not fitting in, about not doing the current style, and trying to get an agent and this and that. And I’m like hold on a second; you haven’t even talked to me about your actual artwork yet. You’re talking about all this other stuff but what about the writing? Do you care about it? And it’s not even so much “Screw you if you don’t care about it” but “Do you care about it and is it doing something for you?” Is it giving you all that you can get from it? Because I believe that writing is one of the most liberatory things you can do in your life; as is expressing yourself. So let’s not forget that.
PT: What are your future plans? Any upcoming shows?
Kelly: I’m working on a bunch of stuff right now. I’m working on stuff for my tours in 2009-2010. I’m also working on a short film version of my poem “Real Women I Know,” which is going to have a huge, huge viral component. And I’m also working on my show, which is called “The Grieving Room” and deals with the different issues of grief and the difficulties of letting go, as well as the difficulties of not letting go and about how it’s important to honor your experiences and move on. I’m always working on a bunch of different projects, but those are the big ones.
Interested in spoken word poetry? Make sure to check out one of Kelly’s upcoming shows. If it’s anything like what we heard in D.C., it’s bound to be a blast:
August 30 – NYC-TV Ch. 25
September 140 Bellingham, WA
For more information, check out Kelly’s website: www.yellowgurl.com
-posted by Shirley Mak
Even though I’m no longer part of Pacific Ties, I would just like to make one more post. Recently, Pacific Ties won the Best Overall Publication award from Campus Progress – a non-profit organization that supports student journalism on college campuses throughout the US. Without their generosity and support, we would’ve never come this far in such a short period of time.
Here are a few words from David Spett, our friendly liason at Campus Progress:
“Pacific Ties, the oldest student-run Asian American Pacific Islander newsmagazine in the nation, has a better design than many if not most professional publications. It mixes its written content with info graphics and a diverse array of eye-catching photographs. Every single one of its stories has an angle that makes it directly relevant to the audience at hand,” said David Spett, Campus Progress Publications Associate. “Pacific Ties injects itself into the local debate by providing original reporting and informed opinions specifically relevant to its campus and community. In turn, its journalism enlightens readers and encourages critical thought,” he added.
We feel truly honored and we thank all those who have worked with Pacific Ties over the past 31 years and all those who have supported us. A big thanks goes out to UCLA Student Media (esp. to Amy Emmert, Arvli Ward, Doria Deen, Mike O’Connor) and all the other newsmags in our hallway.
There are no words to describe how proud I am of my staff and how much we’ve accomplished in just one year. All I can say is that we all look forward to seeing bigger and better things from Pacific Ties and that we’ll be sure to be around no matter how the world of journalism changes.
Maria Iu was editor in chief of Pacific Ties from 2008-2009. She has recently graduated from UCLA with a BA in Communication Studies and looks forward to seeing where life takes her next. Malina Tran will be editor in chief for Pacific Ties’s 2009-2010 publication run.
Pacific Ties now has t-shirts!
Our “Asian Heroes” t-shirt features eight men and women who are our great inspirations and who are some of the most influential figures of our time….for more information on each individual, click on the links below!
If you would like to request a t-shirt, send an email to email@example.com! Shirts are $10 + $5 shipping and handling if you aren’t in the UCLA area to pick it up. American Apparel, Standard sizes or Classic Girl sizes available.
It’s that special time of the year again. Pacific Ties, your favorite LA based, 31 year-old AAPI news-mag is back again with another issue. Titled “Grassroots,” this issue explores your roots, my roots, and how are roots all came to this moment in time. Not really, but you have to read it to find out!
3 ways to get your PT fix:
1. Pick up a copy from one of the news kiosks on the UCLA campus.
2. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free subscription.
3. Read it online here.
If you’re a new reader – thanks for making us a part of your lives. For old fans…thanks for your continual support. PT loves you all!
The Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (CHSSC) celebrated Chinese Americans in Sports on May 3, 2009 at their 34th annual gala dinner in Monterey Park, CA. UCLA’s very own Norm Chow, UCLA football coach, and Kevin Wong, UCLA Volleyball Player and 2000 Olympian Beach Volleyball player were among the honorees.
Complete List of Honorees:
- The late Richard Tom, 1948 Olympic Bronze Medal winner in weight lifting, the first Chinese American to win an Olympic medal.
- The late Olympian Bob Chow, rapid-fire shooter in 1948 Olympics
- Tiffany Chin, Figure Skating Olympian in 1984 Olympics
- Kevin Wong, Year 2000 Olympian Beach Volley Ball Player and UCLA Volleyball Player
- Charles B. Wang, Owner of New York Islanders Hockey Club
- Norm Chow, UCLA Football Coach
- Michael Chang, International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee
- Kim Ng, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of Los Angeles Dodgers
- Jon Soo Hoo, Photographer for Los Angeles Dodgers
- Carol Jue, Head Coach Chapman University Women’s Basketball; only Chinese head coach in the NCAA
- Lawrence Hom, USC volleyball player
- Cameron Inouye, WNBA Referee
- Annie Yee, former Laker Girl and Rams Cheerleader
- Chinese American Athletic Association
- Chinatown Firecracker Run Committee
Each of the honorees went up to do a thank you speech, and while all of their speeches were inspirational, I found 1984 Figure Skating Olympian Tiffany Chin’s most uplifting. She said that when she was little, her parents would tell her she could be whatever she wants when she grows up. She could be an engineer, doctor, or scientist–whoever inspired her. Back then, those were the professional occupations of most Asian Americans, so those engineers, doctors, and scientists were her only inspirations.
Fast forward to the present and Tiffany has a son of her own, who she brought along to the dinner. Like her parents, she tells her son he can be whatever he wants when he grows up; whatever inspires him. Now, however, with the vast number of achievements Asian Americans have accomplished, her son can really be whatever he wants to be (provided that he eats his broccoli), and the audience and honorees at the dinner is a testament to that.
Posted by Evelina Giang, who has volunteered at this gala for the last three years. This time she brought along some Pacific Ties staffers.
This afternoon four of us at Pacific Ties attended the Imagined Futures Conference at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. It was a free one-day conference to inspire and network with Asian Pacific Islander American artists of all disciplines.
Nakamura’s presentation was really inspiring. We’re at an exciting point in time in which Asian Pacific Islander Americans are becoming more prominent in American culture, media, and politics. Even though many are “under the radar” right now, Nakamura predicts that API artists and actors will be making headlines within the next few years.
Workshops included filmmaking, anime/comics, blogs/new media, spoken word/hip hop, fiction, and clothing.
– posted by Debbie Chong
February is drawing to a close and Pacific Ties has pushed out yet another fantastic issue. Fellow online friends and strangers, we have arrived.
If you’re a student at UCLA, you can pick up a copy on the news kiosks around campus.
You can also request a free subscription by emailing us at email@example.com.
Look for lots of exciting online content in the next few days!
- A flippable flash version our Dialogue Issue
- Exclusive photos from Kollaboration 09
- Follow us on Twitter!
- Feature articles right here at pacificties.org
- Preview of our Spring 2009 issue
Thanks for everyone’s support!
Most schools have a journalism department. They have professors who are renowned journalists, teaching lecture classes of eager students who are equally eager to get into the journalism field. Internship programs are offered and they’re competitive.
But even though UCLA is one of the largest and most well known universities in the world, with record 55,000 freshmen applicants a year, we don’t have a journalism major, department, or program.
Thus UCLA Student Media was created to give students hands on experience on writing, reporting, editing, designing, and producing a real live publication. Over the years, we have expanded to include a daily newspaper (Daily Bruin), a radio station (UCLA Radio), 7 newsmagazines (Al-Talib, Fem, Ha’am, La Gente, Nommo, OutWrite, and Pacific Ties), and a yearbook (Bruin Life).
But as the economy turned sour, the funding for these programs were the first to get cut. And it’s unfortunate because our only mission is to serve the campus community, to inform and to educate. So I want to ask you to take this very short survey to reaffirm our importance in the UCLA community. Thanks for your continuous support.
Winter 2009: The Dialogue Issue will officially be out the week of Feb. 23! That’s right, we’re writing about conversation with a feature on blogs!
Thanks to the PacTies staff for all their hardwork, for their sweat, for overcoming writers block and the miracle of coffee.
The magazine is distributed all over the UCLA campus and the Los Angeles Area. To request a copy of of the magazine FOR FREE all you have to do is email us at firstname.lastname@example.org