Saturday, April 01, 2006

Instant Yang v.7: The Asians of Reality TV; APIA Katrina RELIEF benefit; the National Budget Simulator!

Update time again, and a number of you who are reading this are probably getting this for the first time. That’s in an effort to filter the tide of inbound emails I’ve been getting, I’m trying to consolidate my contact lists. What that means is that I’ve set it up so that email to asianpopculture@gmail.com from people who are receiving this newsletter is being tagged so that I know it’s coming from this list. I intend to prioritize those emails when going through stuff for possible inclusion here, in the “POPMail” section of the SFGate.com column, and, of course, in the column itself.

What does this mean? It means that if you’re on this list, you’re welcome--no, URGED--to send me info about what you’re doing, and things you’ve seen, heard, experienced, or, I suppose, tasted or smelled, if you feel that they’re worthy of bringing to the attention of a larger group of potential readers. There are currently well over a thousand individuals on this list, and more are always welcome--so please also feel free to pass the subscribe link on to anyone you think might benefit or enjoy. I’ve also just added the public email addresses of some entities that I think are doing interesting or relevant things to this list, hoping that you’ll also share what you’re doing with me as well. Remember, if you want to unsubscribe at any time, the link is at the bottom of this email, and you won’t get this again (unless you resubscribe, of course).

Just as a reminder, the SFGate column focuses on Asian and Asian American popular culture, from my slightly self-absorbed perspective; there’s definitely room for more diversity of subject matter. I’d love to hear more about South and Southeast Asian, women’s, hapa, queer, Asian diasporic issues, or issues relating to Asians outside of New York, and particularly, between the coasts.

If you simply have feedback, an opinion, or an alert that you’d like to pass on, it’ll probably land in either the occasionally appended POPMail part of the column, or posted to this list. Of course, I can’t get to everything, so sorry if I miss stuff! Note: This isn’t a calendar listing or asianamerica.craigslist.org; only occasional events will be highlighted, and I won’t help you sell your used car or buy a house. (Choice jobs or casting calls are more likely to be passed along, however; hard to imagine people complaining about getting those in their inbox.)

Back to regularly scheduled programming: This week’s Asian Pop column looks at Asian Americans on reality TV—catching up with Diane Mizota (now an “angel” on NBC’s THREE WISHES), and Carrie Ann Inaba (one of the judges on ABC’s summer breakout hit DANCING WITH THE STARS), as well as Survivor survivor Shii-Ann Huang. It’s obvious that reality TV is opening the door for more Asian faces on primetime…the question is, does this reflect real progress, or just a passing fancy?

REALITY BITES

Asian Americans have struggled to break into prime time since the dawn of television. Now, in the age of reality television, opportunity finally seems to be knocking. Or is it?

Constant readers may note my recent obsession with SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE?, the other big toe-tapping tournament on TV. Well, the elimination of insano stunt-break king Ryan Conferido a few weeks back blunted the show's appeal for me a little bit, but the last remaining Asian American contestant, Melody Lacayanga, has been simply bangin', and is in the Final Four heading into next week's finals. Will she pull one out for the team, or will she be overwhelmed by grinning dance machine Nick Lazzerini? (I don't think Ashle "Jan Brady" Dawson or the overmatched Jamile McGee really have a chance here, but we shall see.)

Event stuff: If you're in New York and free tonight, head to RELIEF, an APIA benefit for Hurricane Katrina survivors, being coordinated by lovely 'n' talented spoken word diva Emily Chang (formerly of I WAS BORN WITH TWO TONGUES and now Mango Tribe). Show starts at 7:30 at the ImaginAsian Theater, 239 E. 59th St. (b/w 2nd & 3rd Ave.); admission is $7 to $30, based on what you can do. Highlights include: DJs Kuttin Kandi and Rekha, spoken word standouts Regie Cabico and Ishle Park (as well as Chang herself), and singer songwriter Kevin So.

There's a flyer here.

For more information on relief organizations.

For more about the situation facing immigrants down South.

Also, for those who are curious, IMDiversity.com's Asian American Village posted my complete commentary on the Katrina aftermath.

Finally, to follow on that political vein, I wanted to point people to an interesting website, the National Budget Simulation.

The NBS allows you to try balancing the budget yourself--by adjusting line-items for both expenses and taxation, according to your personal priorities. Ever wondered what our deficit would look like if you killed off environmental regulatory bodies, cut back on support for disaster relief, launched a few expensive wars, and gave huge tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy? Whoops, guess we already know what THAT looks like...

The simulation offers some extremely educational insights on where your money is actually going, and what we can do to address the massive and growing federal budget gap. Here's a hint: If you want to balance the budget without effectively destroying the government, tax cuts for everyone but the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers have got to go. By rolling back the 2001/2003 tax cuts and eliminating tax loopholes for corporations, I managed to get us to a $6 billion surplus--while actually increasing spending on our troops and investing in education, and preserving just about everything else (a few areas did get 10 percent cuts, which I'm going to say reflects "elimination of government waste and inefficiency," like every other pol does)...

Check it out, and let me know what you ended up with, and why--I'm curious to see your results.

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