What is Asian Americana?
Asian Americana is a podcast about slices of distinctly Asian American culture and history.
Asian Americana is also a term based on the idea that Asian Americans are a rich and inherent part of the American cultural and historical tapestry. We weren't just present; we've actively built and shaped this nation with endless stories and contributions.
Why Asian Americana?
I have always been captivated by images of Asian Americans in historic settings. Despite depictions of perpetual foreignness, yellow peril sentiments, and exclusionary policy, there is a cultural tenacity I admire when I see Asian faces refuse to settle for presence in these images, but mark themselves as undeniably belonging in the American cultural tapestry. Nisei boys playing baseball in Boyle Heights, Chinese American store-owners in three-piece suits and bowler hats, Filipino American farm and cannery workers in jazz dance halls, all fascinated me as someone who longed for stories that stretched back beyond my own parents’ immigration in 1980.
I want to explore the stories and cultures that are uniquely and beautifully Asian American—impossible to describe with just one of those terms: “Atomic” Nancy Sekizawa at the LA punk rock hub Atomic Café; turntablist pioneer Filipino-American DJ crews in the 1980s; 19th century Chinese delta-workers who built the California waterways that irrigate the farms that feed the nation; the idiosyncracies of university “cultural night” performances and the collegiate modern/hip-hop dance crews that they’ve birthed; the multiracial Pepper Street Gang who used to hang with Jackie Robinson; 90s AZN culture; Giant Robot magazine, the annual pilgrimage to Japanese internment camp at Manzanar, and so many more.
These are more than abstract histories; these are stories of peoples and communities that belong in and build quintessentially American culture.
This is Asian Americana.
Who's behind Asian Americana?
Oh! I'm Quincy. I'm an arts producer, assistant digital producer working in public radio, actor, photographer, and all sorts of things based out of Los Angeles. I'm second generation Thai-Chinese American. I studied American history and theatre in college at UC Santa Cruz.