Two episodes in, and the North American adaptation of Being Human is uneven, but not without some merit. In fact, the show is less hemmed in by its’ brilliant British predecessor than by storytelling cliches on this side of the pond.
In a way, author and journalist Jennifer L. Pozner’s latest work was endorsed by The Learning Channel, without her even having to appear:
We have made it known from the start that Sarah Palin’s Alaska is not a political show. Sure, there has been plenty of conversation of Sarah Palin’s Alaska through a political lens — some of it on our blogs — but when the focus turns political the conversation goes off track. And for that reason we try to avoid conversations that are seen as being political wherever possible.
Over the weekend, Pozner, founder and executive director of Women in Media & News, and more recently the author of Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth about Guilty Pleasure TV, was invited, then un-invited from appearing on the channel’s Alaska podcast after Pozner called the series a “series-long unpaid political advertisement.” Her post and subsequent live-tweeting of an episode, Reich went on to say, “created an untenable environment tonight that wouldn’t allow for us to focus on the topic we both want to discuss.”
Translation: the call-in portion of the show would veer into flame-war territory, because Pozner’s analysis would have revealed some truths TLC and Palin’s fanbase weren’t comfortable confronting.
Over the weekend a reader asked us to take a look at Misfits – kind of surprising, since it doesn’t get the attention lavished upon other British shows. But, it’s been fun to list the show as one of my secret pleasures since it debuted last year.
I say “secret” and not “guilty,” because it’s been the kind of under-the-radar show that I hope remains out of the grubby reach of American media outlets. (By the way, if you’re a fan of Skins, my condolences to you in advance. But I digress.) Slight spoilers under the cut.
Eddie Huang is the owner of a Lower East Side Chinese/Taiwanese restaurant in Manhattan called Xiao Ye, which (if I think I understand my Taiwanese) means “midnight snack”, although Eddie suggests in the video above that it means “delicious”. By glancing at the restaurant’s menu, and by gleaning bits from descriptiong of the restaurant’s atmosphere, Xiao Ye apparently caters to the young (Asian American) club-going set, who’re looking for some good, home-cooked comfort food at 4 a.m. in the morning, after a night on the town.
And frankly, as someone who resigns herself to late-night IHOP (because nothing else is freakin’ open!) whenever she goes clubbing, the business plan is motherfuckin’ brilliant. I cannot tell you how badly I crave some pork potstickers, or some rice noodles with scaldingly delicious and hearty beef broth, after a night on the dancefloor and a few too many shots, all served in a place where the music just don’t stop.
Dear Eddie, if you are reading this, please open a branch in Tucson. Seriously.
Xiao Ye has only been open for a few months when, last month, Sam Sifton of the New York Times stopped in for a review. Although the review praised some of Huang’s food, the reviewer was critical of Sifton’s seemingly frenetic menu and hit-or-miss approach. He seemed particularly galled by the fact that Huang was — shockingly — eating food at his restaurant rather than cooking it. Since I’m used to Chinese restaurants where the waiters, kitchen staff, and owners regularly scarf down a meal at the restaurant, I’m not sure I get the issue. Yet, Sifton rated Xiao Ye a “fair”, which is the textbook definition of “damning with faint praise”.
With the current ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, the threat of global terrorism, and the never-ending negotiations and hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by all of the bad international news. That’s exactly how Jennifer Jajeh feels. And to make matters worse, Jennifer is Palestinian. Well, Palestinian American. Or more precisely: a single, Christian, first generation, Palestinian American woman who chooses to return to her parents’ hometown of Ramallah at the start of the Second Intifada.
Join her on American and Palestinian soil on auditions, bad dates, and across military checkpoints as she navigates the thorny terrain around Palestinian identity. Weaving together humor, slides, pop culture references and live theatre, Jajeh explores how she becomes Palestinian-ized, then politicized and eventually radicalized in a fresh, often funny, searingly honest way.
By Guest Contributor Jorge Antonio Vallejos, cross-posted from Rabble.ca
A drug dealer with a conscience, straight boys who jog naked at night in a group, and a hit-man who finds himself in a life changing ceremony; yes, there’s everything under the sun (and moon) in Richard Van Camp’s new collection of short fiction The Moon of Letting Go.
A member of the Dogrib Nation of North West Territories, Van Camp is one of Turtle Island’s (Canada’s) premier writers. Published in The Walrus, Descant and Up Here Magazine, Van Camp brings stories from the North to the rest of Turtle Island.
Just as raw, funny and intelligent as the characters in his other works, Angel Wing Splash Pattern and The Lesser Blessed, it’s hard to put down The Moon of Letting Go. Twelve stories in all, some connected via characters, places and events, readers feel like they are hearing town gossip straight from Van Camp’s mouth and want to get involved. At times, I wanted to kill the father who molested his daughter; attend the hockey games the town looks forward to; be one half of the couple who has great makeup sex; and meet the mysterious medicine man who has a town in constant fear.
Throughout the collection Van Camp tackles tough issues including the differences between Aboriginal peoples, dealing with mixed-nation relationships and the pressure to have children. Van Camp shows readers how complex humans are, that there is no black and white, that we can walk the good road while practicing the opposite and vice versa. At times the issues Van Camp addresses seem autobiographical: “I’m quite fair and often invisible to other Indians when I’m out of NWT,” says the narrator in “I Count Myself Among Them.” Van Camp, fair skinned himself, shows how not all Aboriginal people look the same.
By Guest Contributor Jorge Antonio Vallejos, originally published at Rabble
I remember being 14 years old and watching the media circus labeled “The Oka Crisis.” A fistfight in the bush between a brown man and a white man surrounded by white soldiers was played over and over for days on several different news stations. I identified with the brown guy and wanted him to win the fight.
It was primal instinct then to root for the person of colour who looked like me. As an adult who knows much more about the colonial history and practices of the stolen land called Canada that I live on, I now root for the Mohawk peoples as an informed ally.
July 11, 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of what is now known as “Oka.” Leanne Simpson and Kiera Ladner, have compiled a timely and important anthology called This is an Honour Song: Twenty Years Since The Blockades.
Filled with soul grabbing poetry, academic and personal essays, beautiful artwork, a short story and a play, Simpson, Ladner, and their 33 co-writers — including well-known contributors such as Ellen Gabriel (who stood in the front lines at Oka), and respected writer and professor Patricia Montour — provide educational pieces about the events of the standoff. They also take a stance on paper by sharing new issues that have come since Oka, and how it influenced a new generation of activists who seek justice in similar battles in their own territories.