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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Amy Chu Live at the CTRL+ALT Reading Lounge

In another live edition of Hard NOC Life recorded exclusively 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 — writer Amy Chu stops by to talk about angry Asians, adding diversity to the world of Poison Ivy, and being a woman of color in the comics industry.

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Vishavjit Singh is the Captain America We Deserve

We continue our special editions of Hard NOC Life recorded exclusively 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. Today’s one-on-one conversation features Sikh Captain America himself, cartoonist Vishavjit Singh.

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Black Friday Special: Jamal Igle at CTRL+ALT

Earlier this month, we were part of CTRL+ALT, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop-up culture lab in the former Pear River Mart location in SoHo. Along with Clark University’s Betsy Huang, our fearless leader Keith Chow co-hosted a reading lounge in which they held workshops, panels, and salon discussions with other artists. We’ll be bringing you these sessions over the next few weeks, starting with this one-on-one conversation between Keith and renowned comic artist Jamal Igle.

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La Borinqueña and La La: Heroes Worth Waiting For

When my oldest daughter was 3, we would sit together in her bean bag chair, turn off the lights, and watch the Justice League animated series. Here she learned about superheros and when she started becoming interested in comics, I wanted to make sure she read something that represented and looked like her so I handed her a copy of Araña. That was five years ago, and now she is 12 and is immersed in finding representation in what she reads.

It’s small stories like this that amplify the importance of diversity in literature and, in this case, comics. It is for that reason that the launching of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s La Borinqueña comes at a much needed time.

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CTRL+ALT: A Culture Lab on Imagined Futures, This Weekend in New York City

Like the rest of the nation, I woke up this morning to an unfathomable reality. Despite our best efforts, the country has chosen hate and division. Those dystopian science-fiction novels don’t feel so far off anymore. Still, we at The Nerds of Color must soldier on. I’m doing that by participating in CTRL+ALT, the Smithsonian’s pop-up Culture Lab on imagined futures this weekend in New York City. Though, to be honest, I’m having a difficult time imagining the present, much the less the future.

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BGNOC Part III: The Nerds Take NYCC

In exactly three short weeks, New York Comic-Con will be returning to the Javits Center on the West side of Manhattan, and we will be there stationed at Epic Proportions Booth 2010! And since it’s a Comic-Con, we will once again be co-hosting a meet up with our friends at Black Girl Nerds on Friday night! That’s right, we’re bringing BGNOC to NYCC!

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Rest In Power to the 5 Ft Assassin

I received the text late. I’m normally a night out owl, but this CPAP machine is making sleep lovely and attractive. I heard my phone buzz and clumsily pawed for it. I pulled it close to my face, my sleepiness and the plastic bar of the CPAP face mask made it nearly impossible to make out — the combination of text size and screen brightness was too much for  me. I concentrated and the blurry screen came into focus. My heart sank. The text was from a friend: “Yo, Phife passed, B.” Continue reading “Rest In Power to the 5 Ft Assassin”

Midnight Taxi Tango: An Endorsement

Before we get into the rest of my full endorsement of Midnight Taxi Tango, I feel the need to ask a question: What kind of Ouija board does author Daniel José Older have access to? Is he somehow hotline blingin’ with the underworld? The way he writes about the dead, the half-dead, the preternatural and the politics that govern them — it reads more like dictation than creation. There are some genuinely creepy scenes in MTT. Skin crawling, looking over your shoulder, peering into shadows to see who is there, creepy. Other scenes are damn frightening. Let me put it to you this way: weaponized ghosts of babies who are hungry and out to devour you. Borderline nightmare stuff. What really works about this novel, and the “Bone Street Rumba” series as a whole, is that none of the scares are cheap. Every scare is legitimate. Every scare is necessary to the tale. This is evidence of Older’s mastery of his narrative.

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Half-Resurrection Blues: An Endorsement

A spoiler free endorsement.

Daniel José Older is the type of writer that forces you to reevaluate your likes and dislikes for particular (sub)-genres. Up until I read Half-Resurrection Blues, I declared a moratorium on anything even resembling urban fantasy. Most urban fantasy almost supernaturally privileges European myth/folk/legend and leaves zero room for stories or influences from other cultures. Fairy court intrigues, battles amongst the Sidhe, and some kind of blonde or “flowing raven haired” chosen one or outcast or bi-species offspring rule the urban fantasy space to such a degree that reading these books feels like looking at a “No Melanin Allowed” billboard written in fairy dust. With Half-Resurrection Blues, though, Older makes a very bold departure.

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