There are many things I don’t fully understand but know with certainty they make the world better and more beautiful.
Being an editor in chief means I’m exposed to many people, subjects, and perspectives. And this has led me to one conclusion – I don’t know diddly. Ok, I understand community newspapers and how they operate, but even then, there are mysteries. Alan Lau, our Arts Editor since the inception of the Examiner – has often shared, in his own way, the significance of the local Asian arts community and its uniqueness. He has advocated for artists, musicians, performers, and actors for nearly two generations. He expressed this to a sheepish editor with little background in arts beyond drawing “still-lifes” in high school arts classes. However, over the last three years at the helm, I’ve developed a better appreciation for the contributions of the Asian American arts community and the perseverance and grace of its members.
As we all know, the arts is not usually our parents’ first calling for us. I pursued writing and journalism to the almost relentless barrage from my mother who attempted to seal my fate as a child to become a plastic surgeon as I learned to tie my shoelaces. “When mom get older, you can make mom look younger,” she said. But this didn’t stop me from writing and pouring out stories from my imagination, although it took longer to bear fruit. This scenario must be similar to others who inherited a passion for a craft but whose talents weren’t fostered, to their detriment and that of a community losing a significant contributor.
In our annual tribute to Asian films and filmmakers, we are producing in this issue, the 2011 Seattle International Film Festival Guide, focusing on “Pacific Rim Cinema”. In partnership with SIFF, we are offering a complete 101 on Asian and Asian American films. We are supporting the filmmakers’ work and the stories of our global Asian and Asian American communities.
We should continue to honor the Asian arts community by embracing these artistic attributes and talents in our youth and remembering those who pioneered it. The music scene in Seattle in the 1960s and earlier weren’t inclusive of minorities and since Asian American musicians were rare in those days, it was particularly rough to break through stereotypes and be seen for the artists they were. But when they did, these musicians demonstrated a thread that connected them all – a love and appreciation to express oneself in music.
In this issue, we also pay homage to API pioneers who desegregated the Seattle music scene and carved a path for today’s talent to “break the sound barrier”. A piece on local music personalities, including a Chinese immigrant street musician who frequents downtown Seattle and a budding hip hop artist who shares his struggle over identity will showcase the diverse community we possess today. We hope through their stories, you will find inspiration to follow your own passion, regardless of the barriers, because you may look back and realize you weren’t breaking it down just for yourself.
Editor in Chief