Podcasts

Episode 81 – Finding Filipino American Community in LA’s Little Tokyo: Conversations with Alison De La Cruz, Kennedy Kabasares, and Francis Cullado

In Los Angeles, Filipinos have a special relationship with the Little Tokyo neighborhood. In the 1920s and 1930s, Filipino immigrants formed a viable Little Manila district adjacent to the Japanese neighborhood. Little Tokyo was in many ways the heart of the Asian American Movement in Southern California during the 1960s and 1970s, prompting many Filipino American activists to work and live in the area. Today, many Filipino American leaders continue to head Asian American organizations headquartered in Little Tokyo, contributing to the cross-cultural coalition work established decades ago.  LA might have Historic Filipinotown, but SoCal’s Filipino American community can be found in numerous places.  Many Filipinos have built a vibrant center in Little Tokyo.

In this episode, Producer Mike takes us on a journey to Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo through the lens of its Filipino American community advocates. He speaks to Alison De La Cruz, Vice President of Programs at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, Kennedy Kabasares, artist and resident of Little Tokyo, and Francis Cullado, Executive Director of Visual Communications, the organization that produces the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Listen as they speak about the rich history of Filipinos in Little Tokyo, the importance of Asian American coalitions, and the legacy of the late Linda Mabalot, former Executive Director of Visual Communications and a pioneering Filipino American visual storyteller.

Pictured: Bill Watanabe, former Executive Director of the Little Tokyo Service Center and the late Linda Mabalot during the construction of the Union Center for the Arts, home to Visual Communications, LA Artcore, and East West Players.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

On a similar note, make sure to check out the 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival of which TFAL is a media sponsor. They got some great films lined up, particularly from Filipino and Filipino American filmmakers. You can check out the festival lineup here: https://vcmedia.org/festival.

Episode 80 – Filipino American History, Politics, and Cultural Work in Seattle: TFAL Talks to Dr. Pio De Cano, Devin Cabanilla, and Sendai Era

Over the next few episodes, the TFAL crew brings you some voices from the Pacific Northwest.  This past month, TFAL was on location in Seattle (and later Vancouver) to speak with some of the movers and shakers of the Filipino American community.

In our first installment, we talk to Devin Cabanilla of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) and long time political advocate, Dr. Pio de Cano.  We then speak to Rico and Mike of Sendai Era, a duo who met at the University of Washington (Joe’s alma mater!), and now document the city’s rich creative scene through multimedia videos on Instagram.

Seattle has a long Filipino American history, politics, creativity, and food dating back to the turn of the 20th century.  We barely scratched the surface in these episodes, but I hope the next couple of episodes inspires you to dig deeper into the rich Filipino American heritage of this corner of the United States.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Many thanks to Devin Cabanilla, Joseph Guanlao, and the good folks at Hood Famous Bakeshop (Geo and Chera) for your warm hospitality in the International District!

Episode 79 – Gio-Stories: Three Tales about Filipino America by Giovanni Ortega

In this TFAL episode, we switch gears a bit and give you a few literary works in audio form by Giovanni Ortega, multi-disciplinary artist, writer, and teacher. Giovanni joins the TFAL podcast and shares his upbringing as a 1.5 generation Filipino American from Chicago. He then gives us three short stories from different Filipino American experiences. The first is an excerpt from the play, ALLOS, a story about writer Carlos Bulosan. The second story is about life as a young Pinoy soldier in the U.S. military. Finally, the last story depicts the struggles of a Filipina migrant working overseas. We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

 

Do you have an audio story to share?  Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

Episode 78 – Filipino American Karaoke Culture

Filipinos and karaoke go together like peanut butter and jelly, like peas and carrots, like green mangoes and bagoong. Karaoke is essential to every Filipino party and every late night Filipino beer house.  We perform karaoke in the swankiest KTV room to the local roadside hole in the wall.  Filipinos even kill each other over karaoke!  Though the first karaoke machine was invented by Daisuke Inoue in 1975, did you know that it was a Filipino, Roberto Del Rosario, who holds the first patent on a karaoke system he developed in 1975, the Karaoke Sing-Along System?  Yes, karaoke is in the Filipino blood.

In this TFAL episode, we finally discuss karaoke, the beloved Filipino pastime.  We discuss what makes a good karaoke song, what’s a good karaoke playlist, and why performance and atmosphere – whether on a night out or in the living room – is so important.  We also talk about funny cultural nuances that make Filipino and Filipino American karaoke jam sessions so unique.  And of course, there is actual singing involved.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

What’s your favorite karaoke jam?  Do you have a memorable moment that involves karaoke?  Drop us a line on our voicemail (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com!

In the Belly of the Eagle: Man@ng is Deity Reminds Filipino Americans of Their Important Past

“Everybody doesn’t have to be a hero; everybody doesn’t have to be famous. Each person who’s Filipino American, to me, is very, very important as a story… Our stories are really in our people. It’s not so much in what the achievements are…as much as what is the story itself.” – the late Fred Cordova, co-founder of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS)

Everyone Filipino American has a story. Certainly, those who came before us had stories. Descendants of the Manong generation and students of Filipino American history may recall the history of the thousands of Filipinos who traversed the Pacific Ocean to make life in Depression-era America. During their heyday between the 1920s and 1960s, many Filipino Americans of this generation spent their lives picking fruits and vegetables in the Central Valley, canning salmon in Alaska, and bussing tables in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Mostly male, they came as laborers and faced the harsh reality of racism, anti-miscegenation, and poverty. Yet, they lived out more meaningful lives. Despite their bleak situation, these young pioneers shined in taxi dance halls, led labor strikes, built fraternal bonds, raised families, and developed long-lasting institutions. The Manong generation forged a community and identity lasting decades. Theirs is a story that too few know and remember.

Alleluia Panis pays tribute to the Manong generation and fights for their memory in her latest innovative work, In the Belly of the Eagle: Man@ng is Deity. The multimedia dance performance centers on Manong Valentino Pablo who, in his deathbed, experiences flashbacks of his earlier days in early 20th century San Francisco. Through dance performances, original music by Joshua Icban, and media art by Wilfred Galila, Man@ng is Deity communicates both the struggles and joys Pablo and so many of his contemporaries faced during their lifetimes. Through it all, Panis captures the resiliency of this increasingly forgotten generation of Filipino Americans, something in which all people – Filipino or not – can find inspiration.

Man@ng is Deity is truly a testament to Panis’ artistic creativity, passion for inclusion, and commitment to the Filipino American community. Like the Manong generation, Panis is a pioneer in her own right. For over three decades, Panis has contributed to the arts canon with more than 20 full-length collaborative dance theater works presented on stages throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her work precedes and inspires this current age of #GoldOpen and #MyYellowFaceStory, when present-day audiences are voting with their money and demanding more diverse representation in the arts sector.

Panis joins many Filipino Americans – from Carlos Bulosan to Dorothy and Fred Cordova to Dawn Mabalon – in expanding the body of work of telling the Manong generation’s story. While so much of our Filipino American narrative points to our present day struggles of erasure and invisibility, we must not do the same to those who came before us. Filipino American history is vast; more than we realize. We must remember and honor it. Alleluia Panis’ Man@ng is Deity just does that.

 

In the Belly of the Eagle: Man@ng is Deity premieres March 22-24 at Bindlestiff Studios, 185 6th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.

 

SHOWTIMES

March 22 & 23 at 7:30pm

March 24 at 2:30pm

TICKETS

$20 in advance

$25 at the door

For tickets go to http://manongisdeity.eventbrite.ca.

About Kularts:

Founded in 1985, Kulintang Arts, Inc., now known popularly as Kularts, is the premier presenter of contemporary and tribal Pilipino arts in the United States. Through three decades of service, Kularts has grown into a leading elder arts organization, uniting generations of artists and community activists in a common effort to build a collective space and sense of belonging within San Francisco, specifically the SOMA Pilipinas: Filipino Cultural Heritage District. Kularts creates work that makes visible the contributions of Pilipino Americans and creates room for cultural continuity and knowledge.

About Bindlestiff Studio:

Bindlestiff Studio cultivates artists who reflect and celebrate the diverse values, traditions, and histories of Pilipino and Filipino American cultures through bold artistic expression and community engagement. Originally opened in 1989, Bindlestiff became the only permanent, community-based performing arts venue in the nation dedicated to showcasing emerging Filipino American and Pilipino artists. The studio provides the often under-served Filipino American community access to diverse offerings in theatrical productions, music and film festivals, workshops in directing, production, acting, stand-up comedy, and writing, as well as a children and youth theater program.

About Alleluia Panis:

Alleluia Panis has received awards for her choreography from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, California Arts Council, New Langton Arts, and Creative Work Fund. She has created over twenty full-length dance theater works since 1985, which have been performed on main stages in the United States, Europe and Asia, including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Singapore Arts Festival, and Verona Arts Fest – Italy. Her work was recently nominated for two Isadora Duncan Awards in ‘Outstanding Achievement in Performance’, and ‘Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design, for ‘Incarcerated 6×9’ (2018).

About Wilfred Galila:

Wilfred Galila makes use of a variety of media for storytelling and art making. His films have been screened at the 23rd and 26th annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. As a media artist, he has collaborated with dance artist Alleluia Panis on the multimedia dance theater productions She, Who Can See (2015) and Incarcerated 6×9 (2018, nominated for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design – Isadora Duncan Dance Awards), as well as the dance film She, Who Can See (2017) that was screened at CAAMFest in 2018. Galila is mounting a multimedia art installation piece as a commissioned artist by Kularts for the Postcolonial Survival Toolkit exhibition and series of events at The Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco in May 2019.

About Joshua Icban:

Joshua Icban is a composer based in Vallejo, California. As a creator, his work focuses on the intrinsic relationship between memory, history and identity. Josh is also a regularly performing guitarist who plays in a number of projects and groups in the Bay Area. Past credits include the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco State Gospel Choir, Afro-Cuban Ensemble He has served as composer/arranger & music director for Awesome Orchestra and Bindlestiff Studios and has had his work as sound designer featured in spaces such as Counterpulse and the Asian Art Museum. He recently graduated with an MA in ethnomusicology at CSU East Bay and teaches private lessons in the North Bay.

Episode 77 (33.5) – Healthy Filipino Cooking: A Conversation with RG Enriquez of Astig Vegan

We talk a lot about food on the podcast (and in life) partly because it’s fun, but also because it creates discussion about recipes, deliciousness, and creativity. Filipino cuisine continues to evolve. Creative home cooks and chefs alike are more mindful about available ingredients relative to their geography and health benefits of delicious alternatives.

If you ask most Filipinos of what popular Filipino dishes look like, the majority will likely have meat in them (lechon, adobo, dinuguan).  Clearly, none of those are vegan, but are you able to imagine kare kare that’s completely vegan? Or having bagoong (shrimp paste), that’s completely made without any shrimp?  What would our health be like if we removed (even a little bit) the meat from our favorite Filipino dishes?

That’s exactly what chef RG Enriquez from the blog, Astig Vegan, talks about on this episode as she talks to the TFAL crew from San Francisco. RG is a vegan Filipina who re-imagines and creates vegan Filipino dishes. RG believes that Filipino food can be vegan, healthy and delicious without losing its soul!  Find out which is our favorite spice, why some of us have changed our eating habits; and join us in discovering with RG some Filipino dishes that are traditionally vegan and we just didn’t even think about it.

And, let’s face it – we just want our food to taste delicious, right? But we also want them to be healthy and nutritious as well!  Hopefully, you’re flexible enough to try vegan Filipino dishes and check out RG’s YouTube channel for some awesome recipes.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Do you want to eat healthier?  Are you vegan?  Tell us your story!  Call us and leave a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325), or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

Episode 76 (33) – When Filipino Pride Goes Wrong…

Most of us have some ounce of Filipino pride.  “Successes” by other Filipinos such as Bruno Mars, Jordan Clarkson, and Catriona Gray become “successes” for us.  Because Filipinos are constantly rendered invisible in the Western world, we tend to internalize these victories as our own.  But what happens when fellow Filipinos do something “embarrassing”?  Countless incidents in our past – Pacquiao’s anti-LGBT comments, Filipino divers, the 1992 Philippine Little League Team, Marcos, Duterte, etc. – have cause an unwanted spotlight on us.

In this TFAL episode, we discuss those moments that make Filipinos and Filipino Americans feel “not so proud.”  How do we feel about it? How do we handle it?  Does our pride remain incognito, then emerge when something goes right?  Are we simply out for global recognition rather than internal legitimation?  What does this tell us about “Filipino Pride” (nationalism) in the diaspora at its root?  Why is representing an entire Filipino nation our cross to bear?  We explore some of these questions and more in this latest episode.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

What do you do when Filipinos are viewed in an infamous light?  Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Episode 75 (32.5) – Pinoy Basements: A Conversation with Filipino American Actor Eugene Cordero

You might recognize Eugene Cordero from roles in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Wrecked, or the film The Mule. The TFAL crew love him as Pillboi in The Good Place. On this episode the TFAL crew chats it up with Eugene and learn about his path into comedy and improv. We also find out how he convinced his parents to let him go to college to study theater. And what goes down in a Filipino basement! For us California kids, this basement conversation was quite insightful!

You can catch Eugene currently on Showtime’s Black Monday. You’ll also be able to find him in TACOMA FD, a new series on truTV, by the crew that created Super Troopers.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Do you have a Filipino basement? What happens in your basement? What have you sold as fundraiser for school? Let us know by emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or call our voicemail (805) 394-TFAL.

Take a moment to watch the short film we mention in the episode ASWANG NEXT DOOR and the Spinning Beach Ball of Death prank that Eugene was a part of with Improv Everywhere

Episode 74 (32) – TFAL Live at Cinema Sala: Filipino Films with Marie Jamora

During the holiday season, TFAL was invited by the good folks at Cinema Sala to record a podcast episode live in front of an audience. As a first attempt at a live show, this mini-episode looks at the handful of Filipino films on Netflix.  Filmmaker Marie Jamora joins the crew to discuss films like Heneral Luna, BuyBust, and Bird Shot, as well as the state of Filipino film distribution outside of the Philippines.  Listen to our armchair, half-assed internet researched critiques of these films, our dark meat vs. white meat debate, and Ryan’s knowledge of bomba flicks.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

What do you think about the films that are on Netflix?  How do you watch Filipino films?  Let us know by emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or call our voicemail (805) 394-TFAL.

Big shout out to Marie Jamora for inviting us to join Cinema Sala!

Episode 73 (31.5) – Reflections on Beauty Pageants and Miss Universe Catriona Gray

Though beauty pageants in the Philippines can be traced back to the celebration of Santacruzan and other religious festivals, modern beauty pageants, emerged out of the Manila Carnival, an annual event during the early 1900s.  According to scholar Genevieve Clutario, the queen contest became a platform where both Filipino nationalists’ and American colonial officials attempted to redefine Filipina femininity and with it, the image of the Filipino nation.  Today, beauty pageants are a fixture in almost every Filipino celebration from the small town fiesta, to the ever-popular Miss Universe contest.

In this episode of TFAL, the crew, with special guests Gerlie Collado and Kat Carrido-Bonds, discuss the pervasive cultural phenomenon of beauty pageants in the Philippines and the impact of Catriona Gray’s Miss Universe win on Filipinos everywhere.  Why were so many Filipinos ecstatic over Gray’s victory?  What does her win say about the Filipino nation?  Why are pageants so pervasive in the Philippines?  Can we simply ignore beauty pageants as spectacles of patriarchal notions of femininity?  Or are there more nuanced aspects to such extravagance?

We discuss these topics and more in this episode!  Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Have any thoughts on beauty pageants? Leave us a voicemail at 805-394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

PLEASE NOTE: We are slowly veering away from the “.5” numbering system of the episodes, in case you’re wondering where episodes 32-72 are.