Southern Fried Asian: G Yamazawa

On this week’s episode of Southern Fried Asian, Keith talks to spoken word and hip-hop artist G Yamazawa, whose debut album, Shouts to Durham, and breakthrough single/video “North Cack” have taken the internet by storm.

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Fight Music

“Art will save us,” Dr. Tang told me as we drank coffee and played chess at a Berkeley Starbucks. She suddenly stopped, her hand still holding her rook a few centimeters above the board. She shook her salt and pepper hair, took a deep breath and smiled. “Let me rephrase. Art will not save is, Shawn. But it will make the bullshit easier to deal with. It will inspire us to do good work. It will gives us new eyes through which to see.” Checkmate. As Dr. Tang got up to leave, she told me one last thing. “As usual, the art that will get us through is music.”

I wanted to dispute this. I wanted to talk about the political dimensions of aerosol art, street theater, cyphers of emcees (like this still happens) — but in my experience, she was totally right. Almost all of my prosocial politics have come from music. Music has been there for me when so many others chose not to, or I didn’t allow them to. Music has been as much a part of my life and growth as geek culture.

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Getting Geeky With The Hollywood Fringe Festival

For those living in the Los Angeles area, the Hollywood Fringe Festival is upon you. Perhaps you might have seen their flags flown throughout the city or perhaps you might have heard whispers of it from your actor friends yapping away about which fringe play to watch. And you go, “What the heck IS the Hollywood Fringe Festival?”

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History as Fan Fiction: A CTRL+ALT Panel on Hamilton

Back in November, we recorded a live edition of Hard NOC Life from the NOC Reading Lounge at CTRL+ALT — the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop-up culture lab in the former Pear River Mart location in SoHo. Hamilton superfans Constance Gibbs, Kendra James, and Kevin T. Morales joined Keith to nerd out over the smash Broadway hit musical Hamilton.

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Farewell Major Tom

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Nearly a year ago today the music died.

Actor, rockstar, musician and suspected otherworldly being David Bowie passed away one year ago, three days after his birthday which is today.

As we celebrate Bowie’s life and legacy, I’m reminded of the fact that it was roughly around this time two years ago that we lost Leonard Nimoy.

Much like Nimoy, when I think back on Bowie, I realize that he was an influence on me in ways I never considered.

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What Artists Can Learn from the Trump v. Hamilton “Distraction”

by Timothy Yu

Mike Pence went to see Hamilton. He got booed. The actors read a statement from the stage. And our president-elect tweeted a demand that the cast apologize for their “harassment.” Just another day in the dawning Trump Era.

There was plenty to say. Some pointed out the irony of Donald Trump, scourge of political correctness, complaining that the theater should be a “safe place.” Others pointed to the chilling precedent of our incoming president demanding that artists apologize to an elected official. But what most surprised me was seeing some of my friends — many of whom are themselves artists, writers, literary scholars — repeating the argument that the Hamilton controversy was “just a distraction” from Trump’s other problems.

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What’s Beef for $1,000? Alex Trebek vs. Nerdcore

It’s been an interesting 24 hours, to say the least.

On Wednesday evening while on tour, I got a few tweets linking me to an episode of Jeopardy!

I not only learned that day that the show was still on the air, but that Alex Trebek had taken a really small poke at the genre of music in which I make my living: Nerdcore Hip-Hop.

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Luke Cage: Dig a Little Deeper

My sister, Dr. Tara Betts, dropped the Luke Cage syllabus over at Black Nerd Problems. It is a must read. I wanted to add to this wealth of knowledge by offering my own “special features” companion piece to Cage. I will present the following without description as I do not want to taint anyone’s experience. This is only a small amount if what is actually out there. I mentioned other books in my reflections on the series. You can read it here.

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