According to the Dept of Homeland Security, domestic terrorism is a greater threat to the safety and well-being of Americans today than any potential outside forces. The recent mass-shooting and killing of Black Americans in Buffalo, NY, is just the latest terrorist attack. The young white gunman's rage was fueled by something called "the great replacement" theory. The Two Kens decided that it was time to talk about this.
Actor Dennis Dun is seared in our collective memories from his iconic role in "Big Trouble in LIttle China" (1986), but before he hit the big screen, he was learning his craft on stages in the Bay Area. In this episode he shares why he jumped at the chance to return to the stage in "King of the Yees," while also recounting how Director John Carpenter cast him in "BTILC," which soon became a cult classic.
Many fans of rock and roll somehow either missed "Fanny," or forgot about this first commercially viable, critically acclaimed all-female rock band, founded and fronted by Filipina Americans sisters June and Jean Millington. I tracked June down and she packed in more stories in her episode than any other guest!
This is a special episode for several reasons: My friend Patrick Hare is on the ballot in LA County to be a Superior Court Judge; the election is a month away on June 7th, but voters can mail in their ballots early; he would bring some unique and needed perspectives to the bench; I believe that once you hear from him, many of you will cast your vote for him, too.
And even if don't live in LA County, I think you'll find Patrick to be a fascinating person and our conversation to be worth a listen.
Starting on May 20th, veteran actor Christopher Chen will be in acclaimed American playwright Lauren Yee's "King of the Yees" at the historic and charming Sierra Madre Playhouse (Sierra Madre, CA). Learn why he's so excited to be cast in one of Yee's plays, and to be directed by the legendary Tim Dang.
In writing "When We Fell Apart," notable new novelist Soon Wiley has masterfully woven a story where his two protagonists come from very different experiences and places, yet share the struggle to carve out their own identities. Set in modern-day Seoul, it's also a love letter to Korea itself, but one that doesn't pull any punches.
Austrian sinologist Regina Larko launched her Hashtag Impact podcast while living and working in Hong Kong. She herself is a person of impact, and she has populated her show with a variety of people who are also making a difference in the world. Of course, all this talk about making an impact led to our facing our mortality by living more purposefully.
I last had Lisa Sharon Harper on in the immediate aftermath of the now-infamous "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville. She'd been part of a peaceful pushback by Christian clergypersons. She's recently published "Fortune," where she intertwines the experiences of ten generations of her forebearers and white America's history of passing racist, unjust laws. And in light of how some of the Senators badgered SCOTUS nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, we found time to talk about how ascendant BIPOC candidates are tested to see if they are "safe" enough to be given power and authority in historically white organizations.
Russell Leong, especially through his words, has long helped to shape the Asian American movement. He was an undergrad at SF State as students went on strike to demand an ethnic studies program. He was the editor of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center "AmerAsia Journal" for more than three decades, and then as the founding editor of "The CUNY FORUM: Asian American/Asian Studies."
If you didn't grow up as a certain kind of Christian, you might be dumbfounded as to why so many conserverative American Christians admire Russia's President Putin, despite his ahborrent abuse of power and his current unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Fong and Kemp discuss where this oxymoronic support comes from, and also discuss the Far Right's racist dog whistles aimed at Biden's SCOTUS nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Sean Lew has already made a name for himself as an innovative choreographer and dancer, but he's now carving out a new career as an actor. Currently playing "Chris" on the new hit FOX series "The Cleaning Lady," Sean talks about this shift for him, and really unpacks how he deals with the ongoing temptations to disconnect from the source of his creativity and passion.
Author, historian, and educator Dr. Pamela Rotner Sakamoto invested seventeen years of her life to be able to tell the unbelievable true story of the Fukuhara family, who had immigrated to the U.S. from Japan, where all four children were born. But when the patriarch died, his wife moved her young family back to Hiroshima. What followed was the rebellion of her two oldest children, and then the injustices, poverty and horrors of World War II.
Dr. Timothy Fong is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA's Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, specializing in addictions. Our conversation explored the nature of addictions, and then looked at addictions related to gambling and cannabis, two of his areas of specialization.
Many of us first became aware of Pudi and his immense talents when he was part of the hilarious ensemble cast of "Community" (NBC, 2009-2015). In this deeply personal (and of course, still humorous) journey to uncover his estranged South Asian American father, Pudi beckons us to reflect on our parents.
The COVID-pandemic inspired a petite Chinese American Southern California woman named Winnie Yee Lahkani to boldly insert herself into a subculture from the Deep South which has long been populated by large Black or White men. Her deftly seasoned smoked meats and business model have created a swelling fan-base, as well as the validation and admiration of famous BBQ judges and food critics.
This episode was sparked by a recent Op Ed piece in the LA Times. The writer had recently learned that a 72 million year old dinosaur embryo fossil had been found in China, which then caused him to think deeply and differently about the age of Earth, and our own brief time on it. The Two Kens both share their own reflections, while also speaking openly about how they feel about being getting old and why their faith in God is no longer threatened by scientific discoveries.
Nonprofit expert Vu Le speaks frankly and critically about the ongoing problems and challenges facing many nonprofits, and explains what he thinks need to change in that world and why.
Australian Filipina Martha Millan shares how she landed this career-defining role in first-ever prime time drama created by an Asian American woman and anchored by two AAPI actresses.
“Changing Tides” program coordinator Matthew Yonemura explains how a handful of Japanese American Millennials felt compelled in 2018 to launch a new non-profit to bring AAPI mental health problems out of the shadows and into normal conversations.