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.


Out of the Archives: Unhappy at Disneyland

The next few days will be tough to post, since I’ll be in and out of airports (and therefore in and out of wifi connectivity), but I’ll do the best I can. Today’s edition of Out of the Archives is brought to you by the Los Angeles Public Library and their collection “Shades of L.A.” Technically it’s a multicultural collection, not an Asian American one, but there’s a good amount of Asian American material in it, including Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Americans. I chose this one a) because of the sunglasses and b) because none of these ladies looks very excited to be at Disneyland (maybe one of them):

samoan women at disneyland


Title(s) Disneyland visitors [graphic]
Order Number 00003355
Filing Information Shades of L.A.: Pacific Islander Community
Shades of L.A.: Samoan American Community
S-005-158 120
Date [ca. 1965]
Description 1 photographic print
Summary Women and children at Disneyland. L to R Wendy Ah Soon, her Aunt Manufo, Jackie Wilson, unidentified girl.
Subject(s) Women California Anaheim.
Children California Anaheim.
Amusement parks California Anaheim.
Disneyland (Calif.).
Anaheim (Calif.).
Genre/Format Group portraits 1961-1970.
Portrait photographs 1961-1970.
Shades of L.A. Pacific Islander photographs.
Shades of L.A. Samoan American photographs.

Reference URL: http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics07/00003355.jpg

More on the Shades of L.A. Collection from their website:

In 1991, Photo Friends and the Los Angeles Public Library sponsored the project “Shades of L.A.: A Search for Visual Ethnic History.” The six-year project involved copying thousands of family photographs throughout Los Angeles, thereby broadening the LAPL Photo Collection’s representation of ethnicities within the city.

The contents of this collection are restricted to personal, research, and non-commercial use.  The Library cannot share the personal and/or contact information of the donors, their descendants, or associates who contributed photographs and oral histories to the collection.

Out of the Archives: Communal Lunch

Maybe because I started looking for pictures today while I was eating my lunch, but this picture caught me. So many perms! It’s from USC’s Korean American Digital Archive. It looks like they’ve got some bad links, but nothing that smart members of the general public, or a determined academic can’t get past. Look for the subset of the collection that features people sitting on fences: lunch at pharmacy

Title 17 at lunch in a pharmacy
Description Identification of the people in this photograph can be found here
Publisher (of the digital version) University of Southern CaliforniaLibraries
Type images
Identifying number subset015/photo001
Legacy record ID kada-m13937
Part of collection Korean American Digital Archive
Part of subcollection Korean American Archive Photograph Set
Series Marcella Lim
Rights © 2000 University of Southern California University LibrariesMay not be copied without permission of the Korean Heritage LibraryUniversity of Southern California.; From the photographic collection of the Korean American ArchiveKoreanAmerican Archive
Access conditions Send requests to East Asian LibraryUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA 90089-0154 or kklein@usc.edu.
Repository name East Asian Library, University of Southern California
Repository address Los Angeles, CA 90089-1825
Repository email kklein@usc.edu
Filename KADA-LimMa-002
Archival file kada_Volume6/KADA-LimMa-002.tiff

Reference URL: http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p15799coll126/id/16178

More on the Korean American Digital Archive from their site:

The documentary record of the Korean experience in America remains dispersed and difficult to access. The Korean American Digital Archive brings more than 13,000 pages of documents, over 1,900 photographs, and about 180 sound files together in one searchable collection that documents the Korean American community during the period of resistance to Japanese rule in Korea and reveal the organizational and private experience of Koreans in America between 1903 and 1965.

Out of the Archives: Archival Resources

Lest you think I’m a genius, I’m not the first person who’s ever tried to catalogue Asian American archives. These two lists detail physical and digital Asian American archives/archival collections. I’ll put up more as I find them, and eventually, make a resources page here on Movements and Moments. I have to, because I’ve posted it on the internet. And if we know anything to be true, it’s that no one is allowed to lie on the internet.

Note that many of the archives on these lists are not digitized. If you’re looking to access things remotely, or even figure out exactly what’s in the boxes, you may run into serious roadblocks. I guess that means you’ve got to find some travel money.


Asian Pacific American Archives Survey

The Asian/Pacific American Documentary Heritage Archives Survey is the first systematic attempt to map available and potential Asian/Pacific American archival collections in the New York metropolitan area. The project seeks to address the underrepresentation of East Coast Asian America in historic scholarship and archives by working with community-based organizations and individuals to survey their records and raise awareness within the community about the importance of documenting and preserving their histories. This website, by digitally bringing together descriptions of the often fragmentary and scattered documentary heritage of the New York Asian/Pacific American community, hopes to serve as a central resource for information about these surveyed hidden collections.

The project is a collaboration between the NYU Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives the Asian/Pacific/American Institute and is funded by a one-year grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council.


Asian American Archives Libguide

USC’s libguide on Asian American Studies features a tab to help students do research on Asian American archival material.

Out of the Archives: Arts, Asia, America

Today, Out of the Archives is looking at Art. Big A art, as in the artasiaamerica digital archive, which saves and displays contemporary art history. I actually came across it looking for Khmer American archival material, which has been difficult to find. There is some politics involved in the process of recording and memory, based on financial ability, the visibility of causes, and America’s  relations with countries. Is there not? Luckily, artsasiaamerica holds some of the work of Leah Melnick, a Jewish American photographer who worked with and documented the Khmer community in the Bronx, NY:

cambodian teenagers

Two Cambodian teenagers and friend

11×14 inches (h x w x d)

This image is from the exhibit “From Cambodia to the Bronx” at the Asian American Arts Centre in 1988. In the center of this image is the late Leah Melnick.


group portraits

Look how different the metadata is for this arts archive, compared with academic library archives! What? That’s not what interests you? But it interests me! Archivists, help me out! While I wait for the cavalry, here’s more on the archive, via the arts asia american website:

artasiamerica is a professional digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary visual artists. It is a historical image & document archive specialized in Asian American visual culture from 1945 to the present. Currently emphasis is on artists participating in Asian American Arts Centre (AAAC) exhibition program initiated in 1983.

artasiamerica is a high-quality research tool accessible globally to scholars, historians, curators, artists, as well as an educational resource for college and high school students, teachers, and community members.

In 2006, one of a number of grants from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) to cultural organizations in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown area post 9.11, enabled us to start the process of digitizing the first group of artists, chosen from over 1,500 files in the AAAC Artist Archive. This picture of the creative presence of Asians in the USA now sees the light of day and is accessible to a national and international public.

Launched in summer 2009, its main emphasis for the next few years will continue to be artists participating in Asian American Arts Centre (AAAC) exhibition program in New York City since 1983 to the present. Artists who have been key for AAAC in exemplifying the subject of Asian American art and the issues that embody the question of diversity in America during the past 60 years are priority for the selection process. artasiamerica will also include an exhibition history section that introduces a timeline of the history of Asian American artists and their relationships with AAAC in the past 30 years.

Out of the Archives: Filipinos of Ventura County

Today’s feature was a real toss up. I knew that I wanted to highlight Cal State Channel Island’s Filipinos of Ventura County collection, but I was torn between two very different photos. This is the one that won. Pretty cute, huh? Maybe I’ll put the other one up another day:

talaugon communion

Title: Patricia Talaugon Celebrates Her First Communion in Ventura, CA.

Subject: Patricia Talaugon, Paul Talaugon, Ben Dacayana, Filipino Americans, Communion

Description: Patricia Talaugon celebrates her Communion in Ventura, CA, c. 1950s. Top L-R: Unidentified, Patricia Talaugon, Ben Dacayana. Bottom: Paul Talaugon.

Publisher: California State University, Channel Islands, John Spoor Broome Library

Contributor: Roxanna Talaugon

Date: 1950s, 2012, 2012

Type: image

Identifier: CACAMCUC_139; ark:/13030/kt138nb0s0

Language: eng


Coverage: Ventura County (Calif.); San Buenaventura (Calif.);

Rights: Copyrighted

Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires written permission of the coyright owners. In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of gifts or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

California State University, Channel Islands

Consult owning institution

Collection: Filipinos in Ventura County Digital Image Collection

I really wanted to include the Filipinos of Ventura County collection because I got to meet the librarian, Ellie Tayag at the Association for Asian American Studies conference this year in Seattle. She and her team did a really cool job of working with local community members to digitize their family photos, saving that history for the families and the state of California. The earlier materials have also been made into a book. I had some trouble finding the collection on CSU CI’s library page, but it is available via the Online Archive of California or Calisphere, which has already been featured on Out of the Archives. More on the collection, via OAC:
The John Spoor Broome Library’s Filipinos in Ventura County collection includes photograph images capturing the history of Filipinos and their contributions to the community from the 1900s to 1990s. Collection includes images of historical interest for the counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles.
Currently, 200 digital images can be accessed online at Calisphere and Online Archive of California. Additional images will be made avaliable via our library’s Institutional Repository at a later date.