I feel a slow but steady awakening happening these last weeks—like I am finally rested and restored and once again ready to use my whole self.
On 09/13, I attended a 40th anniversary celebration for VP Records at the Museum of Chinese in America at the invitation of VP President Randy Chin. I'd met Randy almost a decade ago, when I traveled to Jamaica, Queens to interview his mother Patricia (co-founder of the company) and brother Clive (a renowned dub producer) for a documentary I was working on about the outsized role Chinese-Jamaicans played in the history of Jamaican music. Sadly, the documentary was finished but never released, and my collaborator basically ghosted on me without ever giving me a copy of the footage or the final cut.
I never fully realized how much this unresolved, unsettling ending to one of my first real creative endeavors had been haunting me until I felt this event stitch some of those wounds back together.
Entering the event, I was immediately confronted by a poster-size version of my friend Krish Raghav's beautiful comic about the convoluted history and present of China & reggae, based partially off of some of the research for the documentary that I had shared with him. Randy had found the comic and loved it so much that he contacted Krish for the high-res files for the event. Later, Randy gave me a (surprise!) shout-out during his remarks, and I met a professor who taught the trailer for the documentary in their classes on Afro-Asian solidarity.
It was like seeing volunteer plants sprouting from last season's fallen, rotten fruit. And simultaneously: maybe it's time to go hunt that shit down.
Another major revelation this week: my preferred unit of creative output is love letter—the Bilibili piece for Logic, the documentary, Multi Entry, ROFLCon, this seaweed project. This is a helpful framing for me because it lowers the stakes while clarifying the intent behind these creative urges. The weird things I create don't need to hold authority or be comprehensive, they just need to be tools for sharing my love (which can be complicated and challenging!) for something with others.
Last week, I traveled to Hudson to attend part of the Subculture Hootenanny. It was great to see the whole team I'd been working with over the last few months, breathe in the fresh air and quiet of not-city, and be immersed in a lot of heady ideas and great food. A wrap party I didn't know I had been waiting for.
I took a (delayed!) train back from Hudson in time to attend the Global Climate Strike in New York. Large protests and marches are still not very much my thing, but I felt more comfortable at this one than most because I had a mission–flyering to raise awareness for NYC-DSA's Public Power campaign.