Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rusell Peters: Comedian

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Borders 2008 Original Voices Awards

The nominees for the 2008 Original Voices Awards are:

-- "Dear American Airlines," by Jonathan Miles (Houghton Mifflin)
-- "The Cellist of Sarajevo," by Steven Galloway (Riverhead)
-- "The Good Thief," by Hannah Tinti (The Dial Press)
-- "The Lace Reader," by Brunonia Barry (William Morrow)
-- "The Somnambulist," by Jonathan Barnes (William Morrow)
-- "The White Tiger," by Aravind Adiga (Free Press)

-- "The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the
Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler,"
by Thomas Hager (Harmony)
-- "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese
Food," by Jennifer 8 Lee (Twelve)
-- "The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in
the World," by Eric Weiner (Twelve)
-- "The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood," by
Helene Cooper (Simon & Schuster)
-- "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a
Great Victorian Detective," by Kate Summerscale (Walker & Company)
-- "We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken
Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Change Their Lives Forever," by
Benjamin Mee (Weinstein Books)

Young Adult/Independent Reader
-- "Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go," by Dale Basye (Random House Books for
Young Readers)
-- "I Am Apache," by Tanya Landman (Candlewick)
-- "The Patron Saint of Butterflies," by Cecilia Galante (Bloomsbury USA
Children's Books)
-- "Tunnels," by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams (The Chicken House)
-- "Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines," by Nic Sheff (Ginee Seo Books)
-- "Wake," by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse)

Children's Picture Books
-- "Do You Do a Didgeridoo?," written by Nick Page and illustrated by Sara
Baker (Make Believe Ideas)
-- "Ladybug Girl," written by Jacky Davis and illustrated by David Soman
-- "Little Bunny Kung Fu," written and illustrated by Regan Johnson
(Blooming Tree Press)
-- "Those Darn Squirrels!," written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by
Daniel Salmieri (Clarion Books)
-- "Wave," written and illustrated by Suzy Lee (Chronicle Books)
-- "What's Under The Bed?," written and illustrated by Joe Fenton (Simon &
Schuster Children's Publishing)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Latest Find: Henry Cho Comedian

Henry Cho is a Korean-American comedian from Tennessee. He's also a Christian.

These youtube thingeys should be clickable but in case they aren't. Click on the youtube links.

A bit of Henry Cho's standup routine

Henry Cho radio appearance

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pacific Northwest Collective of Art & Religion 2008

National Day of Listening

is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening.
By recording the stories of our lives with the people we care about, we experience our history, hopes, and humanity. Since 2003, tens of thousands of everyday people have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to take home and share, and is archived for generations to come at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to our award-winning broadcasts on public radio and the Internet. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, creating a growing portrait of who we really are as Americans.

It has recorded nearly 40,000 interviews since it began and has created the first-ever National Day of Listening (NDL), which will be held November 28.

Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps, explains that the goal of NDL is to
"encourage, instruct, and inspire everyday people to start a new
holiday tradition: sit down with a loved one on the day after Thanksgiving and record a meaningful conversation to preserve for years to come. It's a chance to give the gift of listening, a priceless treasure that costs nothing but a little time."

National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the United States are promoting National Day of Listening. You can listen live on the Internet at the KWMU website

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mocha Club Project: The Beauty of Africa Campaign

I was asked by Mocha Club to write about the concept of why ‘I need Africa more than Africa needs me.’ Mocha Club is a community-based website where members can start a team and invite friends to join them in giving $7 a month – the cost of 2 mochas – to support a project in Africa. Mocha Club's vision is to provide a way for people who don't have hundreds or thousands of dollars to make a difference in Africa.

Okay, so why do I need Africa more than Africa needs me?
Because I like its idea of kinship and tribes. Honestly, the world we live in is so homogeneous and we in the west have lost track of extended families, extended communities, etc that I think we need to really look back to Africa about communal living.

I also need Africa because I always feel as if we in the west have forgotten what it's like to be human. When I see Africa, I am reminded about humanity's basic need: companionship, fun, friendliness.

Share your thoughts and even blog about it yourself. Join in the worthwhile cause of recasting the damaging images that force pity over partnership. Come back Dec 1st to see what Mocha Club is doing about reforming that image.”

“I need Africa more than Africa needs me.”

Check out to learn more about Mocha Club’s vision to provide a way for people who don't have hundreds or thousands of dollars to make a difference in Africa.

At Mocha Club, one of our biggest missions at the onset was to challenge the preconceptions that people have of this continent and it’s 54 unique nations. We have always cared about building an accurate perception of both the challenges that Africans face, and the BEAUTY of Africa.

I'll be posting again on this on Dec 1

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Asian American Modern Art Exhibit

Asian/American/Modern Art: Shifting Currents, 1900?1970 runs through January 18, 2009 at the de Young Museum. Do check out the extensive schedule of related community programs.

For more info, check out the Chinese Culture Center and the Kearney Street Workshop websites.

Here's a review from KQED

New News, Real News, Everyone's News

I swear, American News has always been pretty provincial. I don't know what my problem is but I've always liked hearing about what happens to other folks in the world -- whether good or bad.

Since the election started ooooh, two or so years ago all news seems to be focused on politics. This means that I totally would not know what the heck is happening in the rest of the world if it weren't for Democracy Now and other news shows on Link TV and the BBC America and its news channel, and the French news on PBS.

I also have to give a shoutout for some blogs.

The Angry Indian Blog

Global Voices Online

And for those who want to know what's happening with Black folks (that the Media doesn't tell us) there's the Electronic Village and Black and Missing


Friday, November 21, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

PEN's Day of the imprisoned author

November 15th is PEN's Day of the imprisoned author.

Every year on November 15, PEN marks the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to honor the courage of all writers who stand up against repression and defend freedom of expression and the right to information. On this Day of the Imprisoned Writer, PEN is focusing on five cases—one from each world region and each illustrating the type of repression that is brought to bear every day against those who question, challenge or expose official lies or who paint portraits of everyday lives through their writings. PEN invites its members and friends around the world to send appeals on their behalf.

Check out the website to learn more.

While you're at it, check out Voices Against Torture: Writers and Lawyers on the Way Forward. On December 16th,
The American Constitution Society and PEN will host a panel featuring writers and lawyers discussing their work and its relationship to combating torture. With: Jane Mayer, Anouar Benmalek, Elisa Massimino, and Scott Horton; moderated by Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick. The discussion panel will be held in NYC
Check here on the PEN website for More

Gypsy Tears by Cora Schwartz

On this day in history, Nov 15th 1943, the Nazis began putting gypsies into concentration camps.

ISBN 978-0-9760896-9-8
Published 2007
244 pages

Rating: Excellent
Gypsy Tears -- Loving a Holocaust Survivor By Cora Schwartz
published by Hobblebush Books,

Here's the blurb:
An unusual, beautifully written, and important first novel by Cora Schwartz, based on the true story of her life living with a holocaust survivor. In a magical and haunting style, Ms. Schwartz weaves an intense love story that answers the question asked so many times since her husband's death: "What was it really like living with a holocaust survivor?" As Ms. Schwartz carries us along in a grand sweep through Yugoslavia, Russia and Romania in the 1960s, the depth of her relationship with Rudy becomes a tragic work of art as she allows us a peek into the soul of a holocaust victim in an artful and deeply moving way. The timeliness of this cannot be overstated now when there are those who deny the holocaust happened.

My review is up at blogcritics

She also wrote another book:

Here's the blurb:
Forty-five Holocaust survivors in a small town in Ukraine would have been forgotten but for an American woman, Cora T. Schwartz. Cora first visited Mogelov with her companion, Rudy, who spent four years in a Nazi labor camp in the region. Although he is gone, Cora carries on their commitment to "never forget" these elderly citizens. The Forgotten Few is a small book with a big message conveyed in both text and photographs. Despite suffering and destitution, the seniors' faces light up when Cora arrives - laden with medicines and donations. Beauty is within them. Describing Frida Shvarzbahn, for example, the author writes, "Here is a woman...who has survived all the horrors of the camps, the ghetto and the war… and yet ...manages to create beautiful poetry. She sits in her little room, rations out 5 grams of sugar a day for her tea and writes about love."

Anyways, check out my review on blogcritics.

-CShe operates a Writers' retreat center called My Retreat in Soouth Fallsburg, NY

National Adoption Day

Today is National Adoption Day Check it out!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Good Day to Be Black and Sexy

I'll recommend this because it's black and I have to support black arts. Alas I DO wonder about the morality of some of our people. One of these stories is about adultery. Sharing men seem to be pretty overdone in the black community. But that's all I'll say.

A Good day to be black and sexy

Official Selection: Sundance Festival
Nominee for Breakthrough Director: Gotham Independent Film Awards
Official Selection: AFI Fest

written and directed by dennis dortch
produced by layla mashavu, dennis dortch, adetoro makinde
cinematography by brian ali-harding
editing by dennis dortch, tangier a. clarke
casting by adetoro makinde
original music by henry "lukecage" willis
executive producers angela flowers-dortch, ben ramsey, jonathan cutler, paula parsons
site curator/fotographer miss numa

Here's a bit of the blurb from their myspace page :

I set out to make a relationship film updating the theme of "Black is Beautiful." Even though the stories are not necessarily directly on that theme, it's all there in the imagery and composition. A film with soul. The Blackness. I was purposely looking to approach each vignette with a slightly different approach, style, and tone. It was a chance to be creative with film language and music in multiple directions in the same film that spoke to the same goal. The result is a 'Mixtape on Film.’

-d. dortch

Here's the youtube video

For more information contact them at blackandsexymovie (at)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Reel Asian Festival - Toronto

Reel Asian Festival begins November 12-16 in Toronto. Check out the schedule online. And here is the blog

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense Post

Wow, I was so glad when I saw this.

If you have ever had to deal with verbal attacks, get the book The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense. But if you can't go to this site. Wow! A real trove. I have the book. Definitely helps on the human linguistic cruelty games and body language stuff. She also blogs about political linguistics. It's just really helpful...Now if I could only commit to actually being tough enough to use it when some person verbally attacks. -C

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Carl Brandon Society Speculative fiction recommendation for First Nations/Native American heritage

The CARL BRANDON SOCIETY recommends the following speculative fiction books by writers of First Nations/Native American heritage for American Indian Heritage Month (November):

THE WAY OF THORN AND THUNDER trilogy, Daniel Heath Justice
This trilogy speculatively re-imagines the Cherokee history of removal and relocation and redefines European fantastical tropes using Cherokee-centered imagery and worldviews.

One of the best books I've ever read: a funny, sad, gorgeous story that ties together a contemporary narrative about 
Indians living on Canada's prairies with slightly skewed creation myths and accounts of the historical horrors endured by First Nations people during the continent's European colonization

A wry love story that also incorporates critiques of nuclear testing and dumping on Native lands.

A collection of short stories from Sanders' entire career. You can see some of his best here, including the alternate history "The Undiscovered," in which a shanghaied, shipwrecked Shakespeare is trapped in 16th Century Appalachia and must stage his plays among the Cherokee, and the near-future "When the World is All on Fire" when climate change and toxic waste have caused Indian reservations to become prime property again.

ALMANAC OF THE DEAD, Leslie Marmon Silko
Silko uses magical realism to chronicle numerous characters' journeys toward the prophetic, violent end of white dominance in the Americas.

TANTALIZE, Cynthia Leitich Smith
A departure from Smith's previous, realistic Indian YA stories, this YA novel jumps onto the vampire bandwagon, this time in a vampire-themed restaurant in Texas.

THE BONE WHISTLE, Eva Swan (Erzebet Yellowboy)
The Bone Whistle is about a woman who discovers her true heritage. She is the child of a wanaghi, one of the creatures of Native-American folklore.

THE NIGHT WANDERER, Drew Hayden Taylor
A gothic young adult vampire story.

A coming-of-age story of a native Canadian boy obsessed with Iron Maiden. Has elements of magical realism.

Perhaps the first Native American science fiction, this is a journey through a dystopian future United States destroyed by the collapse of the fuel supply.

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