Hyphen staffers from 2005 (photo: Lanlian Szeto)
Tucked beneath a busy freeway on foggy June night, a large crowd gathered together in San Francisco‚Äôs South of Market neighborhood to celebrate Hyphen magazine‚Äôs ten year anniversary.
Within SOMArts' walls splashed with colored lights and shadows, Hyphen‚Äôs writers, artists, readers, supporters, and friends came together as witnesses of Hyphen‚Äôs growth over the years. Articles, covers, and short stories from Hyphen‚Äôs 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. ‚ÄúHyphen has become a lot more, what is the word? Snazzy, that‚Äôs it,‚ÄĚ said former Hyphen publishing assistant Shari de Costa. ‚ÄúYou can even see that through the Mr. Hyphen photos,‚ÄĚ 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 Hyphen‚Äôs history. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs otherworldly,‚ÄĚ said Skylar of her piece. ‚ÄúIn many ways, it‚Äôs 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.‚ÄĚ
The night‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúdedicated to our ancestors because we didn‚Äôt forget,‚ÄĚ reminding us of our foundations in this country. Mandeep Sethi‚Äôs rap performance resonated with the dhol beat and a backdrop of young musicians with a whole lot of swag from India. ‚ÄúThey killed it!‚ÄĚ 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. ‚ÄúThe crowd is so energetic and positive tonight," said the night's emcee Nicki Sun. "I am proud to be here.‚ÄĚ
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!