Blog

IIRY Podcast: 35. 2020: “What would you tell your younger self?”
An end of year review, with advice to help you on your creative journey in 2021.

Posted on

Saying “2020 has been a weird year” is an understatement. Nevertheless, I’m really grateful when I look back at the inspiring guests who were generous enough to sit down and chat with me this year. So, I thought, wouldn’t it be great to revisit some of the most popular “Is it Recess Yet?” episodes of […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 32. Rev. D. Maurice Charles. “To resist absurdity is to live.”
On why "you don't have to feel what someone else feels to do the right thing" and creating a society that makes space for all of us.

Posted on

In my conversation with the Rev. D. Maurice Charles, the first African American chaplain at the University of Chicago, he shares how he was called to the ministry; his family heritage of slavery and survival; his scholarly work in religion and violence; why denying the existence of systemic bias is damaging to BIPOC and oppressed […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 30. Karen Rile: “You can actually change your life very quickly.”
A chat with writer Karen Rile, about parenting, flexibility, and how deliberate practice yields huge results.

Posted on

 In my conversation with writer Karen Rile, we discuss her experience of parenting four artistic children and her interest in musicians; how flexibility and creative courage led to her founding Cleaver Magazine, a successful literary magazine; why creative writing and small amounts of deliberate practice create a vast foundation for a successful life; and […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 29. Byron Au Yong, PART 2: “Shouting comes from having no choice.”
A chat with composer Byron Au Yong, about activism, representation, and why we can't avoid our painful experiences.

Posted on

In my conversation with composer Byron Au Yong, we discuss his works, “Stuck Elevator,” “The Ones,” and “Activist Songbook,” a trilogy that addresses what Americans fear and ways out of oppression; why representation matters and the importance of figuring out alternatives to dominant systems that oppress people; the practice of small, daily activism; and why […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 28. Byron Au Yong: “Counteract the hate.”
A chat with composer Byron Au Yong, about how Western Classical music is not the only music in the world and the "healing powers of music."

Posted on

In my conversation with composer Byron Au Yong, we discuss why writing well “is a power”;  his childhood experiences with bullying and how music was a “shield”; the importance of affinity groups and centering his music in social justice; why love is an agent for change and protest; and the importance of continuing to “counteract […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 25. Sean Wang: “My quietness was misunderstood as an act of defiance.”
A chat with violinist, conductor, and scholar, Sean Wang, about the burden of assimilation, microaggressions, and the "bamboo ceiling" in classical music.

Posted on

 In this conversation with violinist, conductor, and scholar, Sean Wang, we discuss the implicit bias Asians experience in white culture; the burden of assimilation placed on immigrants to adjust their behaviors, customs, and personhood for the comfort of the dominant culture;  and why “it seems in order to get to the same place as […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 24. Celia Hatton: “You have to speak up and take up space.”
A chat with violist Celia Hatton about microaggressions, implicit bias, and institutional racism in classical music and beyond.

Posted on

In this conversation with violist Celia Hatton, we discuss racism, implicit bias and microaggressions; the illusion of meritocracy in classical music; beauty standards; institutional racism and white supremacy. Subscribe to the podcast here!  2:32 – Celia talks about growing up in a musically and artistically eclectic family and how she got started on the viola. […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 19. Mai Der Vang: “I have to be twice as good to be given access, to be heard.”
A chat with award-winning writer, Mai Der Vang, about being the child of Hmong immigrants; the challenges of being a female, P.O.C. artist; and why we must trust our own creative impulses.

Posted on

In this conversation that took place shortly before the pandemic and shelter-in-place order, award-winning writer Mai Der Vang and I discuss why failure is always a way to build resilience; the burden of excellence that many immigrants experience plus the challenges of being a female, P.O.C. writer and academic in the American literary landscape; and […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 9. “The child of Korean immigrants, living in the in-between space”: An excerpt from my work-in-progress, LUNCH BOX, about food, mothers and daughters, identity, microagressions, representation, and one kind of Asian American experience.

Posted on

I saw a bag of Gochujang Potato Chips from Whole Foods and I was thrown back in time to my childhood, when my mother made me impeccable Korean meals that I took to school in my Hello Kitty lunch box with my Little Twin Stars chopsticks. Here is a piece of writing I am working […]

Blog

IIRY Podcast: 7 – “Asians are both the ‘model minority’ and an invisible minority”: Creating space for conversations about racism against East Asians in classical music. A Chat with Mina Yang, pianist, professor, and writer.

Posted on

In my conversation with pianist, professor, and writer, Mina Yang, we discuss the complicated experiences of racism against East Asians in Classical Music and in the dominant culture, how Western Classical Music proliferated in East Asia through imperialism and colonialism, and how the myth of the “universal” nature of Western Classical Music discourages conversations around […]