Slurp the City: NYC Ramen

Lucky Peach (by Brette Warshaw):
It’s 1:15 a.m. on a Saturday night, and I am standing in the entryway of Takashi. I’ve only been here for three minutes and the smell of the place—smoky meat-funk and pungent roasted garlic—has already embedded itself into my hair and clothes and esophagus. I may smell like this place forever.

Lucky Peach photographer Gabriele Stabile is with me. Over the next twenty-four hours, we will hit ten ramen shops. If all goes according to plan, we will see and eat and photograph and know the True State of Ramen in New York City.

At the moment, we are both one dinner and a few drinks into our respective evenings, and we’re getting nervous about the amount of overeating ahead of us. It’s still possible to turn back.

But then the hostess calls us in for ramen, and away we go.

Takashi, 456 Hudson Street, 1:15 a.m.

Takashi is a Korean-Japanese offal-focused tabletop barbecue place that serves ramen after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays to people who have had the foresight to reserve a spot a week in advance. It is a bizarrely urban type-A thing to do: to make a plan to eat something that you should probably be stumbling into spontaneously and drunkenly. I thought this late-night ramen death march was a good option for us—we’d get a few bowls out of the way, sleep them off, and wake up refreshed the next morning. Rookie mistake.

Our fellow diners are the kinds of people you’d expect to find at a reservations-only late-night ramen spot in the West Village on a Saturday night: birthday parties of beautiful people, girls with white-blonde hairdos and expensive clothing, banker bros. It’s loud and crowded and dark, and surprisingly fun.

Takashi offers two kinds of ramen: Original and Grandma’s Spicy. Both broths are made from the bones of all the beef that they sell during normal hours, and are dark brown, shiny, and studded with slightly chewy-crunchy bits of deep-fried small intestine. The spicy ramen comes with a big blob of dark red paste (some kind ofgochujang, I suspect) plopped into the center. Mix it in and you get an entirely new, spicy, more intense soup. The spice makes everything else in the broth—the scallion, ginger, garlic, beef—snap into focus.

The broth is delicious. The rest of the stuff in the bowl, though, is lackluster: thin, lifeless noodles, tough, stringy “beef belly,” an egg cooked too hard to surrender its yolk to the broth. We eat the soup part and get the check, which comes with two sticks of Doublemint gum. Pointless—every follicle inside and out reeked deeply of garlic—but a nice gesture.

We go our separate ways, bloated and sleepy, with plans to meet for breakfast ramen the following morning.

9:06 a.m.

No question: we aren’t making it to 10 a.m. ramen.

Ippudo, 65 Fourth Avenue, 10:50 a.m.

New York’s East Village branch of the Japanese chain Ippudo is notorious for its long wait. We get there ten minutes before they open, and there is already a line. By 11 a.m. there are at least twenty people behind us.

At ramen shops in Japan, it is typical for the cooks to shout “irasshaimase” when customers walk in—it means “welcome.” At Ippudo, they very enthusiastically engage in this tradition—not just the cooks, but the entire army of servers as well—for each and every customer. If you’re coming in with the initial wave of customers, this means that for the first fifteen minutes of your meal, the entire restaurant is quaking with the sound of “irasshaimase” over and over and over and over, a chorus that drowns out the thump-untzing of the electronic music over the sound system.

We order the Shiromaru Hakata Classic and the Akamaru Modern. Both are made with the same tonkotsu broth—tonkotsu being a fatty, milky-white soup made by cooking pig bones so hard that they soften and give up their marrow. The Modern one has miso added to it, too, as well as a puddle of inky-black garlic oil.

The broth is good. Of course it’s good: it’s a bowl of fat! The miso ramen is better than the original. Though it has more stuff in it, it tastes more delicate, more nuanced. But both are good eating.

The noodles though, like Takashi’s, are thin, limp, boring. After a few bites of each ramen, the charm of the porky fattiness wanes. If we finish these bowls, we’re goners, so we pay our check and amble on.

 

Misoya, 129 Second Avenue, 12:02 p.m.

Around the corner from Ippudo is Misoya. (It’s a difficult place to miss, thanks to the garish sign outside on Second Avenue done up in weird fonts.)

It opens at noon, and we walk in on schedule. It’s empty. There is harp/lute music playing softly over the speakers. It feels more like a massage parlor than a ramen shop.

We get menus that are consistent with the signage aesthetics: the first page says, “Welcome to the World of MISO, The Power of MISO, ‘MISO’ IS JAPAN’S TREASURE!!!!” Misoya is also a chain in Japan that specializes in ramen made with different kinds of MISO from around the country.

We end up going with a kome miso with pork—described as the “standard miso”—and a mame miso (“made of beans, dark-colored miso”) with vegetables. The kome miso is filled with porchetta-y pork rounds, corn, bean sprouts, scallions; the mame has a giant salad’s worth of vegetables plunked on top along with beautiful white cubes of fried tofu. We taste them both and are shocked: these are way, way better than the ramen at our first two stops. The broths are rich and round—they’re all made with a base of pork, chicken, and mushrooms—but they’re balanced, with enough acidity to make you forget you’re eating a bowl of fat. When I get to the picking-out-all-of-the-vegetables stage of ramen consumption, I’m delighted to find that each—cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, and others—has been cooked or seasoned deliberately and separately, not just tossed in a kettle and boiled helter-skelter. The noodles—curly in the vegetable one, straighter in the pork one—feel like they have a purpose. It’s difficult to stop eating.

When we get up to leave, the place is still empty. What a shame.

Rai Rai Ken, 218 East 10th Street, 12:45 p.m.

Rai Rai Ken made the list because Gabriele, who now lives in Rome, holds the place very dear in his heart; he lived around the corner for ten years, and he is sentimental. It is a block and a half from Misoya, so denying him this visit would have been cruel. Rai Rai Ken is also the oldest ramen shop in downtown Manhattan, so eating there has some significance.

I’ll spare the joint on Gabriele’s account and just say this: the ramen is reminiscent of wonton soup at a bad suburban Chinese restaurant.{1} Preserve your cherished memories of Rai Rai Ken by not eating there.

 

Bassanova Ramen, 76 Mott Street, 1:40 p.m.

The first note I write down about Bassanova Ramen, another New York outpost of another Japanese chain, is: “Dirty as fuck.”

The space is a few steps down from the street, and it’s simultaneously freezing and sauna-like with broth steam. The kitchen is completely open, so you can see the guys in hoodies (with the hoods up!) sloshing broth and tare all over the floor. As if on cue, a girl with a nice manicure walks in, sits down at the table next to us, looks at the menu, and gets up to leave. {2}

This is the first place we’ve been with tsukemen on the menu, and so we order yuzu tsukemen and a green-curry ramen. And then we wait. And we wait. The food takes more than an hour to get to us, and we entertain ourselves by singing along to the decidedly awesome nineties hip-hop they’re playing. Bob Marley comes on, and Gabri is singing along in his Italian accent, and I’m thinking that this place might not suck as much as I’d like it to.

Finally the food arrives. The green curry is both deeply spiced and spicy; the noodles are good; the little charred shrimp are tasty and cute. It works. (The only weird thing is a small pile of mesclun on top. That gets put to the side.) The yuzu broth is spicy and citrusy; the noodles are thick and chewy. In both cases, there’s real, distinct, deliberate flavor.

It’s slow and dirty and I spend far too long listening to an Italian man sing along to Lauryn Hill, but the ramen is not without sparkly oddball charm. I’d go again.

 

Ganso, 25 Bond Street, Brooklyn, 3:15 p.m.

In the middle of the afternoon, Ganso, in Prospect Heights, is half-empty and the temperature is pleasant and you can hear each other and it’s clean—a relief after Bassanova. The room feels like a Brooklynized Momofuku Noodle Bar: wooden bars and tables and clean, straight lines, without the noise and bustle of the East Village.

They have what they call a classic Tokyo-style ramen and a miso ramen, but we go for the weirder stuff: a braised-short-rib ramen and the triple-shrimp ramen. {3} We also order sake, which makes our sixth {4} bowl of ramen of the day go down a little easier.

The triple-shrimp ramen has a Southeast Asian vibe: it’s dark red and shrimp paste-y, herbal and bright and citrusy, with frilly noodles and tons of herbs for garnish. It’s unlike anything else I’ve eaten today, and I love it for being not-ramen ramen. Ditto the short-rib ramen. Gabri keeps calling it an Italian stew, and he’s right; you taste the braising and the drippings and that savory meatiness of an Italian roast, all made richer and savorier with miso. Both ramen feel new; both are delicious. Purists might deny that these are ramen; they are noodle soups that taste very good. But who cares! This is Brooklyn. We are being served by a cute blond boy in plaid. I don’t care about authenticity.

Lauryn Hill is back on the stereo, and we’re not ready to leave, so we get mochi for dessert. I eat it all by myself. It’s time to head back to Manhattan.

 

Totto Ramen, 464 West 51st Street, 5:20 p.m.

We try going to the original Totto Ramen, on Fifty-Second and Ninth, but the wait is forty minutes long. The original spot is a lot cooler and grungier and grumpier and more like a Tokyo ramen shop than its little sister, but it’s cold outside and we’re on a tight schedule—so we head an avenue west to the second location.

The vibe here is nonexistent. It’s swankier than the original place; it feels new and not worn in, with bad lighting and acoustics. There are guys next to us talking about David Chang, which I find funny until I realize that this entire place is filled with food nerds. I am one of them.

We get the paitan, which is Totto’s classic—it’s a super simple ramen made with chicken fat. It’s even thicker and more opaque than the Ippudo broth and the takeaway is the same: it tastes good, but after each bite, it tastes less good. I keep eating kimchi to try to balance out the milky-fattiness, and then I eat the scallion garnish because it is a vegetable, and then I eat the chicken breast slices that are dry and not at all delicious, just to get a taste of some sort of leanness.

It might be that I’ve drunk too much fat today.

 

Hide-Chan, 248 East 52nd Street, 7:10 p.m.

We decide, walking up the stairs to Hide-Chan, that this is our last stop. We are both swollen and puffy and unrecognizable, and we can barely look at each other, and my rings and bracelets are now melded into my swollen paws.

Hide-Chan is a little less soulless than Totto—it’s broken up into a few different rooms, so the whole sad, cavernous space thing isn’t as apparent—but it’s loud and we can barely hear each other. The menu comes and we instantly order the spicy vegetable ramen, because the photo of it looks like a gigantic salad. (We also order the “Original since 1963” ramen, because I’m trying to keep up the façade that I still have any interest in noodle soup today.)

The vegetarian ramen tastes like a spa. The original ramen has globules of pork fat suspended in it. I become preoccupied with the grossness of the fat globules and start hunting for the biggest ones. I then eat all the garnishes out of the vegetable one. The noodles in both are fantastic—skinny in the tonkotsu, yellow and wavy in the vegetarian—and I eat a lot of them. Gabri gets a second wind and chats with the group of Taiwanese video game programmers next to us.

I go to the bathroom and scream at the amount that my face has swollen over the past twenty hours. The time has come. We pack up and leave.


I set out on this expedition hoping that I’d come out on the other end with bettered knowledge, an idea of what kind of ramen worked for me, and a more expansive view of what ramen is, at least within the confines of NYC. To some extent it worked: I learned that despite its popularity, milky-fatty tonkotsu broth is not for me—I’ll take a clearer, cleaner soup any day. I learned that pedigree means little, and that the Japanese-ness of a place is no guarantee that the soup is going to be good. I wanted to leave the day in love with one place, the place I could take my friends (Misoya is that place), but in all honesty, I woke up the next day never wanting to eat ramen again. Maybe the takeaway is this: if you want to immerse yourself in ramen, do not immerse yourself in ramen. Step into the river one bowl at a time and let it gradually carry you out to sea.

NYC EVENT – From China to America: A Musical Journey with Tan Dun and Guests

Tan Dun
Beyond Chinatown:

As part of its Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion exhibition, the New-York Historical Society, U.S. China Cultural Institute, and Cultural Associate of the Committee of 100 presents, on January 10, an evening of contemporary classical music by award-winning Chinese and Chinese-American composers.

From China to America: A Musical Journey with Tan Dun and Guests features a performance and discussion by:

Tan Dun (谭盾 / 譚盾), “most widely known for his scores for the movies Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (卧虎藏龙 /臥虎藏龍) and Hero (英雄), as well as composing music for the medal ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  His works often incorporate audiovisual elements; use instruments constructed from organic materials, such as paper, water, and stone; and, are often inspired by traditional Chinese theatrical and ritual performance.”

Zhou Long (周龙 / 周龍), a Pulitzer Prize winner who “draws upon influences from both musical spheres to create unique and unheard sounds in Western music circles…[and] has been hailed for capturing Chinese timbres and folk themes, yet incorporating them with Western conceptions of harmony, chromaticism and angularity.  He also frequently takes familiar sounds and tunes, alters them through dissonances and thematic twists, making the familiar seem new and unheard.  Known to sometimes create “otherworldly atmospheres” in his compositions, Zhou Long’s compositions imbue listeners with a sense of meditative calmness versus soporific melodies.  Zhou Long is considered a pioneer in the area of combining ancient Chinese musical traditions with contemporary Western ensembles as his visions reach exciting and novel, yet common grounds.”

Chen Yi (陈怡 / 陳怡), “a Chinese violinist and composer of contemporary classical music.  She was the first Chinese woman to receive a Master of Arts (M.A.) in music composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. ”  Chen has won many awards and “was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition Si Ji (Four Seasons)”

Ying Quartet will pay tribute to composer Chou Wen-chung (周文中) who invited the three composers to the United States and Columbia University is credited as being a pioneer in combining Chinese and Western classical music traditions.

Photographer captures New York Chinatown in the early 1980s

© Bud Glick

 Audrey Magazine:

Twenty years ago, photographer Bud Glick went on a mission to capture New York’s Chinatown for the New York Chinatown History Project, which is now the Museum of Chinese in America. These Chinatown negatives were recently scanned and made into large prints to access online as well. Trust me when I say they’re a must-see.

s_c01_00000002

The photos were taken from 1981 to 1983, when a wave of immigrants was expanding the New York area. Glick’s goal for the project was to document this transition period. The change from a mostly male-dominated neighborhood (immigration laws started out permitting only males) into a burst of young families, community and culture.

s_c02_00000040

As Glick told The Atlantic, “It’s exciting to revisit personal work that I did more than 30 years ago and interpret it digitally, a process that allows me the ability to get more out of a negative than I ever could in the darkroom.”

I’m able to give new life to old work,” he continued. “More importantly, time has changed me and the way that I see the work. I’ve found images, overlooked in the past, that due to the passage of time have taken on new meaning and import.”

Henry St., 1982. (© Bud Glick)

To have these photos on the internet makes Glick’s work permanent. His intimate portraits of life in Chinatown — of immigrants as they celebrate holidays, communicate with each other, ride transportation and make a living — show a part of America that sometimes flies under the radar.

With the passage of time I see how my documentation of Chinatown life can both communicate what it felt like to live in Chinatown at that time and inform our current societal discussion of immigration,” says Glick.

Division St., 1982. (© Bud Glick)

Columbus Park, 1983. (© Bud Glick)

Funeral, 1982. (© Bud Glick)

Wah Nan Co., 46 Mulberry St., 1982. (© Bud Glick)

On the F Train, 1982. (© Bud Glick)

More photos can be found in Glick’s online portfolio. Since the release of these photos online, Glick has been contacted by people he photographed over 30 years ago, or by their relatives. Of the experience, Glick says “it has been wonderful” and he hopes that if anyone recognizes themselves, relatives or friends in the photos, not to hesitate in contacting him.

For the future, he hopes to continue digitizing the rest of his work and create a book and exhibition in honor of this project.

Apple Store SoHo presents “Meet The Designer: Hiroshi Fujiwara”- event recap

Chinese buy Waldorf Astoria Hotel and other properties in NYC

Waldorf Astoria
Beyond Chinatown:

Last month, it was announced that Chinese insurance company Anbang Insurance Group (安邦保险集團 /安邦保險集團) purchased luxury hotel Waldorf Astoria New York  for a 1.95 billion USD, the largest ever paid for a hotel and the largest single-asset transaction in New York this year.  Did they seal the deal over WeChat?

The seller, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. will operate the hotel under its current name for the next 100 years.  The new owner plans a “major renovation to restore the property to its historic grandeur”.

The US government, who has accused the Chinese government of spying (and been accused themselves), has espionage concerns over the sale.  It’s not just that Anbang’s founder and chairman Wu Xiaohui (吴小辉  / 吴小辉) is Deng Xiaoping’s grandson and its directors include Xiaolu Chen (陈小鲁 / 陳小魯) whose father, Chen Yi (陈毅 / 陳毅), was one of the Ten Marshals of the People’s Liberation Army, former Mayor of Shanghai, and former Foreign Minister and Zhu Yunlai (朱云来 / 朱雲來), son of former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji (朱镕基 / 朱鎔基).  The Waldorf Astoria is the home of the US Ambassador to the United Nations and hosts leaders and diplomats from around the world.  Of course the Chinese know this.  Deng Xiaoping himself stayed and met with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the hotel in 1974.

The acquisition of the property is part of a trend of Chinese real estate investment in United States that sees Chinese nationals as the top foreign buyers of property in the United States by value:

According to the National Realtors Association (NAR) survey, the Chinese spent $22 billion on U.S. housing in the 12 months through March — 72 percent more than they spent the year before. Among foreign buyers, Canadians ranked highest in the share of transactions, at 19 percent, but the Chinese bought by far the most expensive homes, with a median price of over half a million dollars. That’s compared to the $213,000 spent by the average Canadian buyer of U.S. real estate, $141,000 spent by the average Mexican, and about $200,000 spent by the average American.

In 44 states, they are in the top 5 of all foreign buyers.  The boom in foreign real estate investment is due in part to growing wealth, government restrictions back home to tamp down corruption and property speculation, a desire to diversify investments, and a belief in the stability foreign investments.  According to The Wall Street Journal,

Real-estate agents typically divide buyers into four distinct groups: the super-wealthy buying properties upward of $15 million for personal use; those buying homes for a few million dollars, also for personal use; those purchasing investment properties, usually in the $1 million to $2 million range, to lease out; and those buying in bulk, as a commercial strategy.

A Chinese woman is reported to have bought a 6.5 million USD apartment in the shadow-casting ultra-luxury tower One57 for her two-year old daughter.

In New York City, high-profile properties in which Chinese have taken a significant stake include 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, the General Motors Building (home of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store), and Park Avenue Plaza.   Chinese developers, who have learned to manage large projects from experience at home, are involved with ground-up construction of properties such as a luxury condo buildings in Williamsburg at 429 Kent Avenue (with listings on China’s leading Chinese real estate site fang.com) and in Midtown Manhattan at 610 Lexington Avenue. The Greenland Group Co. will own a 70% part of the Atlantic Yards (now Pacific Park), a controversial development project in Brooklyn that began with the Barclays Center.

Queens, where you may have noticed a lot of Chinese people live, has also seen significant Chinese real estate investment.

Sophia Chang talks illustration, women in sneakers, and her collection for PUMA

Image of Sophia Chang Talks Illustration, Women in Sneakers, and Her PUMA Collection

Designer, illustrator and self-professed Bun Queen, Sophia Chang has created an impressive portfolio in her short tenure. The Queens-based artist often look to hip-hop and pop culture in her caricatures, presenting simple yet compelling renderings that have garnered collaborations with the likes of Staple Design, Baohaus and Undefeated.

For her latest project, PUMA tapped Sophia to produce a collection dubbed “Brooklynite” — a bold repertoire that blends together PUMA’s technical designs with Sophia’s New York-inspired illustrations. Continuing with such motifs, Sophia moved onto footwear, designing an updated collection to the PUMA Trinomic Disc. In this segment, we catch up with the young artist to learn about how she interpolates her illustration skills onto footwear design, her views on women in sneakers, and UNDO-Ordinary Magazine — a platform she co-created that celebrates fashion and fitness.

 

 

How different is footwear design from your experience with strictly illustrating?
My college studies were grounded in illustration. I spent my free time mentoring and studying under some of the greats in the design industry. Since my graduation in 2010 I have expanded my practice to many different creative fields including graphic design, web design and art curation. Since I’m familiar with creating on different platforms, working with footwear was just a blank canvas to me (also I’m a huge fan of sneakers so my heart was in it too!). I was given the opportunity to translate my understanding of art and design (simple things like color palette and space distribution), and mix it with my personal interests in fashion. Cultural influences came into play as well. Being a native New Yorker I wanted to embody the flavor of the city in an apparel collection that would speak to a global market.

 

Has growing up in New York provided you with any advantages creatively?

I’m so blessed to be able to live and work in this creative hub. Of course growing up in this urban city has definitely influenced me early on. For my personal history, the cultural influences of hip-hop music, style and creative arts has definitely been a part of my entire life.

When I was studying in school and identifying myself amongst my peers, it was clear the talent to draw was there. But to succeed in the design market, you need more than just talent. You need hustle. You need a niche market that you can work in. I realized that my passion projects really helped lead me to my clients. When I say passion projects I mean non-commissioned work that I wanted to do just for fun. I love digging into New York culture and pop culture for my personal artistic inspiration.

 

Females in streetwear have been gaining a lot of traction recently, why do you think this is?

I believe it’s gaining traction because the internet allows for greater transparency. In a male-dominated market like streetwear, there is little room for women with talent to shine. Well, compared to women with a nice set of tits and ass. The internet as a communication tool allows women to show off their own accolades with little constraints.

You’ve worked before for creative companies/agencies and as a freelancer. Do you feel more creative now that you’re working for yourself?

Absolutely. It’s like how they say college isn’t for everyone. A full-time job with a system might not be for every person. I’m still young, and I still have a lot to accomplish. I want to take advantage of my time out of school to really test the waters. Struggle, fail, try, make attempts, succeed (maybe) and see how far I can take myself. When I am ready, I will definitely enter back into the full-time market. But for now, I’m just trying to see what I’ve got.

 

How do you ensure that you’re being pushed and challenged when you work for yourself?
I surround myself with people who push and challenge me. I’ve been blessed to be in a beautiful city, one of the hardest cities to work in as a creative. I’ve got a great community of people who support me and a lovely web community of people who criticize me. Even the living standards in NY is a good enough push. Trying to pay the bills and still cop the latest kicks!

 

You recently collaborated with PUMA on the “Brooklynite” collection and the Disc Blaze Lite line. How much of the project centers around sports/functionality versus lifestyle?

The collection itself is carried under the PUMA lifestyle collection. None of the designs really have anything to do with sport performance. However personally I live an active lifestyle and I am deeply influenced by sportswear fabrics. Select pieces of the collection echo designs found in technicalactivewear. The Trinomic Disc sneakers include materials such as neoprene, mesh and reflective stripes. These fabrics are often found in sportswear and in the event years, due to fashion trends, have made appearances in the fashion market. As a New Yorker who is constantly on the move from meetings, to the gym, to dinner with friends, it’s important for my outfit to be flexible for all occasions.

 

You have participated the UNDO-Ordinary Magazine project, tell us how it got started and what’s your main focus on the layout design and visual direction of magazine?

The UNDO-Ordinary Magazine was created because the marketed needed it. The founders ofUNDO-Ordinary are Robin Arzon and Nai Vasha, who built a global running movement centered around fitness and fashion. They’re both good friends and huge inspirations for me. We decided to team up and create a print magazine based on their ethos. The vision was clear. It’s a lifestyle we all live. Art, fashion, health, charity, living without walls. We all brought our strengths to the table to compose the book. I have experience in print design, Nai is an amazing visionary, and Robin is one of the best copy writers I know. We joined forces like Voltron and created because we wanted to. We reached out to our community of artists, photographers, stylists and writers to join us in our journey. No client, no commission – we created our own path, our own direction. Thanks to Without Walls to sponsored our book, we were able to print our magazines. We are proud to announce that the book is available globally in various boutiques. And yes, there’s more issues on the way.

 

What do you think of the trend of women styled in cool sneaker designs? 

I don’t think it’s new at all. I’ve been mixing female fashion with sneakers my entire life. I was never much of a “shoes” girl. It’s only during these recent years that I’ve noticed there are other out there thanks to the internet. It’s amazing that we can all connect because of our interests and hobbies. It’s still a bit of a shock to me but I love seeing it and I find it very encouraging especially when women are posting my PUMA sneakers!

 

A few years ago we did a successful “A Day with Sophia Chang” editorial. Three years on, how has your daily life changed? 

Wow! Where to begin? Nowadays I pretty much have the same schedule. I’ve always been very organized and schedule days for meetings and certain days for just working at home. In the recent years I’ve been traveling a lot more for work which has been a huge blessing. I’m happy that my client base is expanding and turning global.

 

Possible to share any cool projects coming up from your side?
I’ll leave it as a surprise. Stay tuned via my Instagram @esymai.

 

Image of Sophia Chang Talks Illustration, Women in Sneakers, and Her PUMA Collection

Image of Sophia Chang Talks Illustration, Women in Sneakers, and Her PUMA Collection

Image of Sophia Chang Talks Illustration, Women in Sneakers, and Her PUMA Collection

Image of Sophia Chang Talks Illustration, Women in Sneakers, and Her PUMA Collection

Image of Sophia Chang Talks Illustration, Women in Sneakers, and Her PUMA Collection

Image of Sophia Chang Talks Illustration, Women in Sneakers, and Her PUMA Collection

“Ai Wei Wei: The Seed”- A new multimedia spoken word performance mash-up at the Brooklyn Museum

Angry Asian Man:

If you’re in New York City, you’re invited to a new multimedia performance next week in Brooklyn… Ai Wei Wei: The Seed is a live music, video, dance and spoken word performance mash-up about the early roots of political artist Ai Wei Wei and his emergence as one of the world’s foremost artists and thinkers. 

The show goes up Thursday, July 24 at the Brooklyn Museum. The creative team behind the performance includes some of our friends, like Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai (Creative Direction, Spoken Word, Video), Jessica Chen (Choreography), Jason Kao Hwang (Music), Adriel Luis (Spoken Word, Video, Music), and Kit Yan (Spoken Word).

Here are some more details about the performance:

 

Ai Wei Wei: The Seed

Thursday, July 24
7:00pm – 9:30 pm

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Pkwy
Brooklyn, New York 11238

AI WEI WEI: THE SEED is a live music, video, dance and spoken word performance mash-up about the early roots of political artist Ai Weiwei and his emergence as one of the world’s foremost artists and thinkers. The show tracks the artist’s life from his childhood in exile with his political poet father Ai Qing to his formative decade in NYC (1981-1993) as a street artist in Williamsburg and the East Village, where he also befriended poet Allen Ginsberg.

by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai (Creative Direction, Spoken Word, Video), Jessica Chen (Choreography), Jason Kao Hwang (Music), Adriel Luis (Spoken Word, Video, Music), and Kit Yan (Spoken Word)

Tickets $18 available via Museum Tix (http://bit.ly/TBZTLK) or Visitor Center. Free for Museum Members.

Doors 6:30 PM. Show 7:30 PM. AI WEI WEI: THE SEED will be performed in the Iris B. & Gerald Cantor Auditorium.

Ticket includes admission to AI WEI WEI: THE SEED performance, Ai Wei Wei exhibit, and all Art Off the Wall events throughout the museum including Asian American Oral History Collective workshop, Wildcat! dance performance, and a calligraphy workshop. 

For more information about the show, visit the Facebook event and the Brooklyn Museum website.

37TH ASIAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (July 24 – August 2 in New York City)

Angry Asian Man:

New York film fans! Here’s what’s up. Mark your calendars, because the 37th Asian American International Film Festival, presented by Asian CineVision, will soon be upon us. AAIFF is the nation’s longest running festival of its kind and the premier showcase for the best in independent Asian and Asian American cinema. This year’s lineup includes a total of 18 features and 33 shorts, ranging over 21 countries and regions.

The festivities kick off on July 24 with the Opening Night Gala screening of the documentary Sold at Asia Society, and continues through August 2 at venues throughout New York City. Here’s a sampling of some of the festival’s spotlight presentations:

 

AAIFF’14 OPENING PRESENTATION:

SOLD

Jeffrey D. Brown | 95min | USA | English, Hindu w/ES
Asia Society | 7:00PM | Thursday July 24, 2014

Directed by Academy and Emmy award-winner, Jeffrey D. Brown and Executive Produced by two-time Academy Awards winner, Emma Thompson, SOLD follows Lakshmi (by the stunning Niyar Saikia), a thirteen-year-old girl who travels from rural Nepal to the “Happiness House,” a sordid brothel in Kolkata, India. There she bonds with the other residents with incredible optimism, tenacity and camaraderie that enable her to survive. Adapted from Patricia McCormick’s globally acclaimed book and based on true events, SOLD sheds light on the brutality of the global crime of child and sex trafficking and seeks to raise pertinent dialogues.

 

AAIFF’14 CENTERPIECE PRESENTATION:

TRANSIT

Feature | Hannah Espia | 93min | The Philippines | English, Hebrew w/ES, Tagalog w/ES
City Cinema Village East | 7:30PM | Sunday July 27, 2014

When Moises, a Filipino caregiver comes home to Tel Aviv for his son, Joshua’s fourth birthday, his world is turned upside down by the unnerving political news: the Israeli government is deporting children of all foreign workers. An earthy portrait of the displaced – refugees, immigrants and foreign workers, TRANSIT poses the problem of subject identity, home and national identity in question that is distinctively relevant to the globalization of the present world. TRANSIT was the Filipino entry for the 2014 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

 

AAIFF’14 CLOSING NIGHT PRESENTATION:

HOW TO FIGHT IN SIX INCH HEELS

Feature | Ham Tran | 90min | USA, Vietnam | English, Vietnamese w/ES
City Cinema Village East | 7:30PM | Saturday August 2, 2014

Anne is a flourishing New York-based fashion designer with a seemingly perfect love life. But she suspects that her fiancé Kiet, relocated to Vietnam for business, has a supermodel mistress. Now Anne has made her cunning plan to infiltrate the Vietnamese fashion industry, and battle for the truth. The uproariously comedic HOW TO FIGHT IN SIX INCH HEELS not only satiates the haute couture appetites, but is also spiced up with hearty moments of love and friendship. Vietnamese American director Ham Tran and writer/producer/star Kathy Uyen team up to create this vibrant box-office hit that demonstrates the best of Vietnam’s film industry today.

Looks like Asian CineVision has put together another really solid program. For further information, including tickets, venues and the full slate of screenings and events, visit the AAIFF website.