Hyphen staffers from 2005 (photo: Lanlian Szeto)
Tucked beneath a busy freeway on foggy June night, a large crowd gathered together in San Franciscoâ€™s South of Market neighborhood to celebrate Hyphen magazineâ€™s ten year anniversary.
Within SOMArts' walls splashed with colored lights and shadows, Hyphenâ€™s writers, artists, readers, supporters, and friends came together as witnesses of Hyphenâ€™s growth over the years. Articles, covers, and short stories from Hyphenâ€™s past 25 issues were displayed on the walls, tracing an extensive yet still-young history of Asian American storytelling.
Everybody at the party knew somebody who had brought them closer to this growing Asian American network, and readers remarked on the magazine's evolution over the past decade. â€śHyphen has become a lot more, what is the word? Snazzy, thatâ€™s it,â€ť said former Hyphen publishing assistant Shari de Costa. â€śYou can even see that through the Mr. Hyphen photos,â€ť she added, pointing to a string of photos of grinning Mr. Asian Americas.
Nearby artists Eve Skylar and Rick Kitagawa created whimsical and surreal paintings speaking to Hyphenâ€™s history. â€śItâ€™s otherworldly,â€ť said Skylar of her piece. â€śIn many ways, itâ€™s similar to the space we as Asian Americans create between Asia and America. We are removed from our roots and yet at the same time tied to them.â€ť
The nightâ€™s music and dance performances were evidence of the unabridged vision this generation of Asian Americans is creating, bringing together a diverse fusion of genres. A1 Dance Crew shook the stage with a dance battle that ended with an astonishing head spin. Hip-hop musician Senbei belted his provocative beats â€śdedicated to our ancestors because we didnâ€™t forget,â€ť reminding us of our foundations in this country. Mandeep Sethiâ€™s rap performance resonated with the dhol beat and a backdrop of young musicians with a whole lot of swag from India. â€śThey killed it!â€ť cried an audience member amidst the cheering.
The show spilled onto the dance floor, with DJs spinning late into the night and Hyphen friends new and old mingling over drinks. â€śThe crowd is so energetic and positive tonight," said the night's emcee Nicki Sun. "I am proud to be here.â€ť
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!