gook

Last night, my husband and I had the pleasure of watching Justin Chon’s latest film, Gook. An independent film that is currently screening in smaller theaters across the country, Gook takes place during the first day of the 1992 L.A. riots. Since 2017 marks the twenty five year anniversary of the riots, Gook is an important, timely film that centers on a young girl, Kamilla, and her friendship with two Korean American brothers, Eli and Daniel.

As an Ethnic Studies scholar, inter-ethnic and inter-racial conversations are very important to me. When the riots happened, I was in high school. The images of the burning buildings, the Korean shop owners protecting their stores with guns, the violence, and looting still burn in my memory. Other than shock and odd fascination, I cannot recall any substantive reactions from my sixteen year-old self. I sort of knew about Korean/Black racial tensions at the time. It would be years until I would be in grad school and re-visit the riots and what they continue to mean to the country’s history of race relations.

This post is not meant to be a film review. Rather, I’d like to simply urge you to watch it at your local theater. Justin Chon does a great job at capturing the relationship between these characters, and how their interactions are reflected in the larger backdrop of the riots and race relations in Los Angeles. (Confession: After seeing Chon’s directorial debut in Man Up, I had serious doubts about Gook. Luckily, reading various reviews helped me overcome those ill feelings.) Simone Baker, the film’s lead, is fantastic as Kamilla. David So, who is most notable for his comedy, also treats us to a commanding and touching performance. For your reference, feel free to peruse the videos below for more on Gook.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

Gook Trailer

Justin Chon Interview on BUILD Series

Justin Chon Interview on Kore Asian Media

Gook Cast Interview

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Red & Yellow, Black & Brown

RYBB

Hello Everyone!

I greatly apologize for my negligence with respect to this website. A LOT has happened in 2017 and when I finally have the chance to catch my breath, I’ll update you and let you know all about the craziness of my life, and how that will impact the future of this blog. (It’s good news, I promise!) For now, I want to let you know that my newest book project has just been released! I am very fortunate to have worked with Rudy P. Guevarra and Paul Spickard on Red & Yellow, Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies. You can purchase it directly from Rutgers University Press here.  (Pssst. For 30% off, please use discount code: 02AAAA16. Shhh. You didn’t hear that from me.)

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
Tempe, AZ

a hapa bachelorette

caila

Note: Photo found here.

Many thanks to Akemi Johnson for chatting with me for her NPR story, What Would It Mean to Have a Hapa Bachelorette. It’s always a pleasure to speak to writers about current events, especially as it relates to my own research. As an academic, feeling like you’re an imposter, or that your research is irrelevant, is a daily insecurity. However, talking to other people who inspire and push you to connect your research to the ideas they’re working on really helps solidify your own work. For that, I am grateful. Hope you enjoy the story!

Maraming salamat!

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Mesa, AZ

the last dragon

This weekend, everyone is going crazy watching this:

Personally, I’m waiting for the hype to die down (and for the time to re-visit the original series). Though I will not be watching The Force, I will be watching something that has to do with The Glow:

Don’t judge. I’m well aware that The Last Dragon is one of those awesomely bad 80s movies. You either love it or you don’t. Well guess what side of the street I’m standing on. The Manpanion managed to grab some tickets to a 30th anniversary screening and Q&A event featuring W. Kamau Bell and Taimak. We can’t wait! (Yes, I’ll post a full report later.)

Maraming Salamat (Many Thanks),

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

South San Francisco, CA

inspired

Confession: In high school and college, I was an artist. (As I write these words, the admission is still tough to wrap my head around.) Photography was my first love and I eventually majored in Art Studio. My areas of concentration were printmaking and performance. I gave up photography because at the time (in the 35mm days), supplies were expensive and the primary photo professor was a jerk. He was known to HATE commercial work, and there were notorious stories about him tearing up student projects, claiming they were shit.

Art classes critiques are hard enough. No one needs Professor Douchebag to add to the misery.

Still, I  often fantasize about what life would be like if I actually pursued photography. Would I have walked away from it the same way I did printmaking and performance? Who knows?

I will always be a lover and believer in the transformative ways of art. There are a lot of smart and creative people who illustrate this. Check out this interview with 2015 MacArthur Fellow LaToya Ruby Frazier.

I set out to retell the collapse of the steel mill industry, global economy, loss of social services, environmental racism and healthcare inequity through the bodies of three generations of Black women: Grandma Ruby, who lived from1925 and 2009 Mom, who was born in 1959 and myself, born in 1982). Our lives are markers on a historic timeline as Braddock shifted from a prosperous melting pot when my grandmother grew up to a segregated redlined community losing jobs and suffering from white flight when my mother grew up to dismantled steel mills, the War On Drugs and disinvestment at the local, state and federal levels by the time I grew up.

Her work shows us how art can be as effective and informative as the academic articles and books we write, and that our own families and experiences are central to understanding the major issues of the time. Perhaps it’s time that we all dust off that old trusty camera.

Maraming Salamat (Many Thanks),

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Goleta, CA

racial uniform

sikhs

When you’re reading the news and you’re reminded of Ronald Takaki and his lectures/discussions on the racial uniform….

Sikh Broncos fans are denied entry to game ‘because of their turbans’ – and then stopped by the bomb squad on the way out!

K-pop group denied entry at LAX on suspicion of being sex workers, band says

A Hundred Years Later, “The Birth of a Nation” Hasn’t Gone Away

The Red Road

redroad

I’ll spoil it for you off the bat. Sundance TV decided to cancel The Red Road after its second season. Still, it’s an awesome show that you can watch online or on Netflix. (Please ignore the negative review that’s linked to the photo above.) It has a diverse cast and rich story lines that make an ES scholar like me melt. Yes, Jason Momoa is easy on the eyes. However, the show illustrates that he has some acting chops too. I’ll miss The Red Road (and I shall curse Sundance TV for letting you go).

Maraming Salamat (Many Thanks),

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Chandler, AZ