Margaret Cho talks about sex

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Emmy and Grammy-nominated comedian Margaret Cho co-hosts a new TLC talk show, All About Sex. We caught up with her and chatted about sex and sexuality, Robin Williams and homelessness, self-love, and the upcoming ABC sitcom Fresh Off The Boat.

CAAM (Center for Asian American Media):

Cho is also performing in the upcoming weeks in Sacramento and Nashville. She’s filming a special standup performance in New York City at the Gramercy Theatre on March 7. Check her website for more information. All About Sex premieres January 10th on TLC at 11 pm.

—Momo Chang

So, yeah, we can just dive right in. Can you tell me a little bit about All About Sex and what it’s going to cover?
It’s an advice show and it’s a talk show. And we’ll take questions from social media about sexuality. It kind of covers all different kinds of sexuality. My area is alternative sexuality—BDSM, queer questions, questions about sex toys. I have been in the alternative sexual community for my entire adult life and I served on the board of Good Vibrations, which is a really important sex toy company for women. And I have a lot of experience in the area of polyamory and alternative sexuality in general. So I’m there to field questions about that.

I’m really thrilled about the show. We have myself on the panel, a doctor who’s really knowledgeable about everything— Dr. Tiffanie [Davis Henry]—and Heather [McDonald] and Marissa [Jaret Winokur] are there to keep it really funny. We’re ready to rock. (See all the hosts’ bios below).

This question is a reader submitted question—Lauren Lola asks: What do you think is the most fascinating thing about sex?
I think it’s just so personal and it’s private. And what I think is most important about sexuality is your own relationship to your own [sexuality]. I think sexuality is always brought up in context of relationships but in truth, the sex life that you have with yourself is way more important than anything you would have with somebody else. The meaning of women’s sexuality is always kind of in relationship to men, or has been historically, but I want to separate that and make it about the individual and make it about establishing that connection with yourself, which I think builds a lot of self-esteem, it builds a lot of trust in our own bodies. That’s my goal, is to help women establish a better relationship with their own sexuality.

Could you talk about your other show, your standup comedy show?
My standup comedy show, I’ll be filming the special for it at the Gramercy Theatre in March. It’s a really a show that is about the way that there’s a rising tide against women, violence, there’s an incredible, terrible trend that I’ve noticed and it’s been around and it makes me really insane. The show is really about finding an answer and trying to stop it. And that anger is okay. I feel it and a lot of women are feeling it. And the show is called There’s no I in Team, but There is a Cho in Psycho.

Margaret Cho in 2010. Photo credit: Lindsey Byrnes.

I have a question about All American Girl. It’s been 20 years and it was a very historically significant show. Do you have any reflections on it looking back?
Well, I’m grateful to have been a part of it. I’m glad to have done it, I’m glad that it was a part of my life. I wish things that I’d done things differently, or I wish I had more control or confidence. But what’s great is that now, finally, there’s going to be another Asian American family show with Fresh Off The Boat. And that’s a show that I helped out a little bit with. I helped Eddie [Huang] out in the beginning and offered him some advice and I learned a lot from him as well. But I feel like with his show Fresh Off The Boat, my dream is realized. Like I actually set out to do something, and it finally got done 20 years later by Eddie Huang. So I’m grateful to him. I think the show is really great. I think it’s going to be a hit.

Nowadays, there are a lot of Asian Pacific American comedians doing their thing. And I think you really helped pave the way for that. What does it feel like seeing a little more diversity in standup comedy?
I’m really proud. I feel very responsible for all of them. I feel like they’re my children. Like I really feel this maternal feeling towards all Asian American comedians. I’m so proud and grateful that they are doing it. I feel like in my little part, I contributed to that. I’m so elated to have inspired people. So they can do what I did and take it so much further. And that’s the best.

Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for people who don’t fit into the mainstream? Anything you want to share with young people?
It’s great to not fit in. It’s great to be different. It’s important to be different, and I think everybody is different. Nobody is the same. We’re all individuals. Whatever you want to pursue, you should do it. A lot of times, especially with Asian American kids, we tend to put other peoples’ happiness or other peoples’ ideas about us first, which is why I think there are fewer Asian American artists because we tend to want to please our parents and please other people before we please ourselves. In truth, we can’t really do that. We have to just do our own thing and be yourself. I encourage everybody to be themselves.

I know homelessness is a big issue you care about, in part because of your late friend Robin Williams. Are there other social issues you’re really passionate about?
Oh yeah, I mean, many things. Before this, the last several years I’ve been working on marriage equality and I’m always about racial politics. I’m always about gender politics, and feminism is really important to me. Homelessness is an issue that it’s something I can directly affect in a very small way but in a gratifying way. So that’s why I’m doing this [#BeRobin] project here [in San Francisco]. I feel like what you say is one thing, but if you can actually do something to alter the situation, that’s really important.

Is there anything else—any other projects we can look forward to?
Well I think I’m going to be putting some music that will be related to the #BeRobin project. It’s like very, very connected to music to me. As well as a documentary about the events, which is really beautiful. I’ll be touring a lot, so there’s a lot of stuff coming up.

Thank you so much. Is there anything else you want to add?
No, I’m excited about this upcoming year. 2014 was really hard for a lot of reasons, you know, the loss of Robin, the loss of Joan Rivers, which was really devastating. But I feel like I’m so lucky to have known them, and so lucky to have them in my life and now it’s time to come up and parent myself. I feel kind of like an orphan but I feel really confident and strong and just proud that I got to know these great people.

 

Watch these cool Asians teach you some math

CAAM videos use cultural and artistic diversity to teach middle school math lessons.

Angry Asian Man:

This is pretty cool. The Center for Asian American Media has produced a series of short videos that use cultural and artistic diversity — and a little bit of ukulele — to teach middle school math lessons.The 2-5 minute videos were produced, written and directed by Kar Yin Tham, CAAM’s director of education initiatives, who says she wanted to make diversity “the central starting point” in the lessons.”The challenge was to figure out what math concepts were inherent in each artistic or cultural tradition, and how to best present them. To accomplish this, we collaborated with math educators, artists, musicians, and community based organizations.

Some of the collection’s highlights include:

Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro demonstrates the relationship between music and math:Fencing Junior Olympian Kaitlyn Tran uses math and division to show how she can win a match:

Graffiti artist Scape Martinez using math to plan how much paint he needs for a mural.

Each 2-5 minute video, part of PBS LearningMedia‘s educational collection, comes with lesson plans and activities, and are aligned with the new Common Core standards.

For further information, go here.

To see all of the CAAM-produced videos in the collection, go here.

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Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi to host a special 3-episode series “Japanese American Lives” on PBS

 

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Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi will host a special three episode series Japanese American Lives on PBS.

Presented by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), the programs will explore the “rich and diverse history of Japanese Americans with stories that go beyond the history books.”

The first episode Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful  will feature the story of Keiko Fukuda. She is the highest ranking woman in judo history, earning a 10th degree black belt. The episode is directed by Yuriko Gamo Romer. Fukuda died last year at the age of 99.

Check out this link:

Kristi Yamaguchi to host “Japanese American Lives” on PBS

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Time to pull out your Asian-American family’s home movies

 

Do you remember your family’s old home movies? The ones of your uncles’ childhood living room games and your grandmother’s 50th birthday on nearly obsolete 8mm, Super 8 and 16mm formats? If your family is Asian American, the Center for Asian American Media wants you to dig them out of their dusty boxes for a new project called Memories to Light. Launched in December, the project is a community history project of sorts. They’re asking folks to send in their original home movies, which CAAM will digitize and share in an online public archive.

Our mission is to present stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences and home movies are an unacknowledged, and yet rich, part of that history,” CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong says.

We hope to inspire future generations and connect them to the past and to the visual record of how earlier generations became Asian American.”

CAAM has released bits of the footage they’ve collected so far, and they provide a wonderful glimpse at the past. Learn more about how you can participate at CAAM’s website.