hip hop evolution

it’s always great to see the homies get name credits on the netflix.

i saw the first two episodes of season one outside during hot docs, when the baambatta accusations surfaced (and were squashed so quickly), checking in on the game because it was the first time (of this era) we were en route to the conference finals.

a new season just dropped, so what better time to catch up on all of it? i love that bunz has found a way to adapt his rap legacy post (issue) 45. i’m glad that shad too, has proven that he is a good host, despite what white boomers think of him on the radio.

overall, it’s a great who’s who of rap as we know it, and a non-cheesy way into the beats, rhymes, and life with extras and visual reunions for folx who already know.

and to think, this all started because i asked, “i wonder what richie rich is doing now?”

the l word-generation q

i had heard rumblings about this when it first came out, but did not investigate it. it was the first thing i watched during this (now ‘rona xtended) stint of pet-sitting, and the only show i got to watch with my 12-hour dog.

i have to admit-i didn’t really connect with the first iteration of this show, for a variety of reasons, and i feel like they have all been addressed this time around. there are some folks who did not want to see the OG cast again, but i appreciated them as generational links, and also the fact that all of the original cast has producing credits now. i feel like this was a move to come together and ensure control over not only their representation, but also of the younger folx in the show. shoutout to everyone looking amazing and all of the age-appropriately fly jumpsuits, sleeves, glasses, and blouses.

it’s obvious that racial and queer diversity was a consideration, and it seems basic to applaud them on this, but it’s still radical to see us on television, and they get all the high grades for knocking it out of the park on this count.

i was completely in my feels and hooked on these episodes. WTH WAS THAT SEASON FINALE?! and when is the new season coming? i gotta try to book a petsit around it.

the affair-season five

since i was on showtime anyway, i decided to finish hate-watching this show once and for all.

it’s more flawed characters, women with questionable motivations, and the move to cast someone who appears to be samoan/pacific islander to be a character who is supposed to be half indian and half white.

also-let’s just let that whole move to go to the future because most of the contemporary characters are dead. and the “old” makeup.

noah still skates through, and he is the only one left standing in the end. maybe that’s because dominic west is v.posh? i’m not really sure why he is working, for pocket money? he has married into royalty for all intents and purposes.

maybe the moral of the story is that montauk is haunted?

desus and mero-showtime offerings to date

these two are everything we need.

i admit that i had not seen any full episodes of this iteration of the sucio boys until now (yea, pet-sitting with streaming services), but i’ve been staying abreast of them via podcast (albeit like, eleventeen weeks behind) and watching the clips on IG.

it was great to watch it all in its entirety, and see their perspectives on the shared headlines as the daily show correspondents.

there’s always a surprise takeaway-like the book interviews they did at the other place (no real book reviews here) or the fact that i learned that rosario dawson and cory booker are dating here. i dig her stance on her queer status-which is that it’s not untrue, but she hasn’t been in a relationship within a queer context. i totally identify with that.

i think everyone is really glamorous when they get their name title going into the basement, and i wish there was more footage of the puppy.

if you’re looking to laugh, get on this right now.

the negroes are congregating-written and directed by natasha adiyana morris

wow. life is so circular.

i love being on the roster of volunteers at a theatre, because being an usher allows me to see shows. it’s also an opportunity to see how folx in this city move in circles.

for example-i chose this show because i work with one of the stars. i worked/attended on the same night as two of our other mutual coworkers, and one of her other theatre colleagues that also happens to be my friend. i realized that i met another one of the stars at jfl years ago, and in that realization, the moderator of the discussion confirmed that i had met him last year at an open mic that was otherwise very pain-full, if not for his assertion that he was there to “find the good in people”. i was profiled as the AD of the theatre (yea, that position is held by an asian now, but it’s not this one!) by an audience member who was very vocal during the talkback, but in reality, i had just sold him and his family organic produce for years.

was this show impact-full? absolutely. was it uncomfortable to sit in the pews? a bit. but i liked that it was in the round, like shakespeare, had many canadian references, and had many provocative moments that don’t necessarily give people answers, but confirm their questions. it would be interesting to see how the show is different based on who shows up for it, and also how the talkback is different when it’s not moderated by a different person every night. what a blessing it was to put that magical unicorn in the front pew and though we’re not supposed to keep the props, i got the stars to sign a fake $20 for my gratitude jar.

just, go see it, and let’s talk about it.

the apology-tiffany hsuing

i didn’t know that it would be the last time that i would see sj when this film was featured at hot docs. but it was, and it was through their irrepressible spirit of going off and exploring cities and film festivals that the discussion arrived in my living room, and honestly, it took the whole week to decide (and re-decide after deciding not to) to be ready to experience it.

my friend michelle was right by my side the whole time, and we discussed, as asian-canadian children who have inherited their parents’ experience of war (korean and american) the legacies that we have, and the ones that we are responsible to deconstruct and re/write when it comes to the colonial effects and present-day realities of sexual violence as part of state-sanctioned military campaigns and the tactics of dividing and conquering.

i had fully decided not to go, to be ready for it another time, when i found out that grandma gil was coming, and all of a sudden-the context of this hero of a woman who had endured so much still being strong enough to travel to do the work of activism made my process seem small, null and void. at the very least, i couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be in her presence. the mother’s day (!) screening that day was full of the strongest and most supportive asian women in the city at that time.

when michelle sent the invite that she was screening the film again at ryerson, and having a discussion with tiffany as a part of international women’s week, i had to go.

seeing it again, six years later, is not only a reminder that the fight continues (the korean women still rally every wednesday at noon in front of the japanese consulate in seoul for a simple blasted apology) and also has ushered in new realizations.

we now live in the shadow of an empire that is openly bragging about everyday sexual violence and xenophobia and recklessness in international relations. our own government continues to deny the illegal seizing of indigenous lands, and the continued environmental assault for capitalistic aims to curry favour with the aforementioned empire.

hearing tiffany talk about how difficult it was to make this film, and how angry she was that she was trying to take on this huge global project whilst dealing with the personal experience of not being able to speak to her family about her own sexual violence got me thinking about trust, and men, and accountability in general.

i don’t usually talk to the cis men in my life about the sexual violence and physical abuse that i have known. as i’ve gotten older, this has been because i don’t have the energy to support them through it, through the reality is that so many women have had some experience with sexual violence that we just have to motor through, because if not, it will crush us. but as these same men are now becoming the fathers of young girls, i’m wondering if it’s time to broach the topic so that they are better able to do their damn jobs.

but just how do you tell someone that you were molested by people that you should’ve been able to trust? how do you tell someone that you’ve been assaulted by strangers and judgements? how do you tell someone that you’ve been in non-consensual situations, with them?

worse, how do you deal with telling someone any (or all) of these things, only to have them either be so shocked that they cannot believe you, or have them react in no way at all? this is where i am at with my father-i cannot believe that he has said/done nothing when i told him that my cousin molested me (and other children in our family-i felt compelled to speak up when he had his own children because now he has easy access) and i’m angry that he may be around the corner from leaning into alzheimer’s and thus the freedom of “forgetting” what he never chose to acknowledge in the first place. be better, men and fathers-though our allegiance shouldn’t have anything to do with our rights to be seen as people.

how could i even tell him about my cousin’s husband who did it first, when i was four years old? the boarder that he took in when i was 12 to help pay the rent (who first introduced me to basketball, but also helped himself to kissing me and sticking his hands down my pants)? the men who followed me around a waterpark in hanoi masturbating and calling me fat? the boy who took my virginity even though i wasn’t quite ready? the grown man who told me he was younger so that it wouldn’t seem so predatory that he was pursuing me? the one that i listened to at 17 when he told me that i had to shave off all my pubic hair so that he would want me? the army guy that thought that spit was adequate foreplay to penetrate? his buddy who masqueraded as my friend who ultimately tried to do the same (i escaped that one-yea me) the man who “grabbed me by the pussy” when i was dressed at santa claus to promote a craft fair when i first moved to toronto and didn’t have any money? the one i was in a relationship with, to whom i awoke to inside my body in new york-did he not notice that i was sleeping, or did he not care? either way-we need to do better with consent.

what if my father is a man who doesn’t take no for an answer? or doesn’t hear no so assumes otherwise (because this is what happens)? what if he is just so paralyzed in his own failure to do anything, preventative or otherwise, that he cannot see past his own inadequacy? well, what if. all i know is that it’s no longer (and never was), my work to do this emotional heavy lifting for anyone but myself, and the women in my life that i’m so happy to have and know have me.

but i am glad that at least for this moment, it appears that we are somewhat open to having a soupcon of this discussion.

i still bristled at the men who spoke up to say “i really loved your film” and to express that “japanese men are some of the nicest people that i’ve ever met, how can they deny that they did this?” rather than-“what drives a people to systemically devise this structure of organized, international and constant girl abduction and rape?”. because while the film is heartbreakingly well-done, i don’t think i will every say that i like watching it, though i maintain that everyone needs to see it.

get uncomfortable so that we may lean into the privilege that we’ve been afforded to heal from the traumas (or levels of) that some of us have never even had to fathom.

does this sound angry?


(spoiler alert-it is).

watercolour paints

a roommate in montreal once left me an encouraging note and watercolour palette after a breakup. i was always blown away by the gesture, but had no idea how to apply that palette.

years later, when i was helping a coworker move to vancouver, i inherited her set of watercolour tube paints and a book of canvasses. again, i did nothing with them. i just felt like i had to hold onto them.

a few years later still, i got a paint by number set from the japanese paper store. it came with about eight tubes of acrylic paint, and i decided to supplement with the watercolours, because they seemed to me to be the same texture (because i did not apply any water).

last year, i met a woman who was making the most amazing travel journal with watercolours (and pen). i continue to be blown away by her work, and was very inspired to go home and experiment with my watercolour pencil crayons (faber-castell, whut whut?!) and the water-filled pens that i picked up from len’s mill store in port dover, ontario. my muse was the cupcake wrapper from the letter writing social that we were both at-i really like the way the colours blended together. i had limited success and hit a ceiling of interest.

last week-i decided to finish the remaining paintings in the set, and leaned heavily into the watercolours-for the first time i used them with water, and it was a huge “aha” moment. i fell in love with some clouds that i painted, and went on a mission to get a tube of white paint. i’m not sure why i had a full set, but no white-had i culled my art supplies politically? who knows.

now, i have merged my interests of mixing colours, materials, metallics, and x-stitch to create my first customized birthday piece that includes a mix of many patterns and paints.

i can’t wait to apply the water brush to the tube paints, as well as both wet and dry brushes to another palette now that i’m ready. i love the opportunity to explore so many paths to mixing water and paint, and translating that journey onto all the different canvasses available.

thank you, watercolours-i love you. it was a slow burn, but we’re all the way committed now.