oh beezy

miscellaneous cultural commentary from two urban twenty-somethings. on this here interweb, we go by "bee" and "zy."

shades of ray; andy suzuki

Shades of RayI just finished watching “Shades of Ray,” which turned out to be one of those movies I couldn’t even try to give an objective review of because it is about being a mixed race (South) Asian American. There are so few narratives (filmed or written) I’ve encountered that are consciously centered on mixed race Asians, which means that the minute I do find one, I’m smitten with the mere idea of it. That said, “Shades of Ray” did receive some critical acclaim at festivals, so maybe there isn’t pure self-indulgent fluff behind my two enthusiastic thumbs up.

The main character, Ray, is a half-Pakistani, half-white self-described “mutt.” (I remember my grandpa’s reaction when I labeled myself that in his presence at around nine years old. It was the one time he ever spoke to me in an angry tone of voice). Ray is in love with a white gal, Noelle, who doesn’t say yes right away when he proposes because she has to convince her parents to accept a non-white fiance. (Uh, why this was not a double red flag in the first place is unclear to me… his love is a bit too blind). In the meantime, Ray’s Pakistani dad thinks he made a mistake after three or so decades of marriage to Ray’s white mother, and is pushing Ray to find a “nice Pakistani girl.” Ray acquiesces to a blind (family) date with a woman his dad recommends in return for his dad making an effort to patch things up with his mother. Sana, the “nice Pakistani girl” turns out to be, in fact, half and half just like Ray. You can tell where this is going. Of course, it wouldn’t be feature length unless Ray was all conflicted about who he’s meant to be with.

Anyways, I loved “Shades.” (Spoiler alert) It indulges what could be a commonly held fantasy amongst mixed people like me that a deeper understanding and connection can be found with a mixed partner. “You get me. And I don’t even get myself half the time,” Ray says to Sana. Maybe fantasy is the wrong word. Hope?

One small thing that made me smile (granted, I was a smiling idiot the entire film) was the use of Priscilla Ahn’s “Are we different?” during a scene when Ray is talking to Sana. Ahn is half Korean, half white (I’ve blogged about her before on here). Did the film’s writer/director, Jaffar Mahmood, mixed like his protagonist, include Ahn on purpose? Yay, either way. (Another thing I liked: Fran Kranz, of Dollhouse, as Ray’s roommate).

Hearing Ahn prompted me to check my music blogs (I can’t kick this tendency to have two screens going–TV and computer). Via A-tunes.net, I read about Andy Suzuki, an unsigned talent who I’m happy to add to my list of hapa musicians to follow. Check out this utterly sincere video from his blog about the inspiration behind his song, “300 Pianos:”

There’s another video about Andy trying out for American Idol. Definitely interesting for anyone who ever wondered about the audition experience, as well as a testament to the fact that Idol has a minuscule quota for actual talent (ya ya, no shit, i know). Final note: Just putting it out there, but imho he’s a no-brainer for a Disgrasian Babewatch post… Disgrasian is my new favorite blog, by the way. Read about the bloggers behind it in Hyphen’s latest issue. Here’s my favorite post so far:

http://disgrasian.com/2010/02/best-of-craigslist-teach-me-how-to-kiss/

**end stream of not-s0-consciousness**

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esna yoon

i love everything about this video–the gal, the song, the lighting, the framing and direction. hell, even the font. It’s the tasteful work of The Mighty Fifty, “a creative group of talents that revolves around all aspects of production.” Check out their site, the design and functionality of which I also love.

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devil drinks soda

If I had my own country, I’d probably ban soda. That and fluorescent lighting. (And Jews for Jesus, Pat Robertson, Mel Gibson, all forms of violence, etc.).

It’s not that I hate soda. I love certain kinds, like Dr. Brown’s black cherry. I just don’t like it when soda becomes a lifestyle–when it becomes necessary at every meal, when someone flips a shit because they didn’t get their third can of Diet Coke that day.

Anyways, the other night I was skipping immaturely around a fancy corporate office (all of the employees had gone home for the evening except the one who’d let me in), checking out the accoutrements and expansive views that I lacked at my nonprofit, basement-level workplace, when I found this: I came across the DIY soda maker after inspecting the refrigerator, the top shelf of which was stocked with free cans of Coke, Dr. Pepper, and other soda options (no juice whatsoever). There is also a standard soda machine about ten steps away from where I took this picture. WTF.

Those are the bottles you have to buy along with the machine. Good freaking lord. At least the “Soda Maker Donations” cup was empty. That gave me some solace.

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asian gals w. guitars

Well, not just guitars–pianos, too. Regardless, I tend to ❤ them. Here are a few:

Priscilla Ahn. So lovable, no? ‘Living in a Tree‘ is actually my fav song of hers, but I wanted to bring attention to a-Tunes.net, which alerted me to ‘The Boobs Song,’ as well as this next artist.

Jane Lui. I want a homemade music box.

Kina Grannis. Like Jane, a born-digital star via YouTube. (They’ve toured together, actually). She entered the video of her song, “Message from Your Heart,” into a contest that won her an airing during the Superbowl and a record deal.

Zee Avi. Yet another “YouTube sensation.” Aw.

Meiko. Meiko’s a quarter Japanese–she and her sister adopted Japanese names, kinda the way I replaced my middle name with my Grandma’s maiden name to get some filipina-ness in there. Kina and Priscilla are half (Japanese and Korean, respectively). So are Rachael Yamagata and Norah Jones. Represent, MIRAs. Yes, still pushing the hapa replacement label. Deal with it.

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to the tea

I’m into tea. All kinds. These days, tea is branching out. Here are some examples.

Hanger TeaHanger Tea. Does this not make so much sense?

Tea Bag CurtainsTea Curtains. Don’t just drink it. (Click on the image to read the how-to on making these, courtesy of Time Out NY).

Tea shirtTea shirt.

thirsteaBubble Tea. It’s flourishing in NYC. This is my preferred provider, on East 10th between 1st and Ave. A–Thirstea. Follow them on twitter for the occasional discount and whatnot.

earl grey ice cream

Earl grey ice cream. So good. Here’s a recipe. I plan to combine some of my favorite things in life and make earl grey ice cream mochi someday soon.

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it’s the little things.

Me– Embarrassing move of the day: waving my hands in front of a paper towel dispenser… for several seconds longer than it would take most people to realize that it is not, in fact, motion-activated.

Friend– Well I’m sure the paper towels were appreciative of you trying so hard to say hi.

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make it stop

Sometimes I get really down on the world, like when I was canvassing for a democrat’s political campaign a few years ago and some guy let his attack dogs out on me instead of answering the door. That moment, combined with being spit at a few days later and a slew of other negative experiences, wholly dampened all political aspirations I once had. Who wants to represent the interests of assholes?

Today’s downer is this news story: Marine Uses Craigslist to Arrange Assault of Girlfriend.

“Need a real aggressive man with no concern for women,” read an ad posted on Craigslist in early December. It included a photo of a woman from Wyoming. She did not post the ad. A week later, she was attacked.

According to police, a former boyfriend posted the ad on Craigslist, seeking someone to assault his ex-girlfriend. Jebidiah James Stipe, a Marine stationed at Twentynine Palms, California, wrote the ad on December 5th, pretending to be a woman looking to fulfill a rape fantasy. The victim saw that ad two days later, and contacted police, and Craigslist, and the ad was removed.

Unfortunately, two days was just enough time for Ty Oliver McDowell to see the ad and respond. Stipe and McDowell began a brief correspondence, with Stipe posting as his ex. McDowell told police that during an online chat, Stipe told him what “she” wanted: “humiliation, physical abuse, sexual abuse.” He also provided McDowell with her address. On December 11th, he broke into her house and attacked her, saying: “You want an aggressive man, bitch, I’ll show you aggressive.” Immediately after, she called 911 and reported the assault. Upon arrest, McDowell told detectives he thought he was fulfilling her fantasy, and was unaware that he had raped anyone.

I can’t take it.

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c’mon Tina.

Sometimes I find myself investing a surprising amount of concentration on wanting something to be as good as it sounds, like those seasonal pumpkin chai rooibos earl grey vanilla spice concoctions advertised at Starbucks (which I rarely actually order unless I can figure out a way to indicate I want it without saying “rooibos”). One recent object of such focus was the trailer for Date Night, starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey. Sadly, my willing-to-be-awesome powers had no impact, though I will say the one scene with James Franco and Mila Kunis made me laugh and hope that the two of them will collaborate on a comedy in the not too distant future.

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Leap Year a Load of Shit

Following up on Zy’s post bemoaning Amy Adams’s recent career moves, the media concensus is that Leap Year is notably awful.

In other news, I strongly recommend bento blogs as a nice little addition to your daily visual intake. Of course, I have a lot of love for Hapa Bento. Hapa Bento

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i know this much is true

My sister has the privilege of working for someone who brings her dogs to the office. Popeye apparently worked so hard today he couldn’t even make it totally into his bed before passing out. Who can blame Popeye? Publicity is a rough business in the city of angels.

I have no explanation for the title of this post except that it felt right.

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