UpDate: Iron Road Screening

Boston Screening of

Iron Road


Thursday, May 15, 2014

7:00 pm

The Modern Theatre at Suffolk University

525 Washington St.

Boston, MA  02111


A story of disguise and forbidden love, set against the building of the railroad


Dir. David Wu | Canada | 2009 | 95 min | Drama

Starring Peter O’Toole, Sam Neill, Sun Li, Luke MacFarlane, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Kenneth Mitchell, Gau Yun Xiang. Producers, Raymond Massey, Anne Tait,Arnie Zipursky, Barry Pearson


Iron Road follows the journey of Little Tiger (Sun Li), a child whose quest for her long-lost father takes her from a fireworks factory in China to a remote construction camp in the Rockies. Lured by the myth of ‘Gum San’ – Gold Mountain – she and her countrymen travels to Canada by the thousands to do the back-breaking work of blasting through the mountains to lay track. She soon learns that railroads only bring fortune to the few and that every mile of track is purchased with fear and death. As treachery and prejudice threaten her, Little Tiger must use her wits and courage to fulfill her quest and honor her friends who died in this foreign land.


This screening honors the 145th anniversary of the joining of the Transcontinental Railroad.  A conversation with Ronald Eng Young, grandson of a Chinese railroad worker, follows the screening.



$8 General Admission

$5 Students with ID

Free for AARW & CHSNE Members

Free for Suffolk Students & Faculty with ID

Purchase tickets at: www.baaff.org/iron-road


Presented by the Boston Asian American Film Festival

Co-presented by the Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE), Rosenberg Institute for East Asian Studies/Suffolk University, and Bridgewater State University


APA May Round Up

It’s almost May! And that means its almost Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! What’s good this month?



  1. The Smithsonian APA Center has things going on, of course. I’m most excited to  commemorate the completion of the transcontinental railroad May 10 by joining their APA Wikipedia edit-a-thon because I like my secondary research. If you’re more on the content creation than the content curation side of things, maybe you’ll be more interested in joining A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America. Same day, but you record a snapshot of your APA reality and it becomes part of a larger curated exhibit.
  2. The #WeNeedDiverseBooks group is hosting social medical events May 1, 2, and 3 to talk about why we need diverse books. They cover a range of diverse identities and embodiments beyond APA (i.e. why its so important to have deaf characters in books), but it’s great timing, no? Head to their Tumblr to coordinate your content with theirs across Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook.
  3. Less than 3% of historic sites represent diversity of American history. You can help save one! Huntington Beach, CA is deciding what to do with a group of Japanese American pioneer buildings, including the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission.


In Boston

  1. Watch Boston’s only female Taiko drum corps at the Brookline Matsuri Festival on Saturday May 10. The Genki Spark aims to promote and support the voice and visibility of Asian women while advocating respect for all. In addition to their performance, you can expect several other taiko groups, plenty of food, and kid friendly activities. This is definitely the “heritage” part of the month.
  2. Watch Iron Road with the Boston Asian American Film Festival. It’s the story of a  poor but feisty Chinese woman, disguised as a boy, joins the railroad crew in the Rocky Mountains to search for her long-lost father, and falls in love with the son of the railroad tycoon. If an Asian woman falling in love with a white man who’s part of the community exploiting her people sounds problematic, there’s only one way to confirm– watching it. (That’s actually a terrible argument.) Time and place TBA.


In Other Places

  1. The LA Asian Film Festival is May 1-11, 2014. As usual, there’s a mix of domestic and international films meant to remember, honor, inspire, and entertain.


Get pumped.


The 5th Anniversary Edition of BAAFF

That’s the Boston Asian American Film Festival. I’ve always had fun at BAAFF, when I’ve been able to go, but it always felt like a cool, home-grown, local-as-all-hell kind of an event. So you can imagine my shock when I went to the website to check out this year’s line up and saw…

1) A drawing by Tak Toyishima, the man behind Secret Asian Man!

2) A special appearance by Ang Lee!


What? I might just have to find a way to be in Boston that weekend, to see how crazy this festival has grown. Check out the full lineup here.

RACE Exhibit Comes to Seattle

The RACE: Are We So Different exhibit is coming to the Seattle Pacific Science Center September 28, 2013 – January 5, 2014. To tie in with the exhibit, the city of Seattle is offering a series of workshops and speakers for individuals and groups interested in visiting the exhibit and creating a conversation about race and racial equity. You can find out more here.

You can find my reflections on the Boston installation of the exhibit, here.

So often, when I visit exhibits, watch films, or read articles about race I think “Well, that’s not groundbreaking news…”. It’s easy to start tuning things out because they sound similar to the things we’ve heard before. I find myself doing the same thing with Christian sermons– thinking “I’ve already heard that. I already KNOW that, so it doesn’t really apply to me”. But that kind of thinking misses the point. Why should the truth change?

And Now I Wish I Were in Boston

The MFA has a new exhibit up showcasing photographs by Arab women, speaking to the lives of Arab women. As we stand in a sea of bloody images coming out of Egypt and Syria, and on the brink of the possibility of war, let us take the time to remember that we are talking about societies full of human beings full of stories and histories and dreams.



Bullet Revisited #3. 2012. By Lalla Assia Essaydi.


The show, She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers From Iran and the Arab World, opens at the Museum of Fine Arts on Tuesday and runs through Jan. 12, 2014. You can also check out some of the photos on theweek.com.

Joe Bataan at Yoshi’s Oakland

I wish I could be here:


From Yoshi’s website:

Boogaloo, Latin Soul, Rhythm and Blues, Salsa, Disco, Latin Funk, Latin R&B Latin Jazz, Rap …. What didn’t Joe Bataan sing? Joe Bataan was born and raised in Spanish Harlem (East Side of Manhattan New York) in 1942 to an African-American mother and Filipino father. His given name was Bataan Nitollano…

…Self taught on the piano, he organized his first band in 1965 and scored his first recording success in 1967 with ” Gypsy Woman ” on Fania Records. ” Gypsy Woman ” crossed over to R&B radio along with ” Subway Joe ” The title track of Gypsy Woman was first aired by radio DJ Dick “Ricardo” Sugar, became an instant hit in New York’s Latin community. Ironically, Mr. Bataan had initially written the song ” Gypsy Woman” with Spanish lyrics for the band’s co-lead vocalist Joe Pagan to perform. It didn’t seem to work, so he started singing the song himself in English at gigs and received an enthusiastic reaction. The late George Goldner, boss of the Cotique label (a rival of Fania at the time), disapproved of Bataan’s rendition and advised him against recording it. Clearly, Joe’s refusal to take this advice proved to be the sounder judgment.

Filipino American Heritage Timeline

Art and civil rights? An art exhibit of the past 100 years of Filipino (American) history. Just one more way to celebrate Filipino American Heritage Month. Check it out at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, next Wednesday through December. Or help them kick off the event next Wednesday:

We Are American: Resilience and Resistance

Exhibit Opening Reception
Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Time: 6:00pm-8:30pm
Location: Oakland Asian Cultural Center Lobby & Exhibit