Monday, December 13, 2010

Not-blue Monday: Andrew & the BROTS EP Release, It's A Monster World Puppet Show

On the Internet: Andrew & the BROTS' first EP is here! Get it from Andrew and the BROTS on Bandcamp. You know I'm excited. I love this guy.

And I love whoever designed this graphic. All the colors and the excitement on Andrew's face is pretty representative of what he's like on stage. And in your ears.

In West Hollywood: Some friends of mine are in Puppet School, and they have a show tonight at 7:30p West Hollywood Park Auditorium. I bought my ticket last night on their website. It's going to be so much fun! The drive over from East LA, not so much, probably-- but it'll be more than worth it.

It's a good Monday, Los Angeles, yes it is.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Los Angeles DREAMS: Exhibit at Chinese American Museum

The 111th Congress adjourns on December 17th. If the DREAM Act isn't passed by then, the fight to get it passed in the Republican-dominated 112th Congress will be all but impossible to win. AB540 here in California helps undocumented students get higher education, but without a path to citizenship and legal employment status, the future holds more struggle. Somehow, the DREAM Act and immigration reform must pass.

Read more:

On Thursday evening, I'm heading over the Chinese American Museum for the first time to see this new exhibit dealing with immigration:

DREAMS DEFERRED Exhibit at the Chinese American Museum
December 10, 2010 - May 22, 2011
Opening Reception | Thursday, December 9 | 6:00p - 8:30p

The Chinese American Museum (CAM) and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument is proud to present Dreams Deferred: Artists Respond to Immigration Reform opening on December 10, 2010. This exhibition will showcase local artists exploring the tensions, repercussions, hopes, and dreams of immigrant communities in the face of new immigration legislation, through a broad spectrum of art including street art, graffiti art, sculptures, painting and multimedia installations.
U.S. immigration laws have long reflected a lasting legacy of racial exclusion starting with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the first legislation to restrict immigration based on race and ethnicity. This legacy of immigration legislation targeting immigrant communities has since reemerged in the recent decades with California's Proposition 187,and Arizona's Senate Bill 1070, as attempts at inhibiting the livelihoods of undocumented immigrants. 
Dreams Deferred continues the current national dialogue about immigration, kicked-off by the recent opening of CAM's Remembering Angel Island, an exhibition commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the opening of the West Coast's first immigration station. Both exhibitions will serve to shed light on the parallels of past and current immigration policies and reform, and how Los Angeles' diverse immigrant communities collectively share not only their immigrant histories, but also many of the challenges facing new immigrant communities today.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Andrew Figueroa Chiang is a Blazing Ray Of The Sun

Twitter's #MusicMonday is over, but I had to share this recent post from Andrew Figueroa Chiang about his growth as a musician: Time is a Healer

He is releasing his first EP next Monday, December 13th. The post is about what the process leading up to this has meant to him and how his music has been affected. One of the things that comes through most, to me, his sincerity:
In many ways, I’m glad that it’s taken this long to release my first album. From the time I started playing music to this very day, I have been developing into a more consummate performer, musician, listener, band leader, and recording artist. These days, I am learning always.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Los Angeles DREAMs

I had an eerily calm commute from Downtown LA to my current residence in the South Bay yesterday. Heading south at two in the afternoon on the 110 through South LA has not been that clear on a weekday in-- ever. No congestion passing USC, no slowing-down at Gage or Manchester. 

One thing about having a commute is that I've come to appreciate Los Angeles public radio much more than before. I'm not a big podcast-listener so I never subscribed.

Today I was listening to KCRW when UnFictional came on. I got to hear American Dreamer, the story of a talented jazz saxophonist who could not gain admission to college because of his undocumented status. It was a timely broadcast-- this week is a DREAM Act Week of Action to pressure Congress to finally pass the DREAM Act, giving undocumented students a path to citizenship. 

A few of the actions happening in Los Angeles:
Wednesday Dec. 1, 2010:
* Phone Banking at the “I Believe in Dream Act in 2010″ Call Center
Morning Shift: 6AM- 10AM
Evening Shift: 6PM-10PM
Asian Pacific American Legal Center 1145 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Thursday Dec. 2, 2010:
Press Conference and Rally
* “Nation supports Dream Act and Trutanich wants to punish supporters?!”
210 W Temple St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Friday Dec. 3, 2010:
* Coming Out in Support of Wilshire Dream 9 Allies
Press Conference and Rally
210 W Temple St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Read more:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Chapbook, "Tracing Steps" is at Skylight Books!

In addition to Bejeweled Blitz, Tuesday Night Project, That's What She Said Web Series, and a variety of part-time jobs and gigs, I also write.

Mostly I write with The Undeniables, a small press and online writers workshop that is dually-based in Los Angeles & Chicago with writing participants from all over the world. I've been participating since May 2008. In late 2009, a friend and I challenged each other to put together chapbooks by November as our payment for a series of workshops we attended called A Piece of Art for Peace of Mind.

She finished hers according to the deadline. I did not. It took me until last March to finally finish it. Four months late is better than never, yes? Yes.

During one of the writers workshop's two-month sessions, I chose to write creative nonfiction about family and my experience as a Khmer-American both here and in Cambodia. I found that I had enough pieces to tell a sort of story, and I put together Tracing Steps. After fumbling with the printing process on an inkjet printer and monopolizing the extended stapler at the local Office Depot, I put together a run of the chapbooks. I debuted it at One Imagination's Break The Silence Open Mic (and had a great time).

Then, was kind enough to allow me to post my chapbook as a Daily Deal and to carry some of the books.

Last week, Skylight Books agreed to carry (on consignment) copies of my chapbook. It was exciting to go to the store and see it barcoded and everything:

Please forgive the poor quality of this very very very old camera-phone.

So if you happen to wander over to Skylight Books, you can find Tracing Steps over in the corner on the chapbook cart and take a look. And, if you feel like it, buy a copy. :n)

Next up: Downtown's The Last Bookstore. They hold a monthly chapbook-sharing event called "The Last Chapbook Project" on 3rd Sundays. Lots of books for $5 and under and a little table in the back where, during an Artwalk, I met someone in the middle of rolling cigarettes (regular ones). I like it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Earthbound Cachet from Raw Materials

I get excited when I see new, interesting stores come to Downtown Los Angeles. Granted, I don't live there any more, but I look forward to returning to the neighborhood as a resident some day. For now, I work as a part-time marketing assistant for "the oldest professional theater of color in the nation" (mandatory disclaimer: I have no authority to speak on behalf of East West Players and anything I write is my personal opinion and in no way reflects the beliefs of EWP. Was this necessary? I don't know, but I thought I'd cover my bases) and thus commute from an undisclosed location far south of Downtown to Little Tokyo daily. On one of my meanderings around the "Nickel" (5th and main, after which the dear, delicious Nickel Diner is named), I picked up these:

I don't think you have to be a writer to appreciate a well-made notebook that feels good in your hand and under your pen. Above are my notebooks of choice lately for writing out the mad or mundane thoughts that have accumulated through the night. I got the "Earthbound" line of recycled sketchbooks from Cachet from Raw Materials, Downtown LA's art supply store. They opened sometime in 2008 and I'm happy to see that they're still going. Support them! They're good people. Check their website often for sales and drop by-- I happened to walk in on a day when these notebooks were 1/2 off.

The recycled paper in these notebooks has a wonderful weight to them, which is important since I am a bit heavy-handed when I write and I use Pilot "Ultra Fine" G-2 pens. The cardboard color is soothing in the morning, more inviting than threatening the way blank white pages can be.

Since I found these lovely notebooks, I won't be frequenting the Bargain section of Borders or Barnes & Noble any more. I look forward to a time when I have a long row of these in my bookshelf, all filled with a mass of morning scribbles.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fierce Females at USC's Ground Zero Performance Cafe November 9th

The same group of women who put on imMEDIAte Justice are still at it. Women's Creative Collective is presenting spoken word and activist duo climbing poeTree at Ground Zero Performance Cafe on November 9, 7pm-9:30pm, completely free of charge and open to the public.

Ground Zero is a spacious and simultaneously intimate space on USC's campus. I saw Staceyann Chin, anot there in 2008 when she appeared as a part of USC GLBT Assembly's programming. She performed and also read from her then-forthcoming memoir, The Other Side of Paradise.

What's a "Griot"? Is it verb? Is it noun? Is it animal? Is it vegetable? Wikipedia says:
The griot delivers history as a poet, praise singer, and wandering musician. The griot is a repository of oral tradition. As such, they are sometimes also called bards. According to Paul Oliver in his book Savannah Syncopators, "Though [the griot] has to know many traditional songs without error, he must also have the ability to extemporize on current events, chance incidents and the passing scene. His wit can be devastating and his knowledge of local history formidable." Although they are popularly known as 'praise singers', griots may also use their vocal expertise for gossip, satire, or political comment.
Sounds good to me.

Women's Creative Collective presents
Griot and Riot: Poetry, Storytelling, and Writing Workshop for Radical Change with climbing poeTree
November 9, 7-9:30pm
Ground Zero Performance Cafe

615 Child's Way (on USC's Campus)
Open to the public & Free of Charge

Friday, October 22, 2010

Asian Lesbian Web Series 'That's What She Said' at The Dolphin Bar!

Another one of the many reasons I stick around and love Los Angeles is, of course, friends. Wonderful friends with whom projects like this one are undertaken. Completely organically birthed one rainy day nearly two years ago, That's What She Said Web Series is completing our first season and, thanks to tremendous moral support, we've decided to work on a second season! We're having a party to celebrate the end of season 1 and to raise funds for equipment for season 2 (we've been working with a borrowed camera and well, it's time to give that baby back).

A couple of months ago, some of the TWSS girls and a few of our friends visited The Dolphin Bar in Redondo Beach. We found out it had been there for 40 years and allegedly is the birth place of that lovely cocktail, the Wet Pussy (usually a hit-or-miss drink, depending on the bar, and our aficionado friend approved, so we're inclined to believe the lore). As we sat their on the sorta-outdoor smoking patio, we knew that we had to have an event there sometime.

So, when it came time to consider having a season finale/wrap party, this was the first place I called. And Jim, the owner, has been incredibly generous and kind to us. All he is asking is that people drink. We plan on making that happen. Join us!

TWSS Season Finale Party & Fundraiser
Saturday, October 23
9:00pm - 2am

The Dolphin Bar
1995 Artesia Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA

Screening at 9:45pm
$10 suggested donation
Raffle prizes!
5 raffle tickets for a $10 donation
1 ticket per <$10 donation
tickets will be sold for $1 throughout the night

See more details at our Facebook event page & RSVP!

If you can't make it, I hope you'll consider donating via ChipIn:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

CicLAvia - Owning The Streets

I am sitting in the South Bay reading all the #CicLAvia tweets, and I have a smile on my face even though I'm not there and wish I could be. 

I'm seeing Twitpics of people playing tennis in front of City Hall, bikes all over, and people with huge smiles on their faces. It's a gorgeous day to take over Los Angeles streets. 

I'm looking forward to seeing this excitement carry over and hope that the people who are only just discovering a love for Los Angeles because of this event will remember that this Los Angeles is always there, underneath the traffic and the smog. Being able to stand in the center of a usually-busy street in broad daylight, surrounded by people is-- well, anyone who has marched in a May Day Rally or a Pride Parade or AIDS Walk can tell you-- it's empowering. 

Though I'm not there now, I can feel the Los Angeles love in the air, even from twenty miles away, and I'm happy. I hope this love carries on, and that ownership of the streets continues (while respecting traffic laws and safety, of course). Because this is our city, and these are our streets, and this event is only a reminder of that.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tonight's TNC Focus on Immigrant Rights & the DREAM Act at Señor Fish

The 2nd-to-last Tuesday Night Cafe of the 2010 season will be a collaborative night with APALC, JACL-PSWD, APALA, UCLA Labor Center, IDEAS, NAKASEC, KRC, DREAM Team LA/The DREAM Is Coming

Since the rain arrived, we will be at Señor Fish on 1st & Alameda instead of at our usual Aratani Courtyard. Señor Fish has been such a great friend to TNC. Come, have a taco and a beer and a lot of good energy.

1st&3rd Tuesday Night Cafe
7:30PM at Señor Fish (1st&Alameda)
October 5
The rainy season arrives and Tuesday Night Cafe gets tucked away for a few months while Tuesday Night Project will continue to dream and scheme and work-party. 

It's amazing how much a part of my life the Tuesday Night family and work have become in just two and half short years. At least, it seems short. This group of people and the philosophy/mission of ART+COMMUNITY is undeniably one of the main reasons I love this city. 

When I was away at the beginning of 2009, I had no idea that this community would become so much a part of my life. Things happen so fast, and so beautifully. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Developments on South Main Street

The last time visited the Da Capo buildings where I lived in 2008 (and when I began this blog), I was heartbroken to see that the dear Felipe's One Stop Mini Market was gone when I drove past it recently.

I remember Felipe as such a sweet man: always telling me to be careful on my bicycle, offering me coffee in the morning, always with a smile even when I could tell by the bags under his eyes that he was exhausted. I visited him maybe once last year, and he remembered me, to my delight. I hope that he's moved on to something nice even with this recession, and that his family gets to spend more time with him (one of his daughters would hang around the shop on weekends).

I'm happy to report, though, that not all that I saw on my old block was discouraging; in fact, I saw something quite exciting-- an art gallery in a space that had been mostly vacant the entire time I lived there!

The current exhibit has been up since July 15th and closes on Sunday, August 15th. Will have to make sure I check it out. It's called


My time at the Da Capo buildings was one of the most fruitful, exhilarating times of my (admittedly short) life. From carrying my heavy 1970s Schwinn up three flights of stairs (voluntarily) to taking in the Downtown skyline from the rooftop (which was, technically, prohibited) to the sound of the Blue Line through my windows to the sweet Dorian who shared my home. I wonder who lives there now. And I wonder what it would be like to make my home there again.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spend Earth Day-time with CSU, Earth Day-night with TNP

Community Services Unlimited, Inc. is an organization I volunteered with in 2008 at their Thursday produce stand. This Earth Day, they're holding their 2nd Annual Earth Day South LA Event! 


Media contact: Neelam Sharma
(310) 780 0426,

Spanish Media Contact:
Denise Burger, (323) 627-4782,

Information: (323) 299 7075 or

The 2nd Annual EARTH DAY SOUTH LOS ANGELES EVENT, Saturday April 17th 2010 from 11am to 6pm will be at Normandie Avenue Elementary School, 4505 S. Raymond Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045. A growing movement in South Los Angeles area has serious momentum and is being expressed through the arts, workshops, and food culture.
Presented by CSU Inc, SOL Foundation and the Normandie Avenue Elementary School, EDSLA over a hundred artists will participate in performances and ceremonies of Music and Dance, Community Mural, Graph Art Pieces, Recycled Art Exhibit and Fashion Show, and an Art Sale. Local food will be showcased with recipe demos, food vendors and produce for sale. Information tables will showcase the work of our partners and other community organizations.

Earth Day South LA (EDSLA) will include performances by Aceyalone of Freestyle Fellowship, Mystic, La Santa Cecilia, Asklyn Atkins, 2Mex, Rifleman, Dyane P, Buyepongo, Caribbean Dynamics, LA Samba Kids and the Normandie Avenue Elementary School Student Orchestra. Dance features the World Famous LA Breakers, Just Wanna Step and Bharata Natyam.  The event will begin with a gathering call from the Freedom Sounds Korean Drumming and an opening ceremony by Azteca Dancers.  A featured project will be the Southern California Library’s Sounds of Justice presented by Jeremy Sole (KCRW) and Kaos Network Beat Cypher Collective.
Normandie Avenue Elementary will be beautified with live graffiti art by Cre8, Duce, EnkOne, and Jeyd curated in collaboration with I.C.U. Art and a Community Mural, Art Sale, Recycled Art Exhibit and Fashion Show curated in collaboration with Liliflor Collective. A Hip Hop Poetry Room will feature an Open-Mic and workshops from BessKepp, NHS Poetry Club and the Get Lit Players. A mini EDSLA Film Festival will show films that reflect the work for a sustainable community, for example, A Drop of Life and The Power of Community. Workshops include Composting, Fruit Tree Pruning, Yoga, Capoiera, Healing With Herbs, Son Jarocho Dance, Recycled Art, How to Start a Food Not Bombs Chapter, Bike Safety and Maintenance and African Drumming. Also on offer will be activities for kids and a local fruit pick.

“Beyond organic” local produce will be featured in cooking demos by chef Gino Campagna (star of Kitchen Kids on, Chef Jason Michaud of Local, Sirena Pellarolo from East Side Café and Lisa Nunez Hancock and youth of U R What U Eat. Produce will be available for purchase at the South Central Farmers booth. Pure fruit smoothies, iced herbal/fruit teas, tamales and salads will be on sale.
Our Partners include Councilmembers Jan Perry and Bernard Parks, Bike Oven, City Year, Caracol Marketplace, Community Build, Eastside Café, Food Not Bombs, Hunger Action Los Angeles, Garden School Foundation, Hip Hop Association, I.C.U. Art, LA Conservation Corps, Kaos Network Beat Cypher Collective, Lilliflor Collective Studios, NAES Environmental Club, SOL Cooperative, South Central Farmers, TreePeople, USC Student Activists for a Beloved Community, Southern California Library, and WORKS USA.

We are proud to offer this high quality event in the community, FREE for the community.  There is a suggested donation of $5+ to help cover the costs of the event, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds nor for not making a donation.

Together we envision an annual Earth Day event where community residents in South Central come together in a safe environment to have fun, celebrate our foods and cultures, learn about and participate in sustainable practices, and connect with each other and organizations working to make positive change in our neighborhood.

I won't be able to make it to the Earth Day celebration as I'll be with my parents, thanking them for the gift of life, but I hope that many people can make it out to Normandie Ave. Elementary to check out all the wonderful activities going on.

After spending the day with CSU & their partner organizations, come chill out in Little Tokyo with Tuesday Night Project at the Aries Party Fundraiser at Oiwake, 122 Japanaese Village Plaza, 8:45p-2a. $10 entry, $7 before 10:30p!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Free Healthcare 4/27 - 5/3: Remote Area Medical Los Angeles 2010

Remote Area Medical was in Inglewood last year-- and they'll be back in Los Angeles April 27-May 3! Free vision, dental, & medical exams at LA Sports Arena. For the RAM LA website, click here.

Please let any health professionals you may know that they are looking for volunteers!

Press release:
On April 27 – May 3, 2010, Remote Area Medical (RAM) will provide free
medical, dental and vision care to thousands of needy individuals in the Los
Angeles area. The free clinic will be held at Los Angeles Sports Arena
located at 3939 North Figueroa Street , near USC.  1,200 people a day will
be treated—possibly more depending on the final number of volunteers and
participating organizations. The event is planned and operated by Remote
Area Medical, a Volunteer 501(c)(3) charity providing free care to
uninsured, underinsured, and indigent Individuals throughout the United
States.  For more information visit:

Free care will be provided to anyone who needs it, without cost of any kind
to the patient, the taxpayer or the government. There is no income test, no
insurance requirement, and no restriction of any kind. Medical and
non-medical personnel will all be volunteers; supplies and equipment will be
donated or provided by RAM. There will be at least 100 dental stations, 45
medical exam rooms, 25 eye exam stations. Dentistry will include cleanings,
extractions, fillings, restorative procedures and root canals. Prescription
eye glasses will be ground and fitted on-site. Minor dermatological and
other medical procedures will be performed. Pediatricians and pediatric
dentists will be present. Follow-up care will be arranged for those who need
it, with most referrals to private sector practices and facilities.

There will be a strong emphasis on education, prevention and self-care.
Mammography, pap smears, chest x-rays, and diabetes screening, blood
pressure screening, and other services will be provided. Healthcare
foundations and agencies will also distribute patient education materials.
RAM/LA is a large undertaking, on a scale to make a significant difference
in this time of great and urgent need. Success is achieved through medical
and non-medical volunteers, local healthcare organizations, equipment and
supply donors, and others who contribute their time, talents and resources.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday Night Cafe 12th Season Begins!

Hello, springtime. That means the 1st&3rd Tuesday Night Cafe presented by Tuesday Night Project season is beginning again! Woohoo! Yes.

Parking's going to be insane, but Joe's on 2nd is only $4 after 4pm. Also, the Metro Gold Line now has a stop at Alameda & 1st. 

Seems like just yesterday we were getting ready for the TNC season opener at Remy's On Temple. Seems like just the day before that when I walked into a TNC for the first time at Lost Souls Cafe in 2008. How time flies.

If you can't make it out on a weeknight, come celebrate TNC's 12th season & Aries birthdays at Oiwake in J. Village Plaza on April 17th (which happens to be my actual birthday, too!).TNC's 12 years old --> TNC's a Tiger. Rahr. 

21+ only, $7 before 10:30p, $10 after. 

It's a fundraiser! A few bucks won't suck (to help keep one of DTLA's longest-running FREE public art spaces going), right?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This Is What A Scientist Looks Like // Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Today is Internet-wide Ada Lovelace Day, a day of blogging about women in technology and in science. 

From the official website:
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was born on 10th December 1815, the only child of Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella. Born Augusta Ada Byron, but now known simply as Ada Lovelace, she wrote the world’s first computer programmes for the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose machine that Charles Babbage had invented.
I decided to pledge to participate after seeing a post on Google Buzz from one of my favorite scientists in the whole wide world.

On the title of this post: Since the first time I saw a "This Is What A Feminist Looks Like" shirt back in college (is it weird that I never saw one 'til college?), the idea of challenging stereotypes of what a _____ looks like has stuck with me. The idea that a ____ can look like anything/anyone-- I wish someone had told me that when sixteen-year-old-me was trying to "look like a lesbian" by wearing Dickies and A-shirts all the time (it didn't really work).

When I thought about who I'd write about for Ada Lovelace Day, it was my friend Diane Kim who immediately popped into my mind. 

There she is to the left. Pretty fly, don'tcha think? (Didn't you know that scientists are sexy? Someone started a blog just to document them!)

I'm excited about this profile of Diane for Ada Lovelace Day because she is yet another example of how scientists and academics are not, by default, cloistered in their ivory towers. Diane is engaged in organizing for marriage equality, has come out to Tuesday Night Cafe, and even found time to do a cameo on That's What She Said.

Diane's research has taken her to Guaymas, Mexico (she went by ship, unlike me), New Zealand, even Antarctica, but she remains firmly connected to her communities outside of science.

So, let's meet her!

Who are you and what do you do, Diane?

I’m a graduate student in the Marine Environmental Biology section at USC.  My research centers around characterizing plankton communities at and near the base of marine food webs.  I’m interested in understanding community dynamics under changing environmental conditions and what that means on a functional level in the ecosystem.  

How'd you decide on your field?

1)  I love being near, in, and on the ocean, so the field work involved drew me to marine biology immediately.  

2) I’m also really fascinated by the complexities of the natural world around us.  There is so much we don’t understand, and because of that, many processes or phenomena may seem random at times.  I just think it’s really awesome to be able to explain some of the seemingly randomness in the world.  

3) Microbes are cool.  When people think of marine biology, most immediately think of charismatic megafauna like dolphins, but I study marine microbial organisms, which constitute the majority of the biomass you find in the ocean.  Another fun tidbit:  ~50% of the oxygen you breathe comes from phytoplankton in the sea. Microbes are such important constituents in marine ecosystems, playing a variety of critical functional roles.  The diversity of these tiny critters of the sea is amazing too.  In fact, even with the current technology, we aren’t able to plumb the depths of diversity of microbial assemblages in many marine systems.  And have you ever looked at plankton under the scope?  They have such unique and beautiful morphological features that, I guarantee, will blow your mind.  

What are your top three concerns as a (queer) woman in your field? How does the number of women in your field compare with other sciences?

1.  I think that the ratio of male to female is very skewed toward male students for some fields like engineering, but it’s about 1:1 in my department, which is pretty typical in biology.  When you get higher up the academic tier though, the ratio becomes highly skewed toward male faculty members even in biology. 
So that is definitely one concern.  Where did all the female graduate students go??

What’s encouraging and really inspiring is that there are programs specifically designed to promote women in science and engineering like the WiSE program at USC.  Among other opportunities, the program provides roundtable discussions with distinguished female scientists in various fields of study to interact in roundtable discussions with female (and male) graduate students, so that we can hear and learn about the success stories of other female scientists.

2.  I love that there is so much encouragement and support for fostering more women in science, but with that I have this irrational fear that we’ll be given more ‘slack’ for things because of it.

3.  I’m trying to think of concerns I have as a queer woman in my field, and can’t really think of any.  Just about everyone I meet in academia is pretty liberal and very open-minded. 

What else occupies your daily grind, other than the science-y stuff?

I’m a steering committee member of KUE (Korean-Americans United for Equality), which is a grass-roots organization that is organizing efforts to 1) create a safe space for queer Koreans and 2) to educate the general Korean-American community regarding LGBTQI issues.  For more info, email 

I also love to work on and ride my bike, catch a little BSG, hike, swim at the beach and stay connected with friends and family.

Of course, I have to ask: What are your top 3 favorite things about Los Angeles? (Can be anything-- places, things, concepts, events, anything!)

1.  I love the diversity of ethnic restaurants in LA.  Can’t live without it.  Thai one day, Korean another, Ethiopian the next.  Does it get any better than that?

2.  Family and friends, definitely.

3.  I love LA’s potential.  The potential to become more queer friendly, the potential to become greener and cleaner, etc.  So much to get involved in.

4.  I love the fact that I can go boarding one day, head out to the beach the next day, and have perfect conditions for both.

5.  Summers are always great because of concert season.  Love love love live shows.

6.  You really can’t beat the weather here.

Oh, you said 3, didn’t you..oops.  love it here too much. 

Any other comments on being a woman in science?

Something a distinguished female scientist in my field said to a bunch of us recently: There is no one formula to have a successful career in science. You can do it the way men do it and be great, but you can also do it the way you want to do it and become just as successful if not more. Women have different things to deal with than men sometimes and vice versa, individuals all have unique circumstances and challenges. Just because you don’t fit the cookie-cutter, doesn’t mean you won’t make one delicious cookie.

[emphases and links added by me]

Diane is, indeed, "one delicious cookie." Isn't she dashing standing next to this rather large piece of equipment? I don't think I've ever seen her in a lab-coat. This is what a scientist looks like!

Happy Ada Lovelace Day, everyone! To ever more delicious cookies in science!

(Thanks so much, Di, for letting me put you on blast on the internets! <3)

Pete's Cafe on A Hamburger Today

A Hamburger Today is one of my old favorites of websites to check. It's now a member of the Serious Eats family. When I first found them in 2007, I think I promptly decided to read nearly every single thing I in their archives. Three years later, and I still check in on the headlines. Yes, I have something of a burger fetish. I'm not ashamed. 

Whenever I see something about Los Angeles, I tend to click and check it out. Sadly, despite being often credited with contributing to the rise of drive-in and burger culture, LA doesn't seem to catch much burger lovin'. Maybe I've just overlooked the articles?

I've never been to Pete's Cafe (Pete's Burgers on Hoover & 23rd is more my budget), and AHT's review was lukewarm at best, but the photos (one of which is on the left here) make me want to give it a try... if I can resist going to Nickel Diner down the street.

When I worked desk jobs, I read a lot of blogs. A lot. It started with food blogs and then transitioned to Los Angeles blogs when I moved here in 2007. As a cubicle survivor, I don't spend nearly as much time checking them as I used to, but I'm trying to go to my Netvibes page a little more often so as to at least see the headlines. Looking at all my feeds now reminds me of just how hungry I was for distraction at the time. Now, it's more for pleasure and stimulus than a byproduct of that desperate must-consume-MORE-information-NOW feeling.

Bottom line: A good hamburger (with cheese) is a wonderful thing. Pleasure. And stimulus.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Life Line" by Bambu feat. The Fighting Cocks // Reform Healthcare!

Someone needs to play this song on the floor of the House today. 

"Life Line" - Bambu feat. The Fighting Cocks

This isn't some ploy to lobby for health care reform; this is a true story. The story was lived and the song was written long before Obama took office and long before the current debate.

The opening lyrics of "Life Line":

I been waitin' in this line
'scuse me sir
do you have the time?
'cause i been here for a long, long while
and I'm sure we'll never be seen soon

Rest in peace Arnold Moreno
your brothers in Echo remember your smile
And never forget the reason you gone
And you not standin' here with us now--

See the homie went down
The ambulance came
and handled that fool (?) like a rag
from one emergency room to another he went--
insurance, he did not have

He was hurt, but nurse 
could not do work
until she knew she was paid--
Is the nurse or the system 
the reason no breathin' is comin' from Arnold today?

Play songs for those
who know what it's like
to sign up for county aid
From LA to Bay to the A to the Chi to the boroughs of NYC

We all the same
bleed the same
treated the same
all in the name of a Jesus
who seems to like the people
with ch-change


People die because of our current healthcare policies. This bill isn't perfect, but we have to start doing something. People have died. People are dying. People will keep dying before they have to, because our government decides to do nothing. Those of us who can't afford healthcare-- our numbers are growing with every single month that passes in these harsh economic times-- will die. Something has to be done. Now.

In all honesty, I think a major shift in the way we think about health care needs to happen in this country, and working within the current system can only go so far, but we have to keep moving in a positive direction. Let not the perfect be enemy of the good.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another Cort Guitar Workers Concert Tonight!

The last Night of Music with Cort Worker Action was a blast. Come to this next one in Historic Filipinotown tonight and stand with Korean workers trying to get their jobs back--and bob your head to some great music from Tuesday Night Project Resident Artists David Tran aka applesauce, Sue Jin, Shin Kawasaki, Andrew Figueroa Chiang, and Mistah Cookie Jar, with DJ ANT on the 1's & 2's and Johneric Concordia (the man behind LA's BBQ sensation The Park's Finest) as your host.

From the Cort Guitar Workers ACTION site:

BRING BACK THE MUSIC!  Cort Worker Solidarity Concert
- Musicians taking action with guitar workers for worker rights

Thursday March 18th , 7-10pm
@ SIPA, Search to Involve Pilipino-Americans
3200 West Temple Street, Historic Pilipinotown

$3 suggested donation
This is not just a regular show. This is where musicians and the workers who made their guitars are taking action together.

Meet a Cort/Cor-tek guitar worker from Korea who has been making Fender and Ibanez guitars for decades in Cort’s sweatshops. When these workers asked for fair conditions, they were all fired by Cort.

FENDER has agreed to investigate, but your support is needed. Come to the show, and remind these corporations what guitars are for- for MAKING MUSIC!

Contact (regarding concert) : 714- 553-5874
Press contact: Sukjong Hong 646-567-9607

Find out more at the blog:
Join the Facebook page:

Leave now-- beat traffic! Hang out at Tribal Cafe about a mile east on Temple. (And get an apple-celery-cucumber-parsley juice. It's like magic.)

Parking around SIPA can be tight, but it's a cute neighborhood, so don't be afraid to walk. ;n)

Friday, March 12, 2010

After The Faire: Thinking about history, intergenerational dialogue, & activism

Last weekend, I went to the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California's Author/Artiste Faire at Katy Geissert Civic Center Library in Torrance. I went to support traci kato-kiriyama, Founder/Director of Tuesday Night Project, but I also went to get a glimpse of an Asian America that I have had little interaction with, despite my time as an organizer in Asian Pacific Student Association at UC Irvine: the community of Asian Americans who are older and who have been in the U.S. for generations.

Growing up as a 1st/2nd (depending on how you count) -generation Khmer American in Southern California, I had little interaction with Asian Americans who have been here for generations. Those few paragraphs in our elementary school history books on Chinese immigrant rail workers never gestated in my mind the understanding that Asians have been in this country for centuries. In Bellflower and Little Saigon, most of my Asian peers were also children of immigrants. I always felt new. Yes, the presence of Southeast Asians in the U.S. is very new, comparatively, but I wish I had gained an awareness of Asian American history much sooner.

When I first met older Asian folks who spoke perfect English late in high school, I was both impressed and bemused. An Asian person over thirty without an accent? Wha? It wasn't until college that I really began to fully grasp it-- the existence, presence, and contribution of Asian Americans in U.S. history. Regretfully, in my haste to graduate with my B.A. in English on time and my work organizing with APSA, Irvine Queers, and the Cross Cultural Center, I never took an Asian American studies class (except for Asian American Performance & Writing with Denise Uyehara, which was a wonderful exploration of interdisciplinary art).

Thus, my knowledge of Asian American history has come primarily through a few workshops at conferences, reading on my own, and, most of all, being around people who know much more about it than I do. I've been out of college for nearly three years now, but my education hasn't stopped. In fact, I feel like it has increased exponentially. A big part of that is due to my involvement in Tuesday Night Project and working with traci and other folks who were actually there in the 1990s working to get Asian American Studies in the university, people who were in the student movement then and took lessons from the activists who came before them in the anti-war movement and civil rights movement in the 1960s and 70s. (traci is, by the way, the first student ever to graduate with a minor in Asian American Studies from Cal State Fullerton.)

As valuable as any Asian American studies literature I might read about the movement is the chance to talk to people who were there, who have been through it, and who are still in the movement, often as teachers.

I was one of the youngest (if not the youngest) person at the JAHSSC Authors/Artists Faire in Torrance. When I looked around, I wondered Where are the young people? Where are the people my age? I looked around and saw books about Japanese American internment experiences, Buddhism in the camps, books about Los Angeles' diverse cultural history. And the people who wrote the books were there, within arms' length (often closer, as it was a packed event), incredibly accessible.

I have this urge to say "Well, it was an event at a public library, and not particularly close to any university, and I mean, the demographic of the attendees doesn't really reflect whether young people are interested and engaged with our predecessors." I want to say that as a sort of disclaimer, but in all honesty, the lack of young people at the event really shook me.

I suppose one of my primary anxieties is the under-valuing of speaking, really speaking, with elders. Not merely respecting them, but listening to them, coaxing out their stories, perspectives, opinions. This comes in part from often feeling disconnected from elders in my own family and from regret that I did not take the opportunity to learn from and talk to my grandmothers as much as I could have when I had the chance.

These personal forces notwithstanding, I still believe that inter-generational dialogue--and not only dialogue, but genuine connection--is utterly necessary to the Movement, whatever specific issue or portion of it we are engaged in (and when I say Movement, I also mean Life and living). Because there is something to learn from what those who came before us know and feel, and there is also something to learn from what they don't.


This is turning out to be a much longer thought than I expected. To be continued.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Got A Free 5-Day Metro Pass

I'm not sure why or how, but a form came in the mail with the offer and I filled it out and returned it. My pass came a few days ago. I wonder whether they'll be tracking users anonymously... or not. Hmm. I'm not paranoid, really. Not really.

Anyway, unlimited Metro use for five days! Free is good. Now to figure out when the best time to use it would be... If it's sunny this weekend, maybe I'll use it to go to Saturday's International Women's Day Mother's March, starting at 4th Street near Shatto Place at 11AM and ending at MacArthur Park. If not then, there's also One Imagination's Break The Silence Open Mic on March 25th in the opposite direction on the Blue Line.

Ah, the possibilities.

The last time I rode Metro was to go to Cort Guitar Workers Night of Guitars concert in Koreatown back in January. I'm about due to ride again.

Strange to think about how, at this time last year, I was still car-free and waiting in the rain for the Metro 128 somewhere between Bellflower and Compton, getting soaked to the skin because I'd forgotten my oh-so-sexy plastic poncho. Now I only ride on special occasions and when I happen to get a free pass in the mail. Privilege tastes funny.

I wonder how many folks who could really use a free pass actually got one.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Help South LA's imMEDIAte Justice win $25k!

Everyone, a wonderful South Los Angeles-based project called imMEDIAte Justice is competing in this month's Pepsi Refresh Everything contest and is trying to win $25,000 to fund their work teaching girls media literacy and sexual health through film-making. 

Here's a sample of what their work helps create:

ImMEDIAte Justice provides education and takes it a step further by providing a means for youth to engage with these issues that impact their lives, to share their stories with each other and with their communities.

Please take just a few seconds to vote for them every day. The top 10 receive funding!

Thank you!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

V-Day Event! Q-Team Presents Night of Bad (Performance Art)

"You don't have to date us, just commit to 1 night..."

Q-Team provides "a space for trans and queer youth of color, ages 12 -25 years old to showcase their experience, creativity, and struggles."

I'll be reading some poetry in a short 5-minute set.

My last encounter with Q-Team was when they held an event in a space downstairs from the Da Capo buildings on Main Street in 2008 (when I lived there).

qteam's founding members include youth who identify as immigrants, refugees, poor and working class, womyn (born and self identified), differently abled, and spiritual. qteam exists to challenge and resist the many interlocking systems of oppressions through multi-issue, grassroots organizing. qteam is committed to building and sustaining safe physical and political spaces for the empowerment of young people by advancing and supporting their natural leadership abilities through education and the promotion of wellness and self-care.
I'm looking forward to connecting and community with queer & trans youth of color at this event. Such spaces, I believe, are revolutionary.


Night of Bad (Shifting Cultures, One Bad* Performance at a time)

Minority AIDS Project
5147 W. Jefferson blvd.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


*Bad as defined by Urban Dictionary definition #2!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Queer & Vietnamese & NOT Invisible: LGBTQIA Contingent in Tet Parade

Okay, so this is not directly Los Angeles-related, but it's something I have to write about because I grew up not far from, and went to high school in, the heart of Little Saigon.

In case you didn't know, I'm queer, Asian, and female. Fun, right? Especially in Orange County! 

I'm Khmer. I never went to the Tet Festival, and the barricades that went up in preparation for the Tet Parade were a nuisance to getting to class on time. Despite having many Vietnamese friends and growing up in a Vietnamese community, I didn't participate in these affairs. 

This year, I'll be going down to attend the parade for the first time ever. Why? Because for the first time ever, Vietnamese LGBTQA organizations are going to participate in the parade

This is huge. So often it feels like those of us who live in the intersection of sexuality and race (as in those of us who are not white and not straight) find ourselves having to choose-- not always consciously, at times very consciously-- between our racial identity and our sexual identity, depending on the spaces that we're in. I and many of my peers have had that experience of feeling that our queer selves are invisible when we are with our families or in Asian American spaces. 

On Saturday, a contingent of Vietnamese lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally folks are going to do something amazing: they are going to be visible during the Tet Parade & Festival

They've been met with opposition from councilmembers such as Andy Quach, who said in a press release to Vietnamese newspapers:  
This is an unfortunate event but as the city official and president of the Tet Parade organization I can not prevent it from happening. As an individual, I protest the participation of this group in the traditional and full-of-joy celebration of the Vietnamese people.
and from the conservative Vietnamese church community, who have told their members to stay away from the parade in protest of LGBT participation, stating that
During Tet, we don’t bring up ugly matters, anything unseemly in the family we hide it away, we only bring out what’s good.
I was profoundly angry when I read of Andy Quach's statement, and deeply upset with the church community's reaction.That Vietnamese LGBTQ people should be scorned for simply wanting to be wholly themselves and wholly visible during the "celebration of the Vietnamese people" is outrageous. That queerness is an "ugly matter" or "unseemly" is incredibly frustrating.

When I came out to friends in high school, I was surprised by my Catholic Vietnamese friends-- they were fully accepting of me. It wasn't an issue. I was so glad that despite growing up in a conservative community, my experience coming out was pretty uneventful. My friend Andrew brought up a great point on Facebook:
are Catholics any more accurate representations ...of Vietnamese heritage... an organized religion that was inducted in the last 150 years due to French Imperialism. Let's go for a more inclusive rather than divisive model of culture identity and community PEOPLE!
I can't help thinking about the first time I encountered API PFLAG (Asian Pacific-Islander Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) in the Long Beach Pride Parade when I was a student at UC Irvine. I ran up to Asian mom Ellen Kameya and hugged her-- I could have cried at seeing that an Asian parent could be so accepting, loving, supportive of her child's right to love.

I want to show the members of those churches the documentary In God's House, which focuses on Asian American Lesbian & Gay families in the church (consequently, Ellen Kameya is one of the subjects of the film).

Silence and invisibility are a great source of pain. So is lack of tolerance, and lack of effort to understand. These Vietnamese LGBTQA organizations are incredibly brave to participate in the Tet Parade and say "We won't be invisible any more; we are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer AND Vietnamese, we are a part of this community, too."

So I am going to go down to Westminster early in the morning on Saturday to show my support, love, and solidarity.

This passage from an email from one of the LGBTQIA organizers is inspiring: 
Let's counter hate with LOVE! Make heart signs about love, family, community, and unity. March peacefully and look respectfully. Do not counter hate with hate, because they would win. We will smile as they curse at us. They must be suffering a lot if they have nothing better to do than to create pain and suffering for others. We will breathe in deeply and breathe out love and compassion. This will calm us and guide us in confronting hatred. If people hurl things at us, please dodge. Bring an umbrella as a shield, just in case. If the police has a problem with preventing violence, please try your best to run away and not hit back, because if we do, this will be all they need to dismiss us and prevent us from marching next year. We must practice peace to transform prejudices and discrimination. Love and understanding will lead us to touch and change lives. The possible violence is the worst case scenario though. So, let's hope for the best and be prepared for the worst. We'll be the new civil rights movement in Little Saigon. 

(In the midst of this, I hope that the mainstream LGBTQIA community remembers not to scapegoat people of color for the passage of Proposition 8 or for homophobia in general-- racist people are already not-cute, racist queer people are REALLY not-cute... just as homophobic people of color are... you get the point. Hating in general is just not-cute.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rethinking Los Angeles Driving

On July 1st last year, my reluctant quest to become a car-owner again ended with my acquisition of an automobile and the requisite insurance policy. Mostly, I wasn't very happy about having a car-dependent lifestyle again, especially after having articulated my passion for making it car-free in Los Angeles.

I've adjusted again, as many people who live and drive in Los Angeles must. It takes a shift in thinking. Of course, this doesn't mean being complacent about a world where we create so much pollution just to get around in our own big chunks of metal (some prettier than others), but it does mean perhaps shifting to a kinder, gentler view of our fellow commuters.

Everyone is just trying to get around, and I honestly don't believe the ass-holery that we see on the road is often intentional. I thought about how I have no idea how many times I've done things that frustrated others on the road, and how many times I have made moves that were embarrassing and probably annoyed people. To avoid becoming too jaded, angry, overwhelmed by all the traffic mishaps, I've had to learn to be forgiving. Driving Angelenos might be a much more understanding, forgiving people than we realize. Drive from East LA to Santa Monica on a Friday during rush hour and see.

In the end, the person in the car that cut you off is as much a person as you are; equally human, equally imperfect (though at the moment you might think them much moreso).

Compassion is a great coping mechanism.

Image from alforque

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Left in the Meter

Parking meters. Hate them. Especially when, in many parts of the city, the rates are as high as $3 per hour. It's scary that we can now pay for metered parking with credit cards. How much more expensive are these things going to get? Hideous.

I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but when I put too much change in a meter and come back well before it's up, I get a bit frustrated. I get this feeling that I should stick around just to get my money's worth or something. Weird, I know.

I did that today, but it was after arriving at a meter that already had time in it. And I remembered how happy--almost giddy-- I get when I park at a meter and find that there's still time on it.

So I let go of my annoyance at spending a quarter needlessly, knowing that the next person who parked in that spot would experience that same pleasant surprise and (hopefully) goodwill toward the universe that I felt when I found time left on the meter.

Image by get directly down

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

1% For Art, Too Much For LA City Council?

LA City Council is voting this morning on whether to cut the 1% of Transient Occupancy Tax which goes to grant funding for the Department of Cultural Affairs.

From Arts For LA:

Wednesday's City Council meeting will begin at 10am and will be located at

John Ferraro Council Chamber
Room 340, City Hall
200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

A valid photo ID is required for entrance into the Council Chamber.

The Council Chamber doors may be closed shortly after 9a.m. due to capacity issues.  Therefore, you may not be able to get into the room and may be turned away.  Please plan to arrive early if you are attending.

If you decide not to attend, you can follow @Arts4LA on Twitter, check for updates.  We will be updating frequently.  You can also watch the City Council meeting on the City Council website.

Over 4,000 letters have been sent to City Council members. This initial action sent a resounding message to our city leadership that the arts are part of our economic recovery.

Over 150 arts professionals have also signed up to provide public testimony on tomorrow's motion to remove the dedicated funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs.

The meeting is going to be a zoo.  Arts is one of many special interest groups including the Environment, Disability Rights and Neighborhood Councils that is vying for support.

Seating will be extremely limited and city council will limit access due to capacity issues, meaning if you are allowed in the room, you may not be able to get out for several hours. Council will reduce the amount of time each participant can speak to 60 seconds and limit the number of people giving public comment.

Therefore, we ask that you attend the meeting as a visible demonstration of support - not necessarily to provide testimony.  We encourage you to come and to WEAR RED.  

Come on, Los Angeles, art is integral in building the identity of a city and a community. What does cutting support to the arts (not to mention education) while increasing the police force say about LA's priorities?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bambu: Beach Cruisin'

I loved listening to this track from rapper/activist Bambu's second solo album "...i scream bars for the children..." as I biked around SoDo.

"Liquor store--church, liquor store--chicken shack, liquor store--church, liquor store--check cash" is such an accurate description of what a South LA neighborhood is like, and the reason why organizations like Community Services Unlimited, Inc., which provides nutrition education in South LA, are so important to the community.

Since first seeing Native Guns (Bambu, Kiwi, & DJ Phatrick) perform at the Students of Color Conference at UC Berkeley in 2006, I've been hooked to Bambu's lyrics and emphatic delivery. I have great respect for his dedication to LA and to Kabataang maka-Bayan, or Pro-People Youth, a progressive youth organization in Historic Filipino town which was founded in 1999 to "to raise the social consciousness of the youth to organize and mobilize in response to issues affecting our local communities, the oppressed people of the Philippines and other pro-people issues around the world."

Lots of good people doing good work in this town.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's In A Headline?

Within South L.A.'s killing zone, a haven from violence is about "a mile-wide area bounded by Hoover Street, Halldale Avenue, 73rd Street and 85th Street in Vermont Knolls [that] has had no homicides in the last three years."

The title of this recent article in the LA Times bothered me. A lot. It perpetuates the idea that South LA is a violent, terrible, scary place-- I'm not saying that the area is actually safe, but using this sort of language to talk about South LA does nothing to help dispel the lore of the neighborhood that made the City change the name from "South Central" to "South" LA.

The article itself delves into the ways that the people of that community have created a neighborhood where sometimes they "fall asleep with the doors unlocked because it's so comfortable" because there, "people keep an eye out." To know that an area like this can exist in South LA is definitely news that should be discussed.

The rest of the article, however, points out how dangerous the surrounding area is. It discusses the troubles that plague South LA: gangs, unemployment, lack of opportunity, violence. Then it ends with a story of a 17-year-old boy who was shot and killed, with the hypothesis that it happened because he refused to join a gang.

I don't deny that the facts are there. I can't take issue with facts. What I can take issue with is the way this article is arranged-- the way that it talks about South LA makes it sound like the "haven" in Vermont Knolls is a fluke, a stroke of good luck more than a result of people putting in time, energy, and effort into building a safer community.

Why did the headline have to say "killing zone"? Why wasn't it something like "South LA residents work together to create a safe zone in a troubled area"? Would something positive simply not garner enough interest in the readership?

Well, it got my attention, so the ploy worked. I'm still not okay with it.

I haven't lived in this supposed "killing zone," but calling it that isn't going to help the community get better. The article could have used Vermont Knolls as an example of possibility and hope for South LA, but it didn't. That's upsetting.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

5 Random Good Things

In no particular order, with no particular them, from my particular perspective, from my particular experience:

5 Random Things That Make Life In LA Good (note: (some of my 25 random good things might be associated with each other in some way. I can't help that. Good things beget good things. I have no agenda other than to share what has made my life in LA good.)

1. Tuesday Night Project. So, I am a currently a co-producer. Conflict of interest? Not really. This was on my list of reasons-LA-is-awesome since 2008, when I went to a Tuesday Night Cafe for the very first time. There are some pretty amazing people involved with TNP and I feel lucky to have been a part of it for the last year.

2. The Park's Finest. It's the sauce. The rub, the meat, those are great, but the killer move is the sauce. It has kick and it has coconut milk in it (I think-- and/or unicorn blood). There's not really any going wrong there. The owner/operator is Johneric Concordia, Resident Host of Tuesday Night Cafe and a member of

3. The Fighting Cocks. I have a soft and tender spot for independent bands that play good music with political lyrics. They play around Long Beach a lot and, yes, the band is one of TNP's Resident Artists.

At this point, it sounds like TNP has eaten my life. Well, it has enriched it immensely. There will be some non-TNP-related stuff in this list, I promise.

4. Papa Cristo's! I can't say the name without an exclamation point. There on Normandie & Pico may be found the falafel that ruined me for all other falafel, at least in California. It's been over a year since I had a falafel sandwich from there and I probably think/talk about at least once a week. I also liked buying Greek/Turkish coffee from there. Strong stuff, goes well with lots of sugar.

5. Random places like St. Vincent Court. There's so much yet-to-be-discovered-(by me)-quirk in this city. There's so much old and new mixed together and sometimes it's hard to tell which is which. I loved wandering through this place one sunny afternoon (after biking past it but not entering it one dark night), but I've yet to try out its breakfast/lunch offerings because I no longer reside nearby.

Since I talk about leaving LA so much, it'll be good to document these good things to explain to myself later why 1) I never left or 2) why I left and came back.

Now if only I could find a nice low/no-rent situation back in SoDo. If any of you (two or three, if I'm lucky) readers happen to have any ideas, please feel free to drop me a line.