Jeff Yang, Phil Yu and Philip Wang: Rise—A Pop History of Asian America
When the Hart-Celler Act passed in 1965, opening up U.S. immigration to non-Europeans, it ushered in a whole new era. But even to the first generation of Asian Americans born in the United States after that milestone, it would have been impossible to imagine that sushi and boba would one day be beloved by millions, that a Korean boy band named BTS would be the biggest musical act in the world, that one of the most acclaimed and popular movies of 2018 would be Crazy Rich Asians, or that we would have an Asian American vice president. And that’s not even mentioning the creators, performers, entrepreneurs, execs and influencers who've been making all this happen, behind the scenes and on the screen; or the activists and representatives continuing to fight for equity, building coalitions and defiantly holding space for our voices and concerns. And still: Asian America is just getting started.
Join us for a special program featuring the talented authors of Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now. The timing is great for this intimate, eye-opening and frequently hilarious guided tour through the pop-cultural touchstones and sociopolitical shifts of the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and beyond. Jeff Yang, Phil Yu and Philip Wang chronicle how we arrived at today’s unprecedented diversity of Asian American cultural representation through engaging, interactive infographics (including a step-by-step guide to a night out in K-Town, an atlas that unearths historic Asian American landmarks, a handy “Appreciation or Appropriation?” flowchart, and visual celebrations of both our "founding fathers and mothers" and the nostalgia-inducing personalities of each decade), plus illustrations and graphic essays from major AAPI artists, exclusive roundtables with Asian American cultural icons, and more, anchored by extended insider narratives of each decade by the three co-authors. They provide an informative, lively and inclusive celebration of shared experiences and singular moments, and all the different ways in which we have chosen to come together.
About the Speakers
Jeff Yang has been observing, exploring, and writing about the Asian American community for over thirty years. He launched one of the first Asian American national magazines, A. Magazine, in the late '90s and early 2000s, and now writes frequently forCNN, Quartz, Slate and elsewhere. He has written/edited three books—Jackie Chan’s New York Times-best-selling memoir I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action; Once Upon a Time in China, a history of the cinemas of Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Mainland; and Eastern Standard Time: A Guide to Asian Influence on American Culture. He lives in Los Angeles.
Phil Yu is the founder and editor of the popular Asian American news and culture blog Angry Asian Man, which has had a devoted following since 2001. His commentary has been featured and quoted in the The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR and elsewhere. He lives in Los Angeles.
Philip Wang is the co-founder of the hugely influential production company Wong Fu Productions. Since the mid-2000s, his creative work has garnered more than 3 million subscribers and half a billion views online, as well as recognition from NPR and CNN for its impact on Asian American representation. He lives in Los Angeles.
This program is part of The Commonwealth Club's Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.
Photo by Molly Pan Photography.
The Commonwealth Club of California
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Taube Family Auditorium
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Writer; Editor; Co-Author, Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now
Founder and Editor, Angry Asian Man; ; Co-Author, Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now
Co-founder, Wong Fu Productions; Co-Author, Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now
Producer and Host, "The Michelle Meow Show," KBCW TV and Podcast; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors—Host