I write a monthly column for Hyphen Magazine’s online blog.  I wrote my first column in February 2012, which was a VaLINtine’s Day Card for Jeremy Lin.  For my column, I’ve been honored to interview actor/director Joan Chen, director Alice Wu, actors Lynn Chen and Michelle Krusiec, and musician Eric Hsu of Johnny Hi-Fi.  My interview with academic/filmmaker Celine Parreñas-Shimizu was cross-posted in Racialicious.  My December 2012 column on the suicide of David Phan was also cross-posted in Racialicious and an excerpt will be re-printed in the next issue of Hyphen.

{ via Hyphen magazine }

  • Can Sleepwear Be Sexy? Fashion Tips for HYPHEN's PJ Soiree Party From Retrofit Republic
    Monday, September 9th, 2013

    Not sure what to wear to our PJ Soiree Party on September 13th? Want to win the sleepwear contest? Get some fashion advice straight from the guest judges for the evening, Jenny Ton and Julia Rhee of Retrofit Republic.

    How do you define the theme of the party, "grown-and-sexy"?
    JR:  I think grown-and-sexy is a really subjective concept.  But for me, so much personal style is really the embodiment of an idividual’s personality, their lifestyle, their entire aesthetic.  Regardless of what they’re wearing, if they’re able to wear something that reall feels complimentary to their body type and who they are as individual and they wear it with confidence, that’s a dead ringer for grown and sexy.
    So when we’re talking about grown and sexy sleepwear…given that this is an evening event, and there are people around, birthday suit is probably not going to be the best idea.  Clothing should definitely not not be optional.  I’m talking directly to you, Terry Park.  So I think for grown and sexy sleepwear, wear something that feels reflective of who are you as an individual and also soemthing that you feel confident and comfortable in.  a confident and comfortable piece is where we’re going to see a lot of interesting interpretations.  
    JT: Grown AND sexy.  
    Do you have any favorite designers/models/outfits of grown-and-sexy sleepwear?
    JT:  Vintage sleepwear from the 1920s – 60s which we carry a few in our shop.  Similar to women’s wear, in general, from the 1960s and before it was seen as “unlady” like and socially unaccepted to dress in any risqué manner.  This also translated into sleepwear with a majority of 1960s and prior vintage sleepwear or nightgown’s were floor length and covered most of a woman’s body.  Even under the sheets, the more covered up or demure a lady the more lady like she was.  But, of course, this wasn’t always practiced ;)
    JR:  We have a vintage kimono…for women, we have a couple vintage negliges, which go in the direction of lingerie…a lacy slip that you wear under dresses.  For women, men’s button up shirts are often seen as sleepwear.  
    Public record—I love Terry K. Park. 
    As a guest judge, what kinds of "grown-and-sexy" sleepwear do you suggest for those attending the hyphen party?  
    Since I’m a big fan of vintage and because we’re less likely to see it represented, I’d recommend vintage sleepwear.  For me, vintage sleepwear represents grown and sexy.  It’s classy which is sexiness personified without having to show your goodies.  Sexiness is not about how much skin you show but about confidence, confidence, confidence!  How confidently you carry yourself, even in the most conservative attire, will turn heads in the best way possible. 
    It’s also trite to associate sleepwear with risqué and raunchy.  Why not defy the social standards and go with something classy?  Classy is always in style.  Therefore, try floor length pieces like the 1970s sleepwear jumpsuit (1st image attached: "women PJ") or the other pieces seen in the vintage sewing pattern images? 
     You may also don the standard pajama suit set.  Wear your pants high-waisted and unbutton the bottom buttons of your PJ top and tie the ends around the pants’ high waist line or belt around the most narrow part of your waist to create a peplum style aesthetic or tuck in your PJ top and belt around your PJ bottom’s waistline.  Pair all of these looks with your sexiest and highest heels.  My personal favorite is to wear a men’s (size Tall) PJ button-up because it’ll be oversized and long enough for you to pair with over-the-knee stockings and your stilettos.  It’s demure on top yet sexy on the bottom without looking like a pajama go-go dancer gone wrong. 
    For the fellas or more masculine presenting folks, the classic pajama suit set and robe (think Hugh Heffner and the vintage men’s sleepwear sewing patterns attached) will never go out of style.  It’s a grown and sexy classic.  Maroon is also the color of the season.  It’s definitely a grown and sexy color too.  Don’t be afraid to mix your pajama suit sets as well, such as a white PJ button-up and a black PJ pant (white and black are always a guaranteed solid pairing) or mixing patterns is a bonus such as a classic tartan plaid print on the bottom and polka dots on top. 
    The key to pulling off any of the PJ suit sets is (drumroll please) confidence!  However, it does not exempt you from being a wrinkled hot mess (unless you’re going for this facetious aesthetic) so please iron, iron, iron! 
    I also don’t mind a long johns one piece or 2 piece set either.  Tongue-in-cheek and not taking yourself too seriously are undeniably sexy too, right Terry Park, Mr. Hyphen 2011 Winner? 
    What's your favorite sexy sleepwear outfit to wear?  Why?
    JT:  It depends on my mood.  Either my vintage floor length black silk 1950s nightgown, or only wearing my XL and worn out men’s Berkeley t-shirt.
    JR:  I have different kinds of sleepwear.  I have sleepwear that matches the mood that I’m in.  so if i’m in a really surly, upset mood, then I’m going to wear something comforting, like pull-over onesies, like flannel nightgowns that can be house mumus.  Its reminiscent of what my mom would wear…when I want comfort, I’ll just pull on something that feels nostalgic and something comfortable…I have this two piece silk menswear inspired PJ set that I really really love.  It’s not really form fitting, it’s long sleeved, but because of the material, it just feels a little bit extra lux…I found this really amazing 1950s style vintage men’s robe that’s also silk, and I’m just in love with it.  It’s floor length on me.  It’s midnight blue solid print with small white polka dots.  It looks really classy.  
    As a judge, if I saw something that just came off a manniquin of victoria’s secret, I’d score it pretty low on originality.  I think sex appeal is less about flesh; the name of the game isn’t about to show as much skin as humanly possible, it’s more performative…That sex appeal, that confidence is going to exude without having to take off all your clothes.  
    I’d give you extra points if you wore something that was really witty or silly.  If you want to score high points with me, go away from the obvious, and do something that other people wouldn’t feel comfortable doing.  Go for the bold choice.  Push your own personal boundaries but in a way that still feels true to who you are.  So in terms of menswear, thoughtful presentation is going to be really key.  So tshirts and boxers, that’s the obvious choice.  Certainly if it feels comfortable, then go for it.  But if you’re trying to win, this would be an elevated version of what you wear.  Contrast color piping, collared shirts, button ups, I’m a sucker for matching PJs, like two piece pajama sets, robes, or even a Hugh Hefner look.  It can be the smoking jacket, with the leather slippers, and the silk PJ set, maybe a nice paisley print, a nice pocket square.  
    Do you have a favorite sleepwear outfit from your childhood?
    JT:  My pink Ninja Turtles PJ set!  I have never been a fan of pink, but my parents tried to subscribe us to gender norms by gifting my twin brother with the blue Ninja Turtles PJ set and, begrudgingly, I was stuck with the pink set.  Regardless, it’s the friggin Ninja Turtles!  Turtle Power! 
    Do you have a favorite sleepwear outfit from the sleepwear portion of Mr. Hyphen? 
    HAHA, Terry Park!!!!  Sneaky you.  Of course my answer is your undeniably sexy Korean Ajima/juvenile and identity confused sleepwear.  I’m turned on just thinking about it!   You must attach your sexy Mr. Hyphen sleepwear photo here! 
    --What do you think of Terry Park?  
    Why is this unicorn stud still single and not a billionaire yet?
    Does RR have any sleepwear outfits for sale? 
    We sure do!  Visit us by setting up your Personal Shopping Session at www.retrofitrepublic.com/shop and mention, “Terry Park is the epitome of grown & sexy!” in our Additional Comments section to receive 30% off your next total purchase with us.
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  • Feed the People, Not the Trolls: An (Incomplete) Archive of APA Women Musicians
    Thursday, August 1st, 2013

    How does one respond to a racist, sexist troll -- without feeding that troll?   

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  • Memorial for David Phan
    Monday, May 20th, 2013

    Today would've been David's 15th birthday. To commemorate his birthday, Hyphen Magazine has created an online memorial, which includes a letter from the Phan family, a gallery of letters from classmates and teachers, and a request from the Phan family for donations to support an anti-bullying fund.

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  • CAAMFest 2013 Interviews: Deann Borshay Liem and Ramsay Liem of 'Memory of Forgotten War'
    Monday, March 18th, 2013

    Memory of Forgotten War features testimonies of four first-generation Korean Americans survivors of what is known in the US as the "forgotten war." Co-directors Deann Borshay Liem and Ramsay Liem discuss the making of a documentary that offers an informative, yet intimate glimpse into the human toll of a war without end.

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  • CAAMFest 2013 Reviews: O Muel's 'Jiseul'
    Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

    Jiseul is the first Korean film to win the Sundance Film Festival’s prestigious World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize; the 2013 jury took less than a minute to come to its unanimous decision. O Muel’s film offers a haunting portrait of a forgotten massacre whose ghostly voices flicker into a Cold War darkness.

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  • Lin and Linsanity Come Home
    Friday, February 22nd, 2013

    Exactly one year after the cultural phenomenon known as "Linsanity," Jeremy Lin -- the Asian American basketball player at the center of it -- and Evan Jackson Leong -- the Asian American director who chronicled it -- both return home to the Bay Area. Terry K. Park takes a look at Leong's Linsanity and asks Jeremy Lin just how crazy it all was. 

    One year ago, there was not one, but two Linsanities.

    First, there was the Linsanity that we all witnessed: that glorious stretch of games when an Asian American point guard from the end of the New York Knicks bench scored, passed, and even dunked like he was possessed by a higher power. Twitter feeds lit up like Times Square; marriage proposals and VaLINtine’s day cards were thrown at his feet; Lin-spired merchandise flew off the shelves like Lin’s lobs to Tyson Chandler; horrible Lin puns, like, “Lin-spired,” were churned out and judged by a giddy Spike Lee.  Even President Barack Obama claimed he knew about his fellow Harvard alum before anyone else did.  With each heart-stopping drive down the lane, and with each groan-inducing racist utterance from national commentators, there was an overwhelming sense that we, the Asian American we, were on the court with Jeremy—both the basketball court, and the court of public opinion.  In the span of a month, Jeremy lifted a team, a city, and Asian America.  
    But how was Linsanity for Lin?
    “It’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me,” said Lin at the Houston Rockets’s morning shootaround in San Francisco, on the day he faced the team that originally cut him, the Golden State Warriors, for their “Asian Heritage Night.”  “It’s a great memory, and it’s something that I’ll have for the rest of my life.” 
    And from the hundreds of fans who stayed after the Warriors 116-107 loss to the Rockets (Jeremy had a double-double with fourteen points and eleven assists, and a couple of patented right-handed drives against his old teammate Stephen Curry), it was a great memory for many in the Bay Area, who watched Lin grow as a local high school champion and welcomed him back as the most popular benchwarmer ever for the Warriors.
    Indeed, before Linsanity, there was just Lin. And that was enough for director Evan Jackson Leong and producer Bryan Yang to make a documentary about an Asian American basketball phenom from Palo Alto. They started following Jeremy at Harvard.  They were there when he went undrafted.  They were there when he outplayed John Wall for the Mavericks in summer league.  And they were there when Jeremy signed a dream-come-true contract with his hometown Warriors.  That’s where the documentary, according to Jerry Ma, a close friend of director Evan Jackson Leong and producer Bryan Yang, and the designer of the poster for Linsanity, was going to end.  
    “Originally, they were going to do a three-part web series and tell his story on how he made it to the NBA,” said Ma, on episode five of The Joy Dunk Club, a web-based roundtable talk-show based on Jeremy Lin and Linanity, created and hosted by this author. “It would’ve been an interesting story if Linsanity hadn’t happened,” argued Phil Yu of the popular blog Angry Asian Man, who briefly appears in Linsanity.
    “But,” added Ma, “they really believed something better was going to come.” And they were right.  Both Lin and Linsanity were rewarded for their persistence and hard work.  How did Jackson, Yang, and company react when Linsanity happened?  “Like being a kid again on Christmas eve and you got the present you were really hoping for,” said Ma.  “They worked really hard.”
    And now Linsanity, fresh off its successful world premiere at the prestigous Sundance Film Festival, kicks off CAAMfest as the opening night film. “Oh man, it feels great,” said Leong at the press conference for CAAMfest’s announcement of its film lineup, which included a screening of Linsanity. “I’m a born and bred San Franciscan, so it’s good to come home.”
    Indeed, the elusive quality of home and what it offers—stability and recognition— is a familiar Asian American theme that runs through Linsanity.  The film follows Lin’s nomadic existence as a professional basketball player, shuttling back and forth between the bright lights of Oakland and New York City and minor league outposts like Reno and Erie, Pennsylvania.  All the while, Jeremy tries to maintain an optimistic attitude—and we see just how important his Christian faith is in keeping his spirit buoyed—but we also see the toll that benched, being cut, and being ignored takes on a young man.   
    The absolute low point in the film is the scene that features the now-famous couch in the apartment of his former Knicks teammate Landry Fields.  It’s not even long enough to fit Jeremy’s 6’3’’ frame; we see him squirm to try to find a decent position, his neck craned over the side cushion, his back awkwardly angled, his Nike sneakers dangling off the edge.  “How am I supposed to get a good night’s sleep?” wonders Jeremy.  We wonder too.  At this point, we see how high the odds are; and we see just how low Jeremy has sunk, faced with the sobering reality that his next game, against the Nets, might be his last in an NBA uniform.  This is why, even for dedicated Lin fans who have replayed YouTube clips of his soaring dunk against the Washington Wizards, or his purple tongue-wagging against the Utah Jazz, or his last-second, game-winning shot against the Toronto Raptors, they will cheer that much harder.  
    The number “8” means good luck and fortune in Chinese.  Perhaps the fact that Linsanity is listed at eighty-eight minutes long isn’t a coincidence, since there were two Linsanities.
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  • David Phan's Suicide Sparks Grief, Anger and Call for Justice
    Friday, January 4th, 2013

    "I had a great life but I must leave." These were the last words written by David Q. Phan, a 14-year-old Vietnamese American junior high school student from Taylorsville, Utah, before he committed suicide. A grieving family -- and multiple communities around the country -- seek answers and justice.

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  • On Diasporic Tableaux, Lonely Unicorns, and the Irrepressible Desire for Truth and Recognition
    Monday, November 26th, 2012

    I cried on the first day of school. I'm not talking about pre-school, or even elementary school. I cried on the first day of my junior year in high school. Let me explain.

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  • Model Minorities: Real Talk From the Real Bodies Manifesto
    Monday, September 10th, 2012

    Two models for Retrofit Republic and Thick Dumpling Skin's Real Bodies Manifesto Fall 2012 Lookbook, Manish Vaidya and Laury Thammavong, write about their experiences before, during, and after the photoshoot.

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  • The Legend of Leremy Jin, James Leland Dolan, and Carmelo McAnthony
    Saturday, July 21st, 2012

    In the wake of New York Knicks owner James Dolan's decision to not match the Houston Rockets' contract for Jeremy Lin, I decided to create a fake Wiki page for James Dolan's fictitious great-great-grandfather, James Leland Dolan.  I did so in order to imagine a historical narrative that parallels the events of Linsanity and Dolan's insanity with the exploitation of Chinese railroad labor in the late 19th century.  If you'd like to see the original "fake" Wiki, click here.  Enjoy.

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