Hey there!

Friday marks the first of June, and I am so looking forward to summer! Cold weather is for the birds. June is also the month of my birthday, yes! Many of my close girlfriends are Gemini too, but I cannot find many who are in the year of the Dog though. Not like I connect with all under my star sign - Newt Gingrich is Gemini too. Ew.

So 2 nights ago I was reminded of my "foreigner status," even though I was born here and am practically as American as apple pie, that is, apple pie and chicken adobo. I was walking in the Lower East Side, during nightime, on my way home. I sought well lighted, populated streets through which to travel, but unfortunately, they were all pretty deserted looking. So I headed for one, and just tried to keep my wits about me. These 2 fellow kids of color were riding their bikes, and I suppose they lived near where I was because they stopped near where I was walking. I watched them closely, because I'm just ultra paranoid that way, and though they didn't make a run to grab me, they did start verbally harassing me. At first it was the usual "hey baby" bullshit. I ignored them, realizing there were 2 against 1 in this street with no one to witness, and who knows if they were armed. This was one of those moments I castigated myself for not carrying even a pen with which to defend myself. But I had my keychain. Then one kid says, "I KNOW you know English!" I stopped, turned around, and looked at them. The other kid says to the other, "Awwww, now she's mad!" and starts laughing. By that time, I was a few yards down. I just shook my head, put my palm in their face, and walked away. They said I was trying to be something I'm not, and yelled my way, "She's not that good lookin' anyways!"

What disturbs me about this is that these stupid kids grow up this way, and they become adults, and perpetuate this bigotry, in my case a mixture of racism and sexism (unfortunately this is the case usually with most Asian/Asian Am women), through adulthood and parenthood. Damn frightening. Do these kids actually think they're making the world a better place by belittling people they label as "other" or "not American"? Especially in a deserted street? The only hope I have for these kids is that some incredible thing happens in their life that enlightens them and forges through that wall of ignorance. But I'm not holding my breath, because I get this shit from full grown men too.

So I went home and made myself understand that their being bigots is probably the only way they know how to create any sense of self-worth for themselves. Though of course they're probably not even mentally conscious enough to even consider that. Just like most harassers on the streets, I find that if I speak up for myself, I am immediately the bitch. Whatever.

On a lighter note, this and other consistently racist and sexist harassment on the street towards myself and other women of color has again inspired me to create a new tee design. I'll let you know as soon as I'm all good and ready to put it up in my Emporium.

And I'm sick of being the object of hatred for shooting down spy planes (even though it wasn't shot down), bombing Pearl Harbor, and other "let's gang up on the Asians" bandwagon that's happening in American media and movies nowadays. Not like this is anything new. The anti-Asian thing has ALWAYS been here. But all this weekend, Memorial Day weekend, I was bombarded with trailers for the movie, "Pearl Harbor," historical movies, accounts, and television magazine stories on how the crazy Asians have always tried to break the American dream of apple pie and baseball. At least "Outer Limits" was on!

CSSS Has a Website!

By the way, the Campaign for Safer Subway Stations now has a website up! It's one of those free services, with sometimes not so gorgeous graphics, but it works for now. It's a good reference on what the campaign's about, and will soon serve to inform about what's going on with upcoming events. It's at csssny.tripod.com/CSSSny. And remember that the last CSSSny is case sensitive, otherwise you may not be able to connect! If you view it, please let me know what you think.

Bamboo Girl 3rd Annual Benefit This Summer!

FRIDAY, JULY 20th (not June 20)
3rd Annual Bamboo Girl Benefit
@ Asian American Writers' Workshop

Suggested donation $5
Raffle during intermission
MC: yours truly

I invite you to participate with my 3rd Annual Benefit Party! All funds go towards the next print run of Bamboo Girl Zine, #11. Come support the zine that's been around since 1995, confronting racism, sexism, and homophobia in their various forms, from the person of color point of view, particularly those of API/Filipina/mixed blood Asian heritage.

There will be light food, refreshments, and I'll be selling my latest issue, #10, as well as my tees and tanks with those eye-catching slogans, stickers that would make your mom cry, and those fabulously fragrant soaps from the Philippines by Annomi Soapworks! There will also be a raffle of a bunch of cool stuff, which will take place during Intermission.

I have a new night of events planned, and I'll be setting it up a bit differently. I'll be having another lineup of performers, though, that will be a constant! If you're interested in reading, featuring your performance art, spoken word, or otherwise, email me at bamboogirl@aol.com! I look forward to hearing from you. And check out this website periodically to keep abreast of this year's benefit as it develops! Last year's event was during winter, so I wanted this year's event to be during summer, when the weather's nice and inviting, and people are more relaxed. Hope you can come!

Bamboo Girl in Newly Released Book Anthology!

Finally, the book compilation, Young Wives’ Tales: New Adventures in Love and Partnership, has just been released. The official date is summertime, but I already received a copy of the finished product and it’s lookin’ fine! It is a wonderfully varied collection of stories from women who divulge their stories on their experience on non-traditional partnership and marriage, how women today are carving out their own identities as wives and significant others, in contrast to the whole notion that marriage is a terribly somber word that speaks only of tradition, is looked at as the long-term goal of every committed relationship, and is expected that you put your identity on the shelf once it happens. These are women who talk about same sex marriage, the issues of choosing a different name once getting hitched, interracial partnerships, significant others who practice different religions, pagan handfasting, the birth control decision, among many other voices. My piece was about being queer identified, and yet being in "straight" lifestyle of being married to a man. It’s really an interesting read in total. You can find it in your local bookstore.

Bamboo Girl "Express Yourself" Workshop Series at the AAWW

"Express Yourself: Exposing Your Hidden Talents"
with Margarita Alcantara-Tan

In this workshop series, Margarita Alcantara-Tan will be concentrating on artistic self-discovery. Classes will be explored at a beginner's level, offering direction and encouragement in the various forms of expression. Students will experiment with different genres of writing and focus on writing from experience. Topics include: freeform writing, poetry, performance art, among others.

Tues., June 12-July 17, 7-9 PM
@ the AAWW
$175 general, $150 Members
12 max enrollment

Wanna find out more info, or enroll? Call the Asian American Writers' Workshop at 212.494.0061, or email them at desk@aaww.org.

And lastly, this upcoming Sunday, June 3rd, is the Philippine Independence Heritage Festival (even though we're not all that independent from the U.S.) Hopefully it'll be more than food booths and meat market fare this time around. I know that there will be some Filipino organizations holding booths, who will most definitely be handing out literature, so at least I can look forward to checking that out.

First La Femme Nikita's cancelled, then Xena, now Buffy... what's going on?! At least Witchblade has turned into a series! We need to balance the testosterone somehow, and boot Sheena Queen of the Jungle back into Baywatch! Lara Croft? Looks promising...

Battle On,
Sabrina Margarita

(note: a reader just informed me that Buffy is not cancelled, but is just changing channels. Whew!)