Friday: Clarence Jey’s Day

In the immortal words of earnest autotween singer Rebecca Black, “Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday…Today is Friday, Friday…Tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards.” The viral video sensation “Friday” produced by Ark Music Factory hit YouTube two months ago, and since then the video has received over one hundred million views and broken into the top track lists on Billboard and iTunes. The SF Chronicle’s Asian Pop columnist Jeff Yang interviewed Sri Lanka-born composer and Ark Music Factory cofounder Clarence Jey, who co-wrote and produced “Friday,” to find out more about this guy behind the song and his thoughts on pop music. Continue reading

The Politics of Courting a Community

CBC’s radio program The Current recently examined the politics of courting the so-called ethnic vote in the context of Canada’s current federal elections. The conservative ad embedded above, which opens with historical photos of the Komagata Maru and MP Nina Grewal saying “things haven’t always been fair for us, but the conservatives have always recognized our history…” is one of several ads–liberal and conservative–targeting ethnic voters. Continue reading

Royal Shaadi

Seems that you can’t go anywhere without hearing about the royal nuptials of Prince William and Cate Middleton. The wedding is only two weeks away on Friday April 29th. The date can’t come soon enough. And, accordingly, let the onslaught of tribute viral videos commence. (h/t Sugi)

Bollywood dancing for the royal wedding? Can it be? Well, it’s not so far from the truth – it seems that choreographer Sandip Soparrkar and his wife have been invited to do the last dance at the reception, a “Bollywood Waltz.” I haven’t seen to many waltzes in my lifetime, but I’m truly curious as to how they are going to Bollywood-ify it.

Are there any other Desi angles to this wedding? Have diamonds for the wedding ring come from mines in Sri Lanka? Is Bobby Friction DJ-ing at the wedding after party? Will you be playing a drinking game of “Spot the Desi” during the late night live feed of the wedding next Friday? Do you really care about this wedding? Or are you more interested in Rajiv’s beach wedding extravaganza to Vimi aka hottie Noureen DeWulf in the season finale of Outsourced on May 12? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Continue reading

Khan’s Calculus: Education for Everyone

Salman Khan is a hit on YouTube. But it’s not because he’s a movie star shimmying across the screen sans shirt to the sound of music–that’s another Salman Khan. This Salman Khan doesn’t even walk on screen in the videos he makes, which are filmed in his bedroom closet. He prefers to be the voice in the background teaching people about calculus, chemistry, finance and a range of other subjects.

His Khan Academy channel on YouTube has received over 48 million views so far. But when he first started making video tutorials, he had just one viewer in mind. Back then Khan, who doesn’t have a degree in education but does have an MBA and degrees in math and science, was working as a hedge fund analyst in Boston. He made YouTube videos to remotely tutor his cousin in New Orleans in math. Continue reading

Top Chef Masters: Coming Back to Earth

top.chef.masters.chefs.jpg The third season of Top Chef Masters is different and not just because it includes for the first time ever, one–wait, make that two–desi chefs: Floyd Cardoz and Suvir Saran. Instead of having about 20 contestants as in previous years, this season has 12, and pits them against each other in elimination challenges like Restaurant Wars that come straight from the original Top Chef series format. But as usual they are all chefs already at the top in terms of professional success, competing to win money for charities and the title of Top Chef Master.

Cardoz and Saran definitely have what it takes to make it to the finals, and they made a good showing in the first episode. It’s too early to tell which of the remaining 11 chefs will make it to the end, but after the first episode last night it is NOT too early to know that Saran and his quips make for good TV. What did you think? Have you tried their food?

You can watch both chefs introduce themselves below.

Continue reading

A Meandering Welcome to Lawrence Singh, Teen Boxer Extraordinaire

On Sunday night, my right knee gave out. Twice. This was only mildly surprising, since I was born with a bad right knee and I spent a year of college with it in a full leg immobilizer. The problem is, the Sunday before that, my left kneecap moved in a way that it shouldn’t, as I was ascending the stairs to my beloved cathedral while wearing the most glorious suede four-inch platforms.

That might be the single worst circumstance during which to injure your knee. Stairs? Heels? Hell. The pain was excruciating. I never made it past the narthex, which is where I collapsed on the first bench I could find. When the liturgy was over, I limped out of the handicapped exit and proceeded to drive a stick shift to the nearest CVS in Georgetown, where I procured a knee brace to hold my kneecap together.

Oh, the looks I got in that store, people scornfully glaring at me as if I were an idiot, stumbling around in heels when injured. Silly make-an-ass-out-of-you-and-me strangers. I am stubborn and unwise, but not THAT stubborn and unwise. Sheesh. So let’s recap: two Sundays ago, I hurt my left knee, and by the time I made it to urgent care, favoring my feeble right, it was too late– both were busted. And when they gave out this weekend, I knew that my Orthopedist might have underestimated how serious my injuries were. I swear, I have a point, and that point is, I am not very mobile right now.

Forget driving, I can’t walk without a cane. And that means that I am at home. All the time. Often with a boxing writer. And so I marinate in the sweet science, because, well, I have no choice. I guess there are worse sports to be subjected to, visually. Golf. Bowling. Drawn out games which involve bats and balls– of course, I am talking about vampires and testicles there, I promise. But I’m not that into boxing, despite said boxing writer’s endearing attempts to draw me in. He started (somewhat logically, given my mutinous proclivities) with Amir Khan.

Amir Khan is a British pugilist of Pakistani descent who is referred to as “King Khan”, or the “Pride of Bolton”. Khan is an Olympic medalist, and he’s a big enough deal that he trains with Freddy Roach; in other words, when he runs around, toning that lovely body of his, he might be trotting next to Manny Pacquiao. Perhaps you have heard of him? Anyway, I’ve seen King Khan throw stiff jabs and it barely inspired me to look up from the interwebz. Yay team brown and all, but it’s hard to cheer for someone who is prettier than and weighs less than me. I keed, I keed. It’s hard to cheer because I don’t give a tatti. Continue reading

Brimful of Music from Cornershop

Guess who is back? Cornershop. And this time they are back with a brimful of music for today’s #MusicMonday.

The song above is United Provinces of India (hmm, India’s anthem in light of the cricket win?) and is my favorite out of their latest. A couple of weeks ago, Cornershop released their 8th album Cornershop and the Double “O” Groove Of. Six years in the making, the album came together when the band met unrecorded Punjabi singer Bubbly Kaur. They were inspired. Her voice lilts through the entire album, acting as a consistent thread in an eclectic mix of music. This album maintains the unique Cornershop Brit-pop flavor and has pushed the envelope on redefining the ‘fusion’ genre while keeping it fresh and new. You can get the album now directly from the band’s online store right here.

Interested in a free download off of their latest album? Check out the link below!

It’s a comeback for Cornershop – for people that have heard their recent songs, what do you think? Continue reading

That Shameless Yoni Nonsense

It’s that time of the year again, and this year the delightful Micropixie has released a charming promo clip. I’ve included the translation below for those that may need a little bit of help.

“Mooni! Hey Mooni! Gadherini! Do you know I’m going to hit you? I’m going to beat you up, dirty girl! Every time I’m calling you and you’re not answering the phone!

And what is this “micro-bicro-bixie-dixie”?! You went San Francisco, you went to cut off my nose in San Francisco?! Don’t you know in San Francisco they have all those gadherini lesbian girls? What is all this lesbian stuff you’re doing, this Yoni Ki Baat “yon-ki-baat”, what is all that? Shameless girl, don’t you have any shame? [ASIDE TO HER HUSBAND: Hey Kaka, you see that girl she's going to cut off my nose did you hear this girl? She's opening (her legs)...]. Tell me, you’re not standing on stage with all your clothes taken off are you? Hai, hai! Who on earth will marry you? Who’s going to wed you?! How can you talk this nonsense?! This vageena, vageena-talking about your yoni ki baat gadherini? Hei?! You’re going to stop all this micro-bicro-pixie type stuff! Who will want to marry you? Which boy will marry you? Don’t you have any shame talking about all this dirty, disgusting stuff? As if one could ever talk about these things! Disgusting girl! When we were little we never spoke about this thing. What is this vageena talking-talking all the time? As if a vageena can even say anything, you brainless girl! As if, when you go and piss, you can talk with it! Don’t do all these things! Don’t you cut off my nose! Do you hear me?! Or I’ll give you one big whack. And make sure you phone your aunty soon… shameless girl!” [youtube]

The show was started by the South Asian Sisters here in San Francisco in an effort to bring a South Asian version of the Vagina Monologues to the scene. In it’s seventh season, Yoni Ki Baat has been replicated in cities all across the nation. I had the chance to check out the show in Los Angeles, but am looking forward to the show in San Francisco on March 5th and 6th. If you are in the area, I highly suggest you check out the show – but buy your tickets now, the show sells out every year.

Are any of you planning on being at the show? If so, maybe we can plan a Sepia Mutiny San Francisco meetup before the show…? Do let me know in the comments! Continue reading

Is Mandvi the new Cosby?

As a Desi child of the 80s, television in our household growing up included news with Peter Jennings, PBS shows and The Cosby Show. Think about it – as an immigrant Bangladeshi family during the First Wave (post-1965), my parents (and their community) were drawn to shows like NOVA and Jacques Cousteau to teach them about the sciences. They counted on Peter Jennings to get the news. It was their connection to assimilating and learning about their place in the world.

And The Cosby Show, well the Cosby family showed us how to be the proper brown American. It was a halal show with none of that kissing-shmissing thing that you’d see on the other television shows, except of course what happened between Cliff and Claire, and in our house my parents would have the remote in hand to change the channel as soon as kissing came on the screen. Seriously. This was how I learned to be an American – affection-less and model minority-ed (kidding, kind of).

Maybe, as Katie Couric suggested, all the Muslim community needs is a sitcom showing the quintessential model minority Muslim family. Just like The Cosby Show. Maybe the The Qu’osby Show. Aasif Mandvi takes a stab at creating a pilot episode and it’s blowing up the air waves on The Daily Show.

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Is that all we need, Katie? A television show to make racist people think that Muslims are less scary? There are two ways to look at this. First, despite all the “post racial narrative” that The Cosby Show put out there, at the end of the day we now have Tyler Perry shows on the CW with minstrel level scripts and C-level comedy. And, oh yeah, racism against Black people still exists 30 years after The Cosby Show first started. Continue reading