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I got an email today from a friend confirming that our New Orleans friend and his wife are alive and well, and had made it to Houston. I am so relieved. I knew they had the means to get out of there (money and car) unlike some other people, but I don't know if they would have left the city. I just couldn't see them leaving. Still don't know what their story is, but at least I know they are safe.
This was forwarded to me in an email. Caveat: I'm not sure whether or not these were the actual captions written (though it would not be surprising), and who wrote them. The same person? Different people?
Our founding publisher, Yuki, is from New Orleans. Luckily, her family evacuated in time, though they are now without homes or jobs for many months. I've also not heard from a writer friend of mine; we had not kept in touch recently. But our other friends have not heard from him either.
What is not to love about Ryan? Check out that hair! And the boy is one of 14 finalists on "So You Think You Can Dance" -the dancer's version of "American Idol." Not only is Ryan Asian American, he's one of just a few b-boys who have made it through the first eliminations.
The I-Hotel reopened yesterday, 26 years after elderly Asian American immigrants were literally dragged from their apartments and the building was demolished. All for the rising properly values in the Financial District. Lawsuits ensued, protestors and senators got involved, and now a 15-story building is opening in the old Manilatown. It not only has low-cost senior housing, but a community center and a rooftop garden. Sounds really nice. Has anyone checked it out yet?
Read about the I-Hotel here in today's SF Chronicle.
The East Bay Express has some coverage on two Asian American music acts this week. First, a story on Golda Supernova, in all her superb divaness. The story also goes a bit into the Pinoy arts scene, the efforts of Bindlestiff to become a bonafide nonprofit, and why some people (Golda included) would rather it not.
The same writer also has a story on Bento, a local alternative rock band that apparently has a devoted following of swooning girls. If the name sounds familiar to you, maybe it's because we reviewed them in issue 6. You can swoon over them yourself Sunday when they play at the Oakland Chinatown Street Fest.
Guest blog by Alex Nishikawa
As I venture through the city I notice an increasing amount of stencil work upon the walls and sidewalks. I've had the chance to talk to some of the people who align themselves with this fad and asked them what they term their activity. Some of them call it graffiti, while others call it art. Some straddle the line and consider it both. Rare are those who are honest about it and call it what it is; stenciling. So I post this question to the dedicated readers of this blog forum...
What do you consider it?
I think by calling it graffiti art, they discredit and insult both the graffiti subculture as well as those who consider themselves artists. Are they artists, really, or merely glorified tracers who "cleverly" speak in bumper sticker catch-phrases in an attempt to make some sort of witty social commentary? I think they need to stop fooling themselves. If we call stencilers artists, in my opinion, we might as well start considering someone who uses a copy machine to be Michelangelo incarnate.
However, I must admit there are some exceptions to this. There are some innovators, such as Robert Banks, who effectively use stencils to enhance their art and to communicate messages to the populace. Unfortunately individuals such as he are just that; exceptions. The bulk seem to be imitators or...duplicators? *Gasp*
I suppose it was merely a matter of time before the cut and paste mentality that is imbued in many art and design courses permeated society at large. Maybe what they do is art after all...just really bad art...