V3 Con: Vision, Visibility, Voice


Banana I & II is back (and thank Buddha they changed the name)…as the V3 Digital Media Conference! It’s going down August 25th in Los Angeles, and will feature awesome folks like Angry Asian Man Phil Yu, actor & Thick Dumpling Skin co-founder Lynn Chen, APAs for Progress’ Curtis Chin, Disgrasian’s Jen Wang, and more speakers than you can shake a stick at. Official press release below:

The Asian American Bloggers Conference is Back in LA!
The “V3: Vision, Visibility, and Voice” Digital Media event will gather Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the digital space, and strengthen the reach of the AAPI online community

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) digital journalists, bloggers, and social media communicators nationwide will attend the “V3: Vision, Visibility, Voice” Digital Media Conference (V3con) on Aug. 24-25, 2012 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. To kick off the event, an awards reception will be held Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, Calif. The conference aims to showcase AAPIs in the digital space and build a stronger online community.

V3con, presented by the Asian American Journalists Association’s Los Angeles chapter (AAJA-LA), is the sequel to the Banana Asian American bloggers conferences in 2009 and 2011. The event has been expanded to include all forms of digital media, highlighting multi-platform AAPI communications in a one-day conference setting with interactive panels and workshops. V3con also will offer conference attendees unique “bloggable” experiences such as cooking and makeup demonstrations, tours of museums and historical areas near the venues, a bloggers showcase and much more.

“AAJA-LA is excited to bring to V3con some of the top names in Asian American journalism and highly influential communicators in digital media. The media landscape has shifted dramatically in emphasis, impact and resources with the rise of digital media. With this trend, AAPIs have emerged quickly and prominently on the digital media scene. V3 aims to highlight the vision, visibility and voice of AAPIs online,” said Joz Wang, creator and executive director of V3con and president of AAJA-LA.

Studies from the Pew Research Center found that 87 percent of AAPIs used the Internet every day, more than any other major demographic group. AAPIs also visit Twitter and WordPress more than other demographic groups. This data is reflected in the popularity of bloggers and vloggers online – of the 20 most-subscribed-to channels on YouTube three belong to AAPIs: Ryan Higa, with 5.2 million followers; Kevin Wu (KevJumba), with 2.3 million followers; and Michelle Phan, who has 1.9 million followers.

“We’re not just going to wait around to get represented in mainstream media. We’re looking for other avenues to get our voice out there. V3con is a place to share this vision, visibility and voice, and to strategize further on how to push the pedal to the medal at full throttle,” said Lac Su, author of “I Love Yous Are for White People” and one of the original founders of the Banana bloggers conference in 2009.

This year’s conference features YouTube sensations David Choi and Clara Chung; news anchors Frank Buckley, Susan Hirasuna and David Ono; Lela Lee of Angry Little Asian Girls; Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man; Jeff Yang, columnist for The Wall Street Journal;and film producer Teddy Zee. The panels will include topics such as AAPIs in mainstream media and on YouTube, food blogging, trendsetting in beauty and fashion, utilizing digital media in nonprofit and healthcare realms, anime and manga in the digital space, journalism vs. blogging, and covering sports in the social media era. It will also include an introductory workshop to various social media and blogging tools such as WordPress, Tumblr, Posterous and more.

V3con is presented by AAJA-LA, IW Group, Inc., and the organizers of the Banana bloggers conferences of 2009 and 2011. The conference is sponsored by Verizon Wireless, Comcast/NBC Universal, AARP, CBS, McDonald’s, Union Bank, and Wells Fargo, with in-kind donations from the Japanese American National Museum, Pacific Asia Museum, Panda Restaurant Group, Coca-Cola, Primo and Glaceau Smartwater.

More details, including program, speakers and registration, can be found online at www.v3con.com.


Banana 2 Recap

It’s been just over a week since the Banana 2 convening of APIA bloggers went down in Studio City, Los Angeles on February 26th. And boy howdy, what an incredible gathering it was.

BCB attended last year — and major props to Lac Su (I Love Yous Are for White People) and Steve Nguyen (channelAPA) for masterminding and producing the conference through pure sweat, love, and determination from the very beginning. But Banana 2, with over 200 attendees, a slick venue (including a big-ass twitter wall), and a well-oiled agenda, was leagues ahead of the inaugural 2009 convening.

pic by Diana Wei

I was juiced to moderate the “niche communities” panel, titled: “Fixated: Topic-specific Blogging”. While I’m happy to report that I met my ambitious goal of not upchucking during the Q & A or falling off the stage, what really made the session a success was the engaging, sharp panel of bloggers: N’jaila Rhee (Blasian Bytch), Jot Vorapaychith (Live LAO’d), Jason Sperber (Rice Daddies) and Marvin Gapultos (Burnt Lumpia & Manila Machine). Check ’em out, they are ’bout it ’bout it.

pics by Diana Wei

And although AzN didn’t fulfill his dream of meeting Gary Sinise at the after-party on the CSI:NY set, he can say that he parked in the same lot as his new fave show of all time forever and ever amen…Outsourced.

Hope to see y’all next year at an even bigger and better B3!

UStream of the Topic-specific blogging session and other B2 panels here.

Post-panel interview with Ted Nguyen here.

Lots o’ pics here.

Excellent recap by Hyphen’s Sylvie Kim here.

This Saturday! BCB at BANANA 2

Hey BCBers! We wanted to remind you that Sherdizz, AzNHeartthrob & CBruhs will be at the Banana 2 APIA Bloggers Conference this Saturday February 26th in Studio City, Los Angeles! Let’s all meet up and talk about blogging, blog about talking, talkybloggydrinkybloggyfunfunyeeahhboyyeee.

More info and full agenda here and here.

CBruhs will be moderating the panel called “Fixated: Topic-Specific Blogging” at 3 pm — so feel free to come through and heckle her. But be nice to the kick-butt panelists (N’jaila Rhee from Blasian Bytch, Cubicle Jot of Live Lao’d, Jason Sperber from Rice Daddies, and Marvin Gapultos of Burnt Lumpia) — or CBruhs will go all wild style on your azz (I don’t know what that means either).

See you there!

Asian American Network of Indiana eBay Auction Fundraiser

Check out eBay right now for some great items signed by some of the most well known Asian American artists, writers, academics and activists. All proceeds from the auctions go to AANI, the Asian American Network of Indiana, who will make a donation to the Purdue University Libraries to purchase Asian American Studies materials. For more information about the ImaginAsian art exhibit, please visit the web site at http://cla.purdue.edu/idis/asian-american/imaginasian/.

And check out these items on eBay now:

IMAGINASIAN Lt. Dan Choi autographed promo poster

IMAGINASIAN Giant Robot T Pack (M, mag subscription)

IMAGINASIAN Giant Robot T Pack (M, mag subscription)

IMAGINASIAN Maxine Hong Kingston ink enso signed

Just don’t bid on this, cause I’m currently the high bidder:

IMAGINASIAN Lac Su Sister Sitter photograph signed

“I Love Yous are for White People” T-Shirts are for Asian People

BcB favorite Lac Su, author of I Love Yous are for White People, is selling an official t-shirt based on his book. Get yours while its hot off the press. Shirts are $20 and the profits go to charity (to help the printers stay on at Giant Robot Magazine and to purchase Asian American studies books at Purdue and Indiana Universities). Peep Lac’s info below explaining the how, why and what’s for obtaining your very own shirt. NOTE: AzN endorses this shirt, the book, and the message behind the shirt, but does not condone or accept the letters “L” or “A” on the shirt, especially the Dodger Blue that adorns Lac’s hat.

People who’ve read my memoir suggested that if I stamp the words “I Love Yous Are for White People” onto a t-shirt, they would totally wear it. Perhaps they connect with the phrase on some level or because they dig my book. Or both.

So, I’ve reached out to some friends who made it happen. Thank you Donnytello Tran from Neaato for drawing the illustration and to Ryan Suda at Black Lava for screening the image onto nice, soft, and comfy t-shirts (i.e. not like the t-shirts you get at the Indo’ Swapmeet). It’s a unisex t-shirt and will hug your bod nicely (i.e. not like the t-shirts that make you feel like you have wings for sleeves).

How to get the t-shirt

Donate: $20.00
Shipping: FREE (domestic – for a limited time)
Optional: $2 more, if you want me to autograph the t-shirt for you. (Didn’t think my signature would cost anything but I am fund-raising.)

Make the check to “Lac Su” and mail to:
Give Me My Shirt
12606 Arabian Way
San Diego, CA 92064

Info I will need from you:

Name, address, size, and note either “sign it” or “your signature is worthless”. Your t-shirt(s) will ship the day after I receive your donation.

Proceeds will go to:
Continue reading

Bookish Bitchin: Miles From Nowhere

Alert, dear readers!

We’re trying a new thing here at BCB, where we plug (and actually read!) a book every month or so, in our attempt to promote API and other great lit, and of course dispense our unsolicited opinion to the 17 people who read this blog.

Minus the child. Double the excitement.

I do realize the “Celebrities Are Just Like Us!” section of OK! Magazine and serials from the Young Adult section of the public library may not really count as “literature” per se, but nonetheless this is a challenge I personally am up for, especially since I’m hoping it’ll help me stay indoors and not blow my money on Forever 21 joorees and cheap booze (or I can buy even cheaper booze to drink in my room. Don’t judge. Whiskey just goes naturally with the written word, boors).

AZN kicked it off last month with his review of Lac Su’s powerful I Love Yous Are For White People. I recently read a book that was also  published in 2009: Nami Mun’s Miles From Nowhere.

Joon is a teenage runaway born in South Korea and relocated to Bronx in the 1980s, where her father’s absence and her mother’s mental instability cause her to leave home at the age of 13. Like all self-absorbed New Yorkers, I like books about New York. The protagonist gets into a cornucopia of depressing shit all over the city, so I immediately took to it.

New York in the ’80s was a gritty, scary place, and I definitely felt this through Joon’s experiences. Over the course of five years, she hops from homeless shelter to hotel room to flophouse —  as an escort girl, Avon lady, nursing home aide, and petty thief, all the while nursing a heavy drug habit and a tendency to hang around folks inhabiting similar brutal and dangerous realities. The book reads stark, bleak, and at times disheartening, but Mun’s graceful use of language is haunting and beautiful without being sentimental.

Miles From Nowhere is an extremely engaging and easy read, though I had to take several breaks because it was so emotionally intense at times (I almost couldn’t finish the excerpt where Joon allowed her boyfriend to cut her shoulder blades open to the bone with a razor blade while they were high on dust). And don’t expect a chicken-soup-for-the-soul ending.

Nami Mun

I don’t know much about the author aside from the standard bio, but with some of the similarities (Mun grew up in the Bronx and worked as an Avon Lady and in a nursing home), I’m interested in how much of the novel may be autobiographical.

All in all, I highly recommend this book for the exquisite writing alone…it’s easy to see why Mun was named a “Best New Novelist” by Chicago  Magazine and Miles From Nowhere received a Whiting Award. Just make sure you’re not in a funky mood or recovering from a bad spell when you crack that baby open.

BANANA Recap from CBruhs

Welp, there’s not a whole lot I can add to AZNHeartthrob’s thorough post, and I’m pretty much in agreement with what he wrote. I’ll just add a few additional thoughts:

To get out of the way what has arguably turned into the most infamous aspect of the event: Yes, I was sitting close to MM during the panel and I would say he was a disruption, especially to those sitting next to him.  I certainly didn’t appreciate having my first comment interrupted —  in which I referenced an all-Asian American male podcast that considered interracial dating the primary concern of the Asian American gender divide — by MM yelling at me “C’mon, don’t throw us under the bus!” (MM, please don’t make assumptions about my sexual politics- you would probably be surprised). But I think that day was not a good representation of who MM is or his generally compelling perspectives and writing. And I do respect his heartfelt and honest apology (big ups to Lady Militant for taking a stand), as well as the other times we all hung out over the weekend.

We also have to keep in mind that we’re not all coming from the same place. Some of us work in the private sector, some of us have a background in academia, some work on social justice issues for a living. While the race, identity, and gender framework of the event may have fallen short of some’s expectations, we all need to meet each other where we are in order to progress together, otherwise we run the risk of appearing elitist and alienating because we don’t fulfill each other’s definitions of what a “good progressive” looks like.

And I do have to admit my hopes for the event were overly ambitious – that we might emerge with a loosely agreed upon set of goals or coordinated strategy, either to build our own online power or find a way to link up as a online community to an social/policy issue – as other progressive bloggers and bloggers of color, such as Pro-Migrant Blog Squad and Netroots, have done. Or that we might discuss how to diversify the online community and cultivate more varied voices in terms of ethnicity, class, age, education, etc.  But I realize a pre-requisite to all this is to just get in the same room to educate ourselves about each others’ presence and perspectives. This was, after all, a large panel/social gathering, not an advocacy work group.  Perhaps the next step will be figuring out if we (or who among us) even want to work together and what agenda we may want to push forward.

And I’m with AZN here on changing the name BANANA…I wanted to joke during the event that “yellow on the outide and white/off-white on the inside”  might be more appropriate for me, being half white (BA-DUM-CH!).  But while I understand the term’s interpretation by the organizers, I can’t separate it from the meaning many of us have grown up with — with “banana” used as a derogatory term — like oreo or coconut —  to challenge or invalidate our “authenticity” as Asian Americans, as well as reinforcing the fucked up notion that all of us want to/should aspire to be white.

Bottom line is, I commend Lac and Steve for having the initiative, vision, and sheer sweat to pull this together. BCB was honored to be invited, and the value of face time with other folks outweighed all the snafus that it’s fair to say would be expected from such a massive inaugural undertaking. I’m excited about what the next one will look like and who it will draw, and I’ll be priviliged to say I was there at the beginning.