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ASIAN middle america | second life | good asian drivers | life after 9/11 | DENGUE FEVER


the road
trip issue
They’re watching us. (p. 24)

22 Asians, Asians Everywhere:A visual 04  ditor’s Note
mapping of the cultural landscape of Asian 05 Contributors
America. By Lisa Yong and Wai-Loong lim 07 InterrogAsian
14 Recipe: How to Plan a Movie-esque Road Trip
24 Life After 9/11: Asian Americans reflect on 62 First Person: Race for Sale By Carol Duh
the change in their lives and communities since 64 Comics: Wind in My Face By Philip Tseng
the 2001 terrorist attacks. By Momo Chang

30 Postcards from the Middle: Asian TAKE OUT | Stuff to Take Home
American life off the beaten path.
08 W
 hen is a Shirt More than a Shirt?:
36 Solo Barnstormers: Graffiti, calligraphy Three companies share the adventure of making
and sumi inks influence work of mural painters. a difference. By Han Pham
Curated by Alexandra Chang

Cover photo: Patrick Gonzales Rafanan ( | Model: Mano dio Gracias from The Wildlife (
Styling/Props: Angelica Garde & Brian Advincula | Illustration: Lydia Ortiz (
For the past seven years, independent curator Alexandra Chang has immersed herself in Asian American
art, from writing for Art in Asia and Artkrush to serving as managing editor of Art Asia Pacific and co-founding the
Dream So Much artist collective with her brother Richard. So Chang, who curated the Artwell, knows of what she
speaks when she says, “For sure, the Barnstormers crew is definitely one of the most talented artist collectives out
there.” The New York resident says her most memorable road trip was zooming through the redwoods in a Porsche
to Monterey, CA, to pay homage to Steinbeck’s Cannery Row.

Gary Gao says he was attracted to illustrating the story on Asian American doctors-slash-authors because “it
wasn’t the usual ‘how Asian kids are pressured into medicine by their parents’ deal.” Gao, who lives in Mountain
View, CA, found the assignment somewhat challenging, but said he drew on some relevant experience — watching
all the seasons of Scrubs. His most memorable road trip (to the Salton Sea area in Southern California) included a
different encounter with anatomy: “Walking on the shore means crunching through a layer of bones” from dead fish,
the effect of rising salinity from the region’s agricultural runoffs on a giant inland lake.

Danny Neece, who illustrated this issue’s essay, recalled a 26-hour road trip he took from Oakland, CA, to
Oklahoma: “It interesting to see how religion became more and more prominent the farther away you got from the
coast of California,” says Neece, a California College of the Arts graduate. “By the time we reached Oklahoma I was
surrounded by 30-foot high crosses and tornados. It definitely was a revelation in epic proportions.” A Berkeley, CA,
resident, Neece’s clients include the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Trader Joe’s
and Ma’at Youth Academy.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha jumped at the chance to cover the Good Asian Drivers tour. “Talking
to queers of color who decide to make their own cultural institutions always makes me giddy,” the Oakland, CA-
based Sri Lankan writer and performer said. Perhaps this is because two years ago, she co-founded her own queer
and trans people of color cultural institution, Mangos With Chili, an annual performance road show. The author of
the poetry collection Consensual Genocide, Piepzna-Samarasinha also writes for Bitch, Colorlines and Make/Shift.

Working on the cover shoot took Oakland-based photographer Patrick Rafanan on a road trip to nearby hid-
den farm towns, where peacocks crossed his path daily and an angry cow almost charged at his van. The biggest
challenge was finding the right vagabond; the first person that came to Rafanan’s mind was Mano Dio Gracias,
vocalist for Bay Area rock band The Wildlife, who showed up on set already dressed in hobo clothes. “That’s pretty
much what he wears on a daily basis,” Rafanan said. “He didn’t take too well to us replacing his hobo outfit with our
pretend one.” He has shot for Vodka, VISION Magazine and OMAGIU.

New York-based Sokunthary Svay, a Khmer American writer who has studied the Khmer Rouge and their
influence on literature, found that the biggest challenge to writing about the rise of Southeast Asian-inspired bands
was “trying to be honest about my view of their music in relation to my feelings about Americans and their percep-
tion of Asians, particularly Southeast Asians.” Her essay on what she deems her most memorable road trip—her
family’s return to Cambodia was published in the anthology Homelands: Women’s Journeys Across Race, Place
and Time (Seal Press).

Sung Woo found getting into the head of his female protagonist for this issue’s Lit story surprisingly easy:
“Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up with my mother and my two sisters and didn’t reunite with my father until I was
10.” In fact, his experiences with his mother inspired this story. “Although I speak Korean well enough, I speak
and write English far better, so my first novel, coming out in April, will remain a source of mystery for my mother,”
SUNG WOO PHOTO: Sandra Nissen

said Woo, who lives in Washington, NJ. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, KoreAm Journal,
Pindeldyboz and Storyglossia.

Lisa Yong, who created the map of emerging Asian American communities in this issue, found the medium
particularly suited to this issue’s theme: “Personally, I love to explore the minutiae of info-graphics. Your eyes don’t
know where to start, and part of the discovery is like a journey — a road trip.” Yong is the driving force behind Y Vi-
sion, the research arm of San Francisco’s Y Studios (, where she helps Asian and Western companies
develop culturally appropriate design solutions and business strategies. She has previously worked with MTV Asia,
WGSN, Style Vision and Marie Claire. Compiled by Lisa Wong Macabasco


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