Long-time friend, former pastor, and fellow podcaster Ken Kemp ("The Beached White Male" podcast) and I finally resume our semi-regular collaborative conversation after being part for most of the summer. This time we reflect long and hard about why the powerful and privileged need to cry out in desparation to those who are marginalized or oppressed to come heal and save them. It's a fresh look at the parable of the Good Samaritan through the lens of the Samaritan.
The South Side of Chicago meets South Korea in this heartfelt play where a business partnership between an African American employee and an immigrant Korean owner plus a touch of magical realism bring these two very unlikely friends closer to understanding themselves and each other. Ryun Yu, already a favorite of this podcast, stars as "Mr. Kim" and Julanne Chidi Hill stars as "Veralynn Jackson." The play runs from September 15-October 9 at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.
Filmmaker and broadcast journalist David Ono has created something that defies well-known descriptions. His "Defining Courage" is a tribute to the courage and patriotism of the Japanese American soldiers who fought and died during World War II, even as many of their family members were unjustly imprisoned in desolate prison camps. Combining his live narration with cinematic drone footage of five storied battlefields, accompanied by a choir and musicians, Ono humanizes the stories of those who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), while taking us all on an emotional journey to the places where so many lost their lives.
Why has a PE teacher in NY who hates to travel started a library, a gym, and a school in Kenya? According to Garrett, it was something he heard me say long ago at a Christian conference. Even if you're not a Christian, you'll find his efforts to live out The Hero's Journey quite fascinating. www.thegapmission.com
In response to an alarming number of Asian American deaths due to drug overdoses during the Summer of '72 in Los Angeles, local Asian American activists banded together and started the Asian American Drug Abuse Program. New CEO Dean Nakanishi and new trustee John Saito, Jr., not only reflect on the agency's history, but also talk about its impact and dreams for the future as AADAP marks its 50th anniversary this month.
Korean American Dave Young Kim today is an acclaimed and respected muralist, but he started out as an animal behavior major at UC Davis! His journey to covering gigantic exterior spaces with culturally-infused and contextually-informed art is mind-boggling. Dave is first and foremost a storyteller, and he will continue to search for creative ways to share his stories.
Earlier this year, narrative-historian Dr. Russell Low published his latest book, "The All-American Crew: A True Story of a World War II Bomber and the Men Who Flew It." Once again, Low's prodigious research and masterful storytelling has resulted in a book that not only details what it was like to serve together on a B-24 in the Pacific Theater, but also connects us to his father's and his younger brother Stan's stories. Over 20,000 Americans of Chinese descent served bravely and sacrificially during World War II, and yet America as a whole hasn't heard any of their stories. Through this book, Russell Low is helping to rectify that glaring omission.
When you learn how Amman Jordan first came across my podcast, you might be shocked to hear that he initially thought I wasn't worth listening to (it had to do with what he thought I was saying about the movie "Black Panther.") To his credit, he hung in there and came to the opposite conclusion. Today, he loves my pod, and I'm so grateful to have a compadre like him in the effort to build a deep and lasting unity between African Americans and AAPIs, and with everyone else. Among things, this difficult work requires honest conversations between those who love and trust each other. That was definitely our aim here.
Coming on the heels of her Great Uncle Ted Ngoy AKA The Donut King, Cambodian American Mayly Tao grew up watching her parents resurrect a dying donut shop in Santa Monica, CA. After college, Mayly worked to refresh the shop's image, and pioneered all kinds of new donuts. You'll also learn how she's harnessed her "Mayly Magic" after her parents finally retired and she sold the business.
Director Ron Howard's engrossing new movie "Thirteen Lives" takes us back to those weeks in 2018 where the world was holding its collective breath, wondering if the young Thai boys and their coach would ever be rescued from the flooded cave in Chang Rai. This episode gave me the unique opportunity to interview several of the key Thai players who've brought this gripping story back to life.
This episode highlights the hilarious and groundbreaking film "Easter Sunday," which opens in theaters on August 5th. Filipino American comedian Jo Koy, actress Lydia Gaston, and SIPA Director of Operations Hannah-Kalea Enriquez share why this new comedy will truly be a love letter to their community.
Back in June and July of 2018, the entire world was transfixed with the drama playing out deep within the flooded chambers of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand. Twelve young teens and their soccer coach found themselves trapped over two miles deep and half a mile down. Legendary director Ron Howard's newest film "Thirteen Lives" moves us to relive those unforgettable challenges, obstacles, sacrifices, and acts of heroism. And award-winning author Christina Soontornvat ("All Thirteen") adds remarkable detail and dynamism to this rivetting story.
In 2007 18-year-old Justin Chung was sentenced to 82 years to life for the murder of one person and the shooting of another when he was part of a Korean American gang less than two years earlier. Throughout the 15 years that he spent behind bars, he refused to affiliate with any gang, renounced all violence, earned his GED and college diploma, and deepened his Christian faith. As a result, he was granted parole and California's Gov. Newsome commuted his life sentence to time served. However, due to the fact that he had committed an "aggravated felony" as an undocumented immigrant, ICE immediately began the process to send him 'back' to South Korea. Supporters are petitioning Newsome to pardon Chung, so that he won't be deported.
Marie is a Korean American award-winning, widely published writer and author. In this episode she explains why it took her eighteen years to publish "The Evening Hero," her first novel for adults. And in the last portion of this interview, she reveals the recent astounding development in her autistic young adult son's ability finally to communicate.
Dr. McNeil has long been one of the leading Christian voices on racial reconciliation. She's spoken to tens of thousands of people, written several books on the topic, and teaches the subject at Seattle Pacific University. However, when 81% of white Evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016, Brenda decided she would no longer mince words when in front of them. She's also taken the bold step to include queer and trans people in the mission of reconciliation.
In this latest collaborative episode you'll hear Ken Kemp share some key takeaways from his second Civil Rights pilgrimage, and then we jump right into reacting to the Supreme Court's decision to vacate Roe v Wade.
Relocating to the Pacific Northwest and then the pandemic prompted physical therapist Dr. Kat Lieu to begin experimenting with Asian baked desserts in her new kitchen. That was 2020, and today she oversees the Subtle Asian Baking global community and has just authored the "Modern Asian Baking at Home" cookbook.
To celebrate PRIDE Month this year I finally landed the amazing Aiden Aizumi, a Japanese American trans-male who lives and works here in the LA area. His story is not only a testament to his courage and determination, but also how crucial it is to belong to a loving and supportive family.
All of us are hardwired from birth to seek meaningful connections, which is why we get so frustrated when we fail to make them or keep them. Singapore-based human connection specialist Simone Heng is traveling the world again, in order to help us all make better connections. She graciously shares her lessons with me in this episode.
My conversation this episode is with Phil Yu and Jeff Yang, who partnered with Philip Wang to write and curate the first definitive book about the increasing prominence of Asian American culture from the Nineties till today. Much more than a descriptive history of this unprecedented surge, their amazing book "RISE" oftentimes gives the reader experiences of the culture itself!
Attorney Dale Minami is most known for leading the legal team that overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu. Forty years earlier, Korematsu had defiantly disobyed Executive Order 9066--which unjustly incarcerated over 100,0000 Japanese Americans during World War II-- which led to Korematsu v. United States, widely considered one of the worst and most racist SCOTUS decisions in American history.
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.