Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow Trivia!

I thought it apropos to celebrate the snowy week in Portland before I dash off to Mexico for a couple of weeks. Yeah, I know, lucky me! No offense to winter, but I'm definitely looking forward to a beachy keen Christmas.

However, my midwest roots can certainly appreciate the wonder of the white stuff. Here is some fun snow TRIVIA! I put this together for the wonderful hambox advent calendar for the December 19 edition. Scroll down for the answers below...

1) Which of these words describes a "fear of snow?" a) snophobia, b) crystallophobia, c) cryophobia, d) chionophobia

2) The typical snowflake has how many identical "arms?"

3) Snow that does NOT melt during the summertime forms what geological mass?

4) The word igloo is derived from what language, meaning "house?"

5) What illustrious "Roughrider" state holds the Guinness World Record for most snow angels made simultaneously in one place? Coincidentally, the record was broken on my birthday March 28, 2007. A momentous day indeed.

6) "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) had the distinction of being Disney's first what?

7) Rockers Snow Patrol hail from what country?

8) In the Nutcracker, what is the name of the heroine who saves the nutcracker/prince and is whisked off through the snow forest to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy?

Scroll down for the answers...

The Answers:

1) Which of these words describes a "fear of snow?" a) snophobia, b) crystallophobia, c) cryophobia, d) chionophobia

2) The typical snowflake has how many identical "arms?" six
3) Snow that does NOT melt during the summertime forms what geological mass? glacier
4) The word igloo is derived from what language, meaning "house?" Inuit

5) What illustrious "Roughrider" state holds the Guinness World Record for most snow angels made simultaneously in one place? Coincidentally, the record was broken on my birthday March 28, 2007. A momentous day indeed. North Dakota. City? Bismarck. Number of snow angels? 8, 692.

6) "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) had the distinction of being Disney's first what? animated feature

7) Rockers Snow Patrol hail from what country? Scotland
8) In the Nutcracker, what is the name of the heroine who saves the nutcracker/prince and is whisked off through the snow forest to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy? Clara

Friday, December 12, 2008

Give what you can

We all know that the global economy is in dire straits. I, for one, know that I'm counting my pennies and I certainly feel worried about what's to come. When you're thinking of cutting back, please consider maintaining or even increasing your giving to good non-profits. Supporting the work of non-profits is essential and you can consider it a worthy investment into your community. I always advocate supporting arts nonprofits because they tend to get left out of support despite the fact that the arts are proven to enhance learning in ALL areas. (Check out the awesome Right Brain Initiative.) Whatever you choose, just go and give what you can (say, $50 or $100) to an organization of your choosing.

If you need some ideas on who to give to this year, I've got some ideas.

Shameless solicitation of support for the organizations that pay my bills and orgs who I've committed myself to:

B-Word Worldwide/Bitch Magazine
- B-Word is the incredibly important and vital voice that brings you the most cutting and insightful feminist analysis of pop culture. I'm on the board and we're currently looking at how to evolve as an organization and stay relevant in light of the changing media landscape. Join the Beehive!

Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center
- Wonderful, beautiful interdisciplinary arts center in North Portland that includes a gallery, theater, dance studio. The mission is to foster diversity in the arts and they support both emerging and established artists and serve the community at large with a range of education programs. I've admired IFCC since I arrived in Portland and am happy to report that I'm currently doing some contract work for them.

KBOO Community Radio - At 40, KBOO is one of the oldest community radio stations in the country. Portland is lucky to have such an amazing resource! KBOO has an eclectic, diverse programming lineup of news, public affairs, music and spoken word. Nearly all the programs are run by a dynamic group of volunteers. KBOO is powered by over 500 on-air and off-air volunteers, a member-elected board of directors and a small staff of 12 (full- and part-time). I work there part time and I'm also a volunteer with the radio collective APA Compass. (9am the first Friday each month!) Right now you can donate to KBOO through the Willamette Week's Give! Guide and get lots of cool goodies!

Portland Theater Brigade - I grew up a drama geek and it certainly changed my life. PTB is an amazing young people's theater program that not only teaches youth professional theater skills (using improvisation!! based on the work of the inimitable Viola Spolin), but empowers the students with opportunities for collaboration and leadership. I came on as Managing Director this year and it's like I've come full circle.

Other cool orgs to consider supporting:

Beehive Collective - Another Beehive. The swarm's mission: "To cross-pollinate the grassroots, by creating collaborative, anti-copyright images that can be used as educational and organizing tools." Amazing mission, beautiful work.

Center for Asian American Media - My former stomping grounds. CAAM continues to do incredible work supporting Asian American media through funding, production, distribution and a dynamic festival.

In Other Words - A vibrant Portland feminist resource - bookstore, resource center and community space - is in trouble. They need to raise $11,000 by the end of the month to keep their doors open! Please support them if you can!

Oregon Cultural Trust - Did you know that you can match gifts to eligible cultural non-profits to the Trust and receive a 100% tax credit? That's a tax CREDIT (way better than a tax deduction) and a great incentive to support Portland area nonprofit arts orgs. More info on the program here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

my weekend...

as i sit here waiting for audio to be extracted off the cd from our great apa compass show (we talked about ethnic media and also had a piece about the agent orange justice speaking tour) this morning, i thought i'd share some of the cultural outings i'm planning (or recommending) for the weekend.

hubster matt and his improv troupe, super project lab, are at it again with their first run at the lovely, brand new curious theater. they're trying a different format for this run (instead of their mainstay, "meet your ___" in which local celebs become monologuists who inspire the groups improv scenes). it's called "3some" and each show will feature just 3 players performing a long-form improvised show. should be interesting! the shows are 9:30pm dec 5/6 and dec 12/13 at curious theater 5225 ne mlk, portland.

on saturday, we're headed to see our talented friend lisa degrace in her one-woman piece "flying iron" using music, movement, text, costume, clown and more. check out this description: "The audience sees someone "trapped by choice" in a very small world, an iron hoop skirt contained within a 30-foot diameter dress." sounds intriguing, no? shows are at performance works northwest, 4625 se 67th, portland on saturday and sunday dec 6/7 and dec 13/14.

also on saturday, artist shu-ju wang is doing an artist talk at the central library in downtown portland. she has a very sweet exhibit showing in this cool room of the library called the john wilson special collections (it holds rare materials). feels kinda like you're walking onto the set of buffy the vampire slayer. the show is called "relay/replay" and it includes 4 artist books that she created in collaboration with elders from rose schnitzer manor. really beautiful pieces.

on the other end of the spectrum, my friend john breen is starring in a movie called the auteur playing at cinema 21 this week. it's a comedy, it involves the porn industry. not my usual topic of interest, but hey i'm up for a good laugh, if it's a good laugh.

off to finish uploading this dang audio. it's taking forever!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How are you?

I am good. That's right, I am good, not well. I am doing well. I feel well. But if you're asking how I am, I can now confidently say, I am good. Thank godess.

It's a grammar question that's been bugging me for a while as I've listened to extremely literate, articulate friends answer, "I am well." It always rubbed me just slightly wrong somehow, but my grammar ins-and-outs are pretty rusty. Thanks to the trusty internet tubes and Grammar Girl I found a great explanation about why I am good.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Watery goodness

After a little cranky morning, I settled into a brief, but needed yoga session. The sun is actually shining today, but I found myself channeling the water that defines this season in the Pacific Northwest. Or maybe I'm still holding on to my turn as the dingy water in a Sea World dolphin show scene from my improv class last night. Or maybe I'm still dopey from my restless night of sleep. Whatever the inspiration, I moved slowly through my vinyasa, never really stopping the movement, like the steady drizzly rain we often see in Portland. Even in the stillness of downward dog or mountain pose, I enjoyed a subtle pulsing of the breath, of the muscles. And, rather than fight the restlessness I've been feeling, I'm sticking with that riding of the gentle waves for the rest of my day. So far, steadily accomplishing a variety of tasks, running a little behind on things, but feeling content with where I'm at.

Cross posted to

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fifth sentence...

This meme was posted on Facebook

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with these instructions in a note on your page.
* (then tell what book it's from)

"I have my mother's hair."

- Maggie from Arthur Miller's After the Fall

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

web 2.0

i consider myself pretty savvy. i wrote a bit about it in the asian reporter a few weeks back. that column outlines my general internet usage at that moment. the crazy thing is that it's already out of date. i just started using twitter recently. and i've watched facebook evolve to incorporate a lot of this stuff, including twitter (i can update twitter and my facebook status simultaneously) and my blog feed. (another reason for this blog post, so i can see how it works.) it moves so quickly and fluidly that it's easy to get sucked in and then you realize, ack, i don't really want to use that feature anymore, or shoot, i'm up late playing that boggle game.

my question to you all is, what do you do on the internet tubes? do you have a facebook or myspace account? do you use both? what about linked in or twitter or other services? do you blog? do you use rss or social bookmarks? what else do you use? why do you use what you use? do you feel more connected or less connected the more you use these tools? post your musings in the comments.

Friday, November 14, 2008

sick and tired

yup. that's where i'm at today. sick and tired, despite the lovely sun brightening the day.

first up, i've had to throw in the towel on my first attempt at nablopomo. i forgot that i was actually leaving the internet tubes for two days and was therefore unable to post on those days. and once i got back it took me a bit to catch up on things. so, i'll be trying again for december and i'll try my best to post most of the rest of this month. it's hard to post everyday!!

next up, i found an interesting discussion on racialicious musing on a race equivalent to the bechdel test. the bechdel test refers to cartoonist alison bechdel's origianly strip in which the two female characters talk about the requirements of movies they will see. (the racialicious post includes the original strip). check out the blog post here and let me know your thoughts.

Friday, November 7, 2008

mother tongue

apa compass is a radio show i help produce as part of a collective at kboo. shameless plug: we're on today at 9:00am pacific at kboo or on the FM in portland 90.7. in case you miss it we'll have an archive (and podcasts soon!) at today we're talking about language and identity and community.

i long to speak another language fluently. my parents' first language is tagalog (filipino) and they never taught it to me and my brothers. when we were young, they thought it would hinder our ability to learn english and possibly leave us with an accent which might make it more difficult for us to fit in. and now as adults we all realize that loss and my mother tries to speak to us in tagalog at random times as if it might still seep in. and it might.

in fact, all these years, i've claimed that i don't know tagalog. but the truth is that i actually understand a LOT of tagalog, but can't open up my mouth and speak it.

in honor of our show today, i want to share a funny experience from when my husband and i went to the philippines last year. it was his first time and my first time with a "guest" who was not filipino. we were on our own a fair amount at the megamalls, the museums, tourist sites etc. i quicky found myself interpreting for matt. that's right, i was actually interpreting, much more than i thought i ever could. it was a delightful discovery and has changed my perspective on my relationship with my parents' mother tongue.

and another bizarre thing occurred, a story matt loves to tell. people would speak to me in tagalog. i understood the gist of what they were saying. then i spoke back to them in english. they understood me. we communicted back and forth in two different languages. i actually barely realized that it was happening, but matt, as an observer pointed it out. it happened all the time during our two week stay.

i'll keep working on my tagalog. but next i'm going to tackle me some espanol...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

it's raining in my brain

okay, i'm doing this blog post a day thing and of course, now i'm stuck. i'll just run through my morning and leave it at that.
  • i woke up and turned on democracy now! on kboo. interesting analysis of the elections from a more progressive standpoint, including a roundtable discussion with folks from around the world. definitely worth a listen and a welcome antidote to the rah-rah rhetoric of mainstream media.
  • checked email, facebook.
  • turned on some soothing tunes and did some yoga. first time in ages. felt nice. maybe i'll declare it MyYoEvMo - my yoga everyday month.
  • waterproofed my new cute boots (thanks to mom for picking them up in krakow and finding boots that fit over my big calves!).
  • hit the shower and luckily found some backup hair product after running out yesterday. gods forbid i don't have hair product!
  • toasted a bagel for breakfast.
  • perused different blogs through nablopomo's randomizer feature. looking for inspiration, encouragement to do my blog post.
  • wrote this blog entry.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the date after

i'm still trying to sort through all this elections business. most things went the way i hoped. obama's decisive win is a step in the right direction for sure, though i still hope that obama will take some better stands on the wars, israel and a few other issues.

here's an interesting post from racialicious with a bunch of different thoughts on the elections. it certainly reflects my own cautious optimism, especially in regards to the part that race plays in our country.

i'm upset that california voted to pass prop 8 the gay marriage ban. despite the momentum of obama's election, it seems that our country's backwards view on gay issues. florida and arizona also passed their gay marriage bans. :-(

the fight is still not over...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I'm up early this morning, and I attribute it to my recent East Coast trip and Daylight Saving Time. I've been doing a little bit of research on the ole DST and here's some nuggets I thought were interesting.
  • Ben Franklin first came up with the crazy idea to save candles. An early conservationist.
  • The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time.
  • Arizona does NOT observe DST. I guess McCain is a maverick amongst mavericks. Hawaii doesn't do it either.
  • DST makes train schedules screwy. This is from npr: "When the clocks fall back at 2 a.m. this Sunday, Amtrak trains running on time will have to wait in the station for one hour before resuming their journey. Springtime overnight travelers find their trains suddenly one hour late, but their engineers just keep going and try to make up the time."
  • During the mid-20th century there was no national law mandating DST. "Localities could determine their own DST. Here's a funny recounting from One year, 23 different pairs of DST start and end dates were used in Iowa alone. For exactly five weeks each year, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were not on the same time as Washington D.C., Cleveland, or Baltimore--but Chicago was. And, on one Ohio to West Virginia bus route, passengers had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles! The situation led to millions of dollars in costs to several industries, especially those involving transportation and communications. Extra railroad timetables alone cost the today's equivalent of over $12 million per year."
  • Here's an amazing story about twins born during the DST switch, essentially reversing their birth order.
  • Robertson Davies fictional character Samual Marchbanks wrote this little diatribe against DST: "I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves."
I for one enjoy both the moonlight and the sunshine. DST is a slight inconvenience, but if it saves us some energy resources then I'm for it.

Resources: webexhibits, NPR, National Geographic, WRAL

Monday, November 3, 2008

so i'm a slacker already

i already missed one day in my blog a day posts for the month. i can't help it. i was traveling back to portland from cleveland and couldn't put down my adorable nephew maceo long enough to post before we had to get on the plane and part ways with the family again.

so with that i'll give some capsule reviews on the plane movies we got on our flights. mostly not too bad...

Diminished Capacity stars Matthew Broderick and Alan Alda as a nephew an uncle pair who are both suffering from memory loss and mental issues, one due to a head injury and the other due to Alzheimers. They go on an adventure to sell a baseball card that may or may not be extremely valuable. Solid movie with that charming, quirky indie-wood feel. Alan Alda is great, a nice departure from his recent sleazy conservative yuppie types. And I'm always a fan of Matthew Broderick (since his early turns in Lady Hawke and Ferris Bueller's Day Off)

Get Smart is a pretty fun romp based on the old tv show. Not quite the same campy feel, but still pretty fun, especially when you're sitting in uncomfortable plane seats. Steve Carrell does a some slightly new things with his rendition of the somewhat bumbling 86 and Dwayne Johnson (yes, the Rock) is pretty hunky and funny in his role as one of the star agents. Oh yes and then there's Ann Hathaway who is also fine as agent 99, though she seems slightly miscast in the role. Masi Oka (Heroes) takes a turn as, you guessed it, a geeky sidekick who helps develops some of the spy toys used by the agents. Still he's always fun to watch.

Mamma Mia, we watched Mamma Mia. I wanted to get into it (I am a big fan of musicals. For an awesome treat check out Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog) but I have to admit I found a lot of it cringingly cheezy. That being said, Merryl Streep is super fab as Donna, the mom of Sophie who is trying to figure out which of Donna's three past lovers is her father. Another favorite hunk of my past Pierce Brosnan (Remington Steele baby!) plays one of the the potential dads and while he's still pretty damn handsome, the man is NOT a singer. Ah well, now I've seen it. And I'll never have to see it again.

Finally the last film we saw was Henry Poole Is Here. It follows the story of, you guessed it again smart readers, Henry Poole a man who's terminally ill and moves back to the street he grew up on to die alone. The story goes that a water mark on his wall is interpreted to be the face of Jesus Christ by one of the busybody, but sweet neighbors Esperanza (played wonderfully by Adriana Barraza). It's another well-intentioned indie film, that's refreshingly slower paced and thoughtful. Luke Wilson stretches his acting chops slightly to play a cranky, depressed, disheveled man. I think in the end the story was a bit to faith-based with the whole "you just have to believe" theme throughout.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

brilliant halloween costume

saw this on angryasianman...

brilliant halloween costume

too funny.

today is my first post in my month of posting every day, aka nablopomo. yup, starting off easy cuz i'm tired and it's late. barely making it in time for the midnight deadline. i'll be back tomorrow for shizzle.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

autumn linkage

here's my opportunity for shameless promotion of my other projects:

  • recently started contributing to the opinion column My Turn at The Asian Reporter
    i ruminate on things like Margaret Cho's The Cho Show, hip hop, Olympics coverage, etc etc.
  • we have some new APA Compass episodes archived and available for download.
  • i'm on the board of the rad, feminist non-profit Bitch Magazine and we've had some great fundraising efforts over the last month in reaction to a financial crisis. now we could use some help in the form of feedback - do our survey!
that's all for now. i'll be back here starting november 1, beginning a crazy stint with NaBloPoMo...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

So many things to do and see

Here's a list of interesting things to check out in Portland over the coming weeks:

A-ha and Tears for Fears, hilarious redux

Two of my favorite 80s tunes, in a new light...

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

playing with Ruth Zaporah

I enjoyed a wonderful week-long workshop with Ruth Zaporah, founder of Action Theater. It felt so good to play!

I've done improvisation for many years since I lived in Chicago in the mid-90s. There I learned Chicago-style improv comedy. Basically, improvised scenes that hung together in the form of short improvised plays. Very narrative driven. The Chicago scene is so saturated and deep that folks were really doing some interesting experimentation with that form of improv. A group that I founded, an all-woman troupe named RED, began playing with using bigger physicality on stage, bringing a more visual element to the staging of the traditional improv comedy form.

Flash forward a few years in San Francisco. Did a bit of improv there, mostly building on what I'd done in Chicago. I even taught (with the illustrious Becky Haycox) and starting directing an incredibly gifted, intelligent group of improvisors THE FROOKIES. During that time, one of my students and a movement teacher exposed me to this strange and wonderful thing called Action Theater. It was physical, fun, funny, engaging, beautiful and much less verbose than the improvisation I was used to. From there I explored a little of that, a little contact improv and opened up to this new world of movement improvisation. I also picked up a copy of Ruth's brilliant book Improvisation of Presence

Flash forward to Portland 2008. A woman I met on Alberta Street, who teaches an improvisation class, named Mary Rose emailed out the word that she was bringing Ruth Zaporah out for a workshop. I was thrilled! I talked it over with hubby and we scrounged up the cash to enroll me. I was nervous because I haven't improvised in ages. I thought, what if I suck? What if I do something stupid? What if I forgot how to improvise? Damn you gremlin, get out of my head!

Turns out it was still in me after all. Ruth was an amazing teacher. The time was limited, but she managed to give us some great stuff to chomp on. The two big concepts I came away with was engaging the eyes and really connecting with the visceral sensory experience. I was pretty tired all week, from work and being a bit under the weather. But I think that actually helped me stay out of my chattering, gremlin head.

Here are some snippets of what I got from Ruth:

- "Each action is a manifestation of a truth we have inside."
- "I position myself so that everything happens beautifully without me." - This is what how she describes the improv "fairies."
- "The soup of awareness."
- "Have patience to stay with something for a long time."
- "Saturate."

And just as exciting is the fact that I've met some amazing folks through the workshop. And this sunday, along with some of my pals, I'm headed to Mary and Domeka's Jumping Off Place for some fun explorations!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

explore your Curious side...

Matt and I just went to one of the Grand Opening performances at the sweet new performance space Curious Theater.

The Location. It's in a fantastic location (how did they get that space?) on NE MLK, between Alberta and Killingsworth in the VanPort Square Plaza along with the new locations for Horn of Africa and Old Town Pizza. It's also across the street from the The Blazers Boys and Girls Club with whom Curious Theater company has struck up a cool youth theater program. I appreciate that the company has already made connections with the existing community. I hope they can continue to build partnerships that are inclusive and accessible. Material that's come from that partnership will be showcased in a show tomorrow called Sometimes Toilet Water.

The Theater. The theater that they've built out so far is great. A decent sized stage (though a bit small for the eight-person improv troupe that performed there tonight), cabaret style seating, and concessions that includes beer and wine, sandwiches and snacks. It reminds me of theaters in the Chicago theater and comedy scene that are conducive to having a full night out with your peeps and liquid enhancers to making the shows fun and funny.

The Improvised Musical. The show that we saw was called Sam Adams! Sam Adams! Mayor Ex Machina. It was a fully improvised musical show complete with live musicians. The tag line is "We know Sam Adams will save our city, but can he save our musical???" and that's exactly what the character of "Sam Adams" attempted to do, and with moderate success. In general, I would say that I was pretty impressed with the show. Improvising is challenging as it is, and adding musical numbers is a special test for the hearty improvisor. The company was quite successful in delivering a fun, entertaining show, with a decent story, respectable musical numbers and some pretty great performances.

To start, an audience member provided the inspiration of "rodeo." The beginning of the show was a little rough for me (which I find is often the case for long-form improv theater) as the group searched for the characters, the story and an opening song. Two of the characters eventually emerged to be the protagonists: a cross-dressing ex-rodeo clown, rodeo princess wanna be and a toy-horse-playing 5 year old with a borderline uncomfortable relationship with her "Manny" (Male Nanny) and disturbed toy-horse-playing parents. The performers were committed and supportive of each other. There were some really nice moments throughout, as well as a few forgivable rough patches. As with the opener, the closing number was a little, let's say, long, but that's how this whole' improv thing works. Part of the fun and interactiveness of an improv show is how we as an audience are constantly rooting for the improvisors. We appreciate the risks that they're taking, the process that they're working through, right there in front of our eyes. We know that it's a brave thing they're doing and we're there for them.

All in all, I highly recommend this show! Especially if you're a fan of musicals and especially if you've never seen a fully improvised play. Sam Adams! Sam Adams! runs Fridays and Saturdays at 9:30pm through November 8. All shows are $12 general, $10 students/seniors and you can save $2 with one of the postcards.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Portland Theatre Brigade

I am super excited about the Portland Theatre Brigade. I just joined them as Managing Director (very part-time for the fledgling organization), one of two new staffers. Jennifer Lanier has also joined the staff as East Brigade Director and Touring Manager. Adrienne Flagg, who also serves as Creative Director at the IFCC, is the PTB Artistic Director. Along with the Board of Directors, we've begun this year with a blast, having just finished casting this year's company of 40 young actors/creators.

I was a young theatre geek back in the day. I studied early on at Beck Center for the Arts, a community theater in Lakewood, OH. From there I was empowered to do high school plays and a college tv show, on and on. Theatre unlocked in me this incredible passion and confidence. I truly believe it was a guiding force that continues to allow me to do the things I do, all of which I hope is always giving back to community.

The wonderful thing about PTB, is that the youth are empowered to take on a lot of the control and responsibility. We have student stage managers and they young actors choose the stories and write the plays that they want to perform. The training is based on the work of Viola Spolin, the fairy godmother of improvisation and games in theatre. The beauty of being Spolin-based, is that the young actors are encouraged to be generous, curious, open-minded and ensemble-centered. We're working with the kids to encourage them to be good humans in how they interact in rehearsal and onstage, which follows that they also become great performers.

We have a couple of students that need some additional help with tuition. If you're reading this and feel like you'd like to contribute, just let me know at toni [at] Here's a letter we sent last week:

This weekend we'd like to offer you a very easy way to make a very big difference.

Theatre Brigade is enrolling now a fabulous group of new students for the upcoming season. We are very excited about the talent and diversity of these young people and we know they will be putting on a great show for the Portland community next spring.

But this year we also have an large number of very deserving children who's families need some extra help paying tuition. Some of these parents are in exceedingly difficult circumstances, but they are dedicated to their children and desparately want them to have this opporunity.

Our scholarship fund is simply not adequate to meet the need - yet we can not bear to have to turn any of these children away. You can help.

Your donation of any amount, if made this weekend, will go directly to scholarship funding for this year's students, allowing you to create an immediate impact in this community.

As little as $5 will help us help these children experience the benefits of Portland Brigade Membership.

$15 pays for one week of Brigade
$66 pays for one month
$285 provides one standard partial scholarship
$600 allows a poverty-affected child to participate for the full year

These children can not wait for the economy to improve. But you don't have to have a lot to spare to be able to make a big difference in their lives. Please help today in whatever way you can.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's all about me

In case you don't have the chance to pick up the paper copy of the Asian Reporter, you can catch my contributions to the My Turn opinion column at their website. My latest topics include hip-hop, a recent racist comic and the recent coverage of the Olympics (old news by now). Thanks for reading!

Legal Immigration path, illustrated

On Boing Boing I read about Reason's amazing poster they created that comically charts the "legal" path to immigration. Check it out:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Too hot to hibernate

Yes I've been hibernating. Haven't posted in ages. Way overcommitted this summer. Looking forward to fall when I can reprioritize my life. The truth is I don't have too much to report. Too tired, too hot, whatever. Thought I'd point to two of my current favorite blogs:

- Bitch Magazine recently launched their new website which looks amazing. Full disclosure, I am on the board so this is surely a biased review. But they've been doing such a great job with their blogs! They're keeping it real: interesting, thought-provoking, diverse. Stay tuned for more info on our 2nd annual [sm]art benefit featuring the legendary Judy Chicago and loads of other local and national art people.
- Angry Asian Man is always at the top of my list for excellent blogs. He's a voracious, cutting surveyor/analyzer of all things Asian.

On a slightly different, but still opinionated note - I recently started contributing to the My Turn column at The Asian Reporter. Check me out if you interested in seeing other stuff I've been up to...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Two, count 'em two benefits!!

In case I didn't get to spam you...

Two benefits I'm working on are coming up (in the same week, yikes) and I would love to see you there!

Benefit for Bitch Magazine
The Bitch Pub Quiz, Thursday June 5
Support what you love; come to Bitch's first ever fundraising Pub Quiz! It'll be a trivia-licious evening of questions, answers, games, music, and more! Quizmistress Toni Tabora-Roberts (yes, that's me!) will test your knowledge of women and pop culture with everything from general-interest questions to name-that-tune brainteasers. You'll expand your knowledge, get the chance to win some great prizes, and support the work of your favorite local feminist magazine. $5-$20 (sliding scale) per person to play--up to 6 people per team. Bring your friends, your competitors and some dough. For more information check out or call 503-282-5699. Thursday, June 5, 6 p.m., Vita Cafe, 3024 NE Alberta, Portland.

Benefit for KBOO
Pink Martini Fundfest 2008 June 3-6 at the Crystal Ballroom
KBOO is one of the lucky beneficiaries of this year's Pink Martini FundFest! Each year Pink Martini does a series of concerts to benefit four local non-profits. If you are interested, or if you'd like to tell other potentially interested folks about this great opportunity to support KBOO, let us know. The goal for this event is to raise $80,000 total or $20,000 for each of the four non-profits and 100% of the net proceeds go directly to the organizations.

In addition to the main concerts, there is a very special Patron Reception happening on Friday June 6 from 6-8pm at Lola's Room. Pink Martini's band leader Thomas Lauderdale will play Gershwin's Rhapsody while folks mix and mingle with the band. Tickets are $100, $55 of which is tax-deductible. Patron ticket includes a ticket to the main concert at 8pm and is available directly through KBOO or Ticketmaster.

Of course, you can also support us by attending one of the main concerts. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Those tickets are available through the Crystal Ballroom box office or through Ticketmaster.

More details about this event are available at

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Clowns Without Borders rocks!

Our friends jesikah and Thom were in town this weekend and fortunately they were very enthusiastic about joining us for the annual Clowns Without Borders benefit show at daVinci Arts Middle School.

Our good friend Sarah (who just finished her fabulous Nomadic Theatre show Running Into Walls which I wrote about in my previous post) was one of the main organizers and it was a truly wonderful show.

I remember last year's being a smidge too long (okay, a lot too long). This year most of the acts got the clue and brought some really fun, clever performances. In my humble opinion I would say that most of the acts took some great leaps and bounds in evolving their work over the past year. Notables for me were Nomadic, Nanda (an energetic, amazing acro-performance troupe), and another act (can't recall their names!), a duo who did clown, juggling and some funny stuff with a bowling ball, some of it in lovely pink tutus.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Something so RIGHT, and one RWONG

This week I'm writing to recommend two FABULOUS shows. The first is a wonderful, imaginative, hilarious, poignant clown show featuring my good friend Sarah in her company Nomadic Theatre Co. The show is called Running Into Walls. If you've never seen a clown show (and I'm NOT talking Ringling Brothers) this is a great introduction into that delightful world. The story follows two very close clown friends as they take a strange journey to confront mortality. Wonderful physical comedy, engaging performances, touching story. Plus, you'll find out the origins of the word "muffin" and what the word "Himalaya" means. The show runs through April 27 at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, Portland.

Next is Roberta Wong's art exhibit at IFCC gallery in North Portland. If you've never been there it's a pretty darn cool space. She's showing some of her installation work from the past 2 decades and it's all still extremely relevant stuff exploring race, gender, history and identity. I wrote about Roberta's show in The Asian Reporter so check out my story. The exhibit runs through April 26.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Movie quotes meme, inspired by hambox

Okay I admit I first had to figure out what a meme was. Wiktionary defines it as:

Any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, practices, habits, songs, dances and moods and terms such as race, culture, and ethnicity.

A cultural virus of sorts. So, here's my movie quotes meme, inspired by my friend hambox who go it from spark and foam who got it from Life in Scribbletown and so on...

The rules:
  • Pick 10 of your favorite movies.
  • Go to IMDB and find a quote from each movie.
  • Post them on your blog for everyone to guess in the comments.
  • Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
  • GUESSERS: NO Googling/using IMDB search functions. I mean, you can cheat if you want, but all that would do is make you win. Where's the fun in that?
  • One movie guess per human allowed in the comments, but email me with additional guesses, if you like.
The Quotes:
  1. "Oh, you think you're hot shit 'cause you get to sit over there and play Pictionary, well guess what? My five year old daughter could do that and let me tell you, she's not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed." Rico's good he got 2 of the quotes. I'll credit him for both cuz he's my bro. This one's Juno .
  2. "Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place." Rico's done it again. Breakfast Club, baby.
  3. "My embarrassing admission is I really like that you're nice, right now."
  4. "I've been trying to write her a poem, but I can't seem to finish it. What rhymes with 'glass'?"
  5. "Great pate, mom, but I gotta motor if I wanna be ready for that party tonight."Nice get Ms Polly! Great line from Heathers
  6. "Oh, I just think I'm gonna barf... Well, that passed. Now I'm hungry again."
  7. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." That's Princess Bride of course. Ms. Becky was quick on that draw.
  8. A: "Would you like another schnitzengruben?" B: "No, thank you. Fifteen is my limit on schnitzengruben." Thanks for playing FreshHell! Blazing Saddles is correct.
  9. "I don't care what you believe in, just believe in it."
  10. A: "Is life always this hard, or is it just when you're a kid?" B: "Always like this."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Snow and Sangre

Last week I had the pleasure of snowboarding for the first time in two years. I'm volunteering with Matt's org Chill. Funded in large part by Burton Snowboards, Chill brings Portland teens up to Mt. Hood to teach them life lessons, such as persistence and responsibility, in the guise of snowboarding. Matt's working with a bunch of different amazing Portland agencies dedicated to youth empowerment, including Metropolitan Family Services, New Avenues for Youth, El Programa Hispano, IRCO, Open Meadow and a bunch of other schools and organizations.

So, last Friday I drove up to Timberline early with a bunch of the other volunteers - Rico, Scott and Daley. It was a gorgeous and warm-ish day. We had time for a bunch of awesome runs, then Scott, Daley and I decided to take one of the long trails (2+ miles) directly to Government Camp (sort of illegal and out of bounds, but very cool!) where we were to meet up with the busload of kids to help them gear up (Burton provides snowboards, boots, jackets etc for all the kids and their chaperones) for the day. Once we got everyone geared up we hit the mountain. After a day of riding I was pretty whipped, but it was energizing for me to hang with some of the kids. I was drawn to the kids who were having a harder time because I wanted to help keep their spirits up and not let them give up when they got frustrated. Plus it's just a pleasure to connect one-on-one with these teenagers, as I don't necessarily have many other opportunities to hang with teens. I'm back with them tomorrow and I can't wait!

Last night a bunch of us went to see our friend Jaime in a show at Milagro Theatre called Bodas de Sangre or Blood Wedding written by the famed Federico Garcia Lorca. As you might gather from the title, there was certainly some drama and intensity to the piece. Themes running through included death, birth, destiny, history, love and lust. In general, I thought the Olga Sanchez (the show's Director, and also Milagro's Artistic Director) did a fine job putting this together. The staging was inventive and poetic. Better known as a poet, Lorca's words are evocative and brimming with symbolism. A highlight for me was just post-intermission. The angry wedding crowd is in the midst of searching for the runaway bride and her lover. It reminded me of a Greek chorus with the Moon spouting incantations and Death lording over with foreboding. The staging was simple, elegant and dreamy. I believe this was the first play I've watched in another language with supertitles. Very much list viewing a foreign film with subtitles. Effective enough, but sometimes I missed some of the action and other times my timing in reading was off. All in all, though it was a lovely experience and I look forward to checking out more bilingual shows at the Milagro.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ruminations from Powell's Coffee Shop

Enjoying a 12oz chai at Powell's always hopping coffee shop/reading room. Not supposed to have more than 5 books, but i suck a couple of extra in. Figure, I'm pretty much set on buying almost all my items. It's always fun, and a bit daunting to peruse this institution. I always find it's good to have a game plan, i.e. a couple of key things you are looking for. This trip I was on the hunt for 3 things:

1) Birthday present for Matt. Wanted to find an fun, encouraging film book to support his pursuit of creative projects.
2) Information/reference books for my Pub Quiz Oregon quiz writing.
3) Zine(s). I'm a big fan of zines (however, as a dabbler, not deeply knowledgeable - just know what I like).

Here's what I ended up with:
1) Making Short Films by Jim Piper (coincidentally the name of our very nice previous landlord). It seems to have mixed reviews, but I like that it has pictures and seems somewhat The Conversations by Michael Ontaje. Looks very inspiring.
2) The reference books are my little secret...
3) A new local zine "Monster of Fun! a collection of Razorcake columns by Amy Adoyzie" which looks very promising. And hey she's APA which is always nice to support. Also picked up "time enough at last" by A.j. Michel out of Lansdowne, PA. I'm a list junkie and this one is subtitled: "A Reading Log 2007" including juicy documentation of A.j.'s reading habits over the past year.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Juno, you know it

When I called our friends Bryce and Liz tonight to see if they wanted to meet up with us to see Juno, they laughed because they already has planned to go the the same 5:30 showing at the local 2nd run theatre around the corner Cine Magic. So we met up and found some seats in the well worn-theatre, just in time to see a preview for some lame-looking Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes vehicle. Admittedly, I have never actually seen Colin Farrell in a movie, and yes, I've chosen to stereotype him as a H'wood dumb party boy who probably has not much talent. Anyhoo onto the feature here, Juno. Well, I thought it was adorable. A feel good movie, but in that quirky, well-written, well-performed, indie film kinda way. Kudos to Diablo Cody for a delightful, truly gal-power script. It's just amazingly refreshing to see such robust, complex characters in a pretty typical coming of age story. Juno, played spot-on by Ellen Page, plays a teen who accidentally gets pregnant by her best friend Bleeker (the always awkwardly charming Michael Cera, the next Owen Wilson?). And that's it. We follow her journey from pregnancy through birth. And in that time we meet some pretty stellar characters, each of which is at times odd, sweet, dumb, brilliant and just plain old regular. Great performances include Allison Janney, Jason Bateman and JK Simmons. (Jennifer Garner was the weakest link in my opinion, nothing surprising there.) You might sympathize, you might cringe, you'll certainly laugh and yes, you might even tear up (I admit, I did). Check this one out for sure.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

January linkage

Here are some links to some of my recent work online:

APA Compass on KBOO Community Radio
Paper Cuts, Tung-Hui Hu and the Angry APA Minute

The Asian Reporter
Emerging artist finds inspiration from quilts, industrial sites

Local comic shop owner puts together stunning tribute to Bill Mantlo, writer of ROM Spaceknight
Vancouver-based artist’s new work explores identity and labor through subtle forms

North Portland gallery explores the world of sophisticated craft

another year, another set of resolutions

Greetings and happy new year, whether it be gregorian, julian, lunar, tet or other. I'll admit it, I've got some resolutions in mind for 2008. Trite, but useful. We've got the rules of improv, recipes for cooking, outlines in coloring books - which can all be considered structures, but in my opinion can also provide a smaller container from which to explore freely. I'd like to think that resolutions can do this too.

"Resolution" as defined on Wiktionary:
  1. The state of being resolute.
    His stalwart resolution is perhaps admirable, perhaps foolish.
  2. A statement of intent, a vow (often New Year's Resolution).
    My resolution is to cut back on the fast food this year.
  3. The act of discerning detail.
  4. (computing) The degree of fineness with which an image can be recorded or produced, often expressed as the number of pixels per unit of length (typically an inch).
    Printing at higher resolution will cause a reduction in performance.
  5. (computer hardware) The number of pixels in an image that are stored or displayed.
    This monitor's maximum resolution is 800x600.
  6. A formal statement adopted by an assembly.
  7. (sciences) The separation of the constituent parts (of a spectrum etc).
  8. (sciences) The degree of fineness of such a separation.
  9. (music) Progression from dissonance to consonance; a chord to which such progression is made.
Some of those sound pretty juicy. I especially like the #7 and #9. Here's just a few of my resolutions, vows, intentions for 2008:
  1. Blog at least twice a month
  2. Eat more veggies
  3. Intentionally move my body at least once a day
  4. Work with Matt on completing at least three video shorts
  5. Continue improvisation PLAYgroup
  6. Organize and maintain my office/craft space
  7. Buy a house
  8. Raise money for KBOO and Bitch Magazine
  9. Create one audio documentary piece
  10. Learn and practice more Spanish
  11. Streamline programming of the Portland Grassroots Media Camp
  12. Watch lots of films
  13. Practice sewing at least twice a month
  14. Read these books - Omnivores Dilemma; Eat, Pray Love; Brave New World; Tokyo Cancelled; People's History of the United States; Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White; Writing Down the Bones
  15. Teach an improv class
  16. Take a walk at least once a week
  17. Sing
  18. Practice my New Zealand accent (currently obsessed with Flight of the Conchords)