Friday, April 11, 2014

Fourth Floor

By: Alysha Mancha, AARCCorner Contributor

So it’s just another casual weekday in my busy life. I spend it in the library, if not class and work. In college, people would think that I would have the special latte, clacking my boots loudly, and contemplating the next essay on my laptop. Sorry folks, I like to spend my time crying about my physics grade with other people…at the library.

Dawson Leery knows that pain.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Contributor Interview: Alzen Santos

This year's last AARCCorner contributor is with Alzen Santos, a UIC biochemistry undergraduate student. Today's also his 23rd birthday, so feel free to leave him some birthday love!

If you're interested in becoming an AARCCorner contributor for the 2014-2015 academic year or have general questions, feel free to contact me at

Friday, April 4, 2014

19th Annual Asian American Showcase: The Inside Edition

Michael Barin (left) and Kim Turley of FAAIM
Kim, Michael, and myself
In our industrialized climate, media is very prevalent in our day-to-day lives. Though media is an essential part of our daily interactions, it is important to note that Asian Americans lack visibility in the media and the arts. Often times, even when Asian Americans are given their time in the spotlight, they are superficially represented by embodying outdated and often offensive stereotypes. One such organization in Chicago strives to amplify the voices of Asian American filmmakers who are often hushed in the public. The Foundation for Asian American Independent Media (FAAIM) was established in 1995 to educate, share, and entertain individuals about Asian American culture and talent.
            Every year FAAIM hosts the Asian American showcase in the spring, and this is the 19th year that the showcase has been hosted.  On March 20th, AARCC brought in two key individuals who made what I anticipate to be a very successful showcase as guest speakers for our AARCC Lunchbox series. Michael Barin and Kim Turley are the co-executive directors of FAAIM and shared their insights on how they decided to change up the marketing strategy for this year’s show. They were especially interested in reaching out to college youth to come out to this year’s showcase. This lunchbox was extremely relevant and relatable to budding Asian American organizers who could use some insight into planning large scale events. In order to generate more interest, they moved the show from May, back to April. They have been putting in a lot of effort in publicizing this year's showcase, they even had a preview show and event at John Barleycorn in River North. 

The films that are showcased this year are powerful and inspiring; many of them are oriented around social justice issues. One film that stuck out to me in particular was To Be Takei by Jennifer M. Kroot. This film follows the life of George Takei, an individual who is well-known for his iconic 
portrayal of the character Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, but is now known for being a key activist in marriage equality. He highlights homophobia issues through his television interviews; many of them have gotten him viral attention.  This is just one of the films that is being showcased this year, other films include: Cambodian Son, Awesome Asian Bad Guys, The Haumana, American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, and Documented.
If you are interested in seeing a film this year, please visit the following website: The films are screened at the Gene Siskel Film Center. For many of the films, the directors will actually be present for a Q&A session after the show. Besides the showcase, there will also be an art exhibit that features many young artists, as well as a plethora of social events for those who wish to network with individuals in the Asian American community. To find out more, please visit the FAAIM website:

A Universe of Riches (and the Pains to Describe It)

By: Rick T. Reyes, RN BSN BA and AARCCorner Contributor

One of our farms

I discovered you can’t capture the wonders of the Universe with a net made for butterflies.

For example, my little cousins and I will frequently use my tri-mobile (motorcycle with side-car) to go joyriding.  They are 9, 11, and 13-years old, and they are my daily joy, worry, and sometimes heartache.  My favorite is the 9-year old.  She’s all little girl, and she sits next to me whenever we are at the table eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  That is, of course, unless she’s mad at me, which has only happened twice. 

My Tri-mobile, some family members, and a cow

Friday, March 21, 2014

From Dreams to Reality: Analyzing the Embers of Beauty

By: Alzen Santos, AARCCorner Contributor

Hayao Miyazaki’s “final film,” The Wind Rises, is very much celebrated by many film critics and millions of Miyazaki fans. The film is about Jiro Horikoshi, a Japanese aeronautic engineer (renowned designer of Mitsubishi A5M and A6M fighter planes) and how he persevered to achieve his dreams and found love even during the tumultuous and unsettling war times of the 1930’s and 40’s. The film explores a variety of themes such as the transience and beauty of art and life, war, industrialization, and the divide between reality and dreams. Miyazaki’s masterpiece is loosely based on a short story entitled “The Wind Has Risen” by Tatsuo Hori. Miyazaki’s favorite quote from this story is "All I wanted to do was make something beautiful” and it eventually became the movie’s iconic tagline. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Contributor Interview: Rick Reyes

The AARCCorner Contributor Interview of the month is with Rick Reyes, a graduate student in UIC's MS in Healthcare Informatics Program. Rick is currently living in the Philippines and blogs from abroad! If you'd like to keep up with and learn more about our regular contributors, you can follow the label Contributor Interview.

If you're interested in becoming a guest contributor for AARCCorner or have any general questions, feel free to contact me at

Friday, March 14, 2014

Increasing Conference Participation: The Call for Audience Awards

By: Jenny Korn, AARCCorner Contributor

I see you. The person in the back of the room with head buried into a laptop. I am happy that you are here, while I give a conference presentation. I presume you are live-tweeting, which is a norm for conferences in my field of communication. You are doing a service for folks who can’t make the conference because they can read your notes, following the conference’s hashtag. You are also generating attention to the conference, which is welcomed by organizers and presenters. And your service deserves recognition.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Letters of Legacy: How Cultural Dancing Became Legacy Work

By: Alzen Santos, AARCCorner Contributor

The letters “FIA” have been ringing like bells in my years for the past five years. I always hear people scream it out aloud to support a fellow FIA member, to express organization pride, and to uniformly express happiness. The letters FIA are imprinted on a lot of my shirts, binders, and even the posters on my wall. FIA has become imprinted in a lot of the things that I have done in the past: from dancing to treasury work. I have been a part of FIA (Filipinos in Alliance) for over five years and I have always performed Filipino cultural dances with them ever since my freshman year.  On Saturday, February 22, FIA hosted its annual “Battle of Bamboo” (BOTB) cultural dance competition and it left me thinking about the theme this year: “Embrace Your Legacy”

Photo Credit: Naomi Salcedo

Friday, February 28, 2014

Kay Barrett – Words, Wisdom, and Nunchaku

By Liz Thomson, Interim Director
Asian American Resource and Cultural Center

It had been many years since I last heard Kay perform. I saw him at Columbia College during a showcase of queer people of color spoken word artists. I remember taking photographs of him then; and here we were again. Kay was at the mic at UIC, and I was behind the camera.
Spoken word artist Kay Barrett on February 20, 2014

AARCC and the Disability Resource Center’s Culture Committee had co-organized the event called Disability Poetics: Migration and Transformation. This has been the theme for the year for the Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change. And last week, Kay headlined the event with additional student performers.

What I remembered from years ago still rang true – that Kay’s words were strong, passionate, energizing, and magical. He had a way of saying serious shit, but with a smile. He wants to challenge and disrupt, but also wants to love and be compassionate.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ang Love Story Ko: Filipino-American Perspectives on Dating and Self-Worth

By: Alzen Santos, AARCCorner Contributor

“Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?” has got to be one of the most notorious questions that are usually thrown around during Filipino family gatherings. It can be a fairly stressful question for me because for one, I’m not too open about my dating history with my family and also, my dating mechanics somewhat differ from what my relatives have taught me growing up. Also, the fact that I’m a gay, Filipino-American does not exactly fulfill my family’s ideal type of marriage. When I “came out” to my mom back in my sophomore year of college, the first thing she and I talked about was dating.
Initially, my mom had to sit down and relax for a bit because I’m the last person to receive her “dating talk.” My older siblings got the same treatment when they told her about their current “interest” in people. She told me that the first rule in dating is “DON’T DATE” (my mother specifically told me to put this rule in all capital letters) and that the second rule is to start with courtship, never pay for anything until the other person asks me out, and pick someone that is driven to accomplish their goals.