Monday, December 15, 2008

Bill Ayers on Reforming Education

For the Monday 15 December 2008 edition of Subversity, we chatted with former Weather Underground member and Prairie Fire theoretician and current education professor (U of Ill. at Chicago) Bill Ayers. As Obama is about to name a new cabinet member in charge of education, we asked him what are the prospects for educational reform in the new administration, as well as to reflect his days under the national spotlight during the recent presidential campaign.

Ayers was last on Subversity 12 April 2002, promoting his book, Fugitive Days, which has just now been reissued by Beacon Press with a new afterword. After we re-aired our 2002 interview during the last month of the recent presidential campaign, the rightwing media "discovered" the audio. Unauthorized clips of the broadcast were aired by such conservative hosts as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, while text from the interview made it on to The National Review. The audio also showed up in a video that tried to smear Obama. The smear campaign, of course, did not stick.

The rightwing media seemed especiallly concerned that he revealed during his Subversity interview that "I'm as much an anarchist as I am a Marxist which is to say I find a lot of the ideas in anarchism appealing." The rightwing media made a big deal that later that week (of our 2002 interview) he served on an academic panel with Obama.

See also:

Bill Ayers blog:
Bill Ayers, "The Real Bill Ayers," New York Times, 5 December 2008 (op ed).
Beacon Press' Fugitive Days site:

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn on Democracy Now:
14 November 2008: Part 1
24 November 2008: Part 2

Rightwing video using Subversity audio: This youtube video has now been viewed over 82,000 times, most of the viewings before the election;at 5:32 credit for audio is given to "University of Irvine" Subversity show.

Blogger with clip from Fox News crediting KUCI-FM for Ayers quote:

To listen to the show, click here:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Were the World Mine Director & Lead Actor Discuss Musical Romp through Small-Town America

Irvine -- For the 8 December 2008 edition of Subversity, we talked with director Tom Gustafson and lead actor Tanner Cohen about "Were the World Mine," a musical fantasy about queer teen love.

Tanner Cohen with fellow-actor Nate David Becker,
his love object in Were the World Mine. Photo source:

The fun and captivating feature film, which has captivated audiences at Frameline and other film festivals, takes a romp through small-town America and pokes fun at traditional "family values" and homophobia. The film is based on director Gustafson's short, "Fairies," as well as William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Nights' Dream."

Set in a boys academy, it stars Tanner as Timothy, a queer teen who's often the target of homophobic attacks. A sympathetic English teacher recruits him to star in the school's adaptation of A Midsummer Nights' Dream, and in the process, he creates a love potion that turns the object of his teenage lust (a rugby star) queer, as well as many others in his small town. Tanner is currently a UCLA student (in Cultural Studies).

More info. on the guests:

Tom Gustafson - director/ co-writer/ producer

Tom made his first film, a Super 8 claymation, at the age of 9. That film premiered in the very gymatorium responsible for the memories that inspired his award-winning musical short, Fairies, which has screened in over 75 international film festivals (including Tribeca), aired on the Viacom network, Logo (as a winner of the short film series in the episode The Click List: Best Shorts Ever!) and is available on iTunes. Tom made his feature directorial debut with his multi-award-winning, critically acclaimed and wildly popular, Shakespeare inspired musical film about the truth of love: Were the World Mine. Among the awards presented to WTWM, Tom received the Heineken Red Star Award and the Scion First-Time Director Award.

While a student at Northwestern University, Tom received the coveted Major Studio 22 grant to make a side-show inspired film, The Need. After receiving the William Morris Filmmaking Award and graduating Cum Laude from NU, Tom explored Chicago's art scene. He wrote and directed an experimental theatre piece, exhibited his investigative portraiture photography, shot a doc about queer youth, received grants from the Chicago Community Arts Program, worked on Michael Moore's Bravo show, The Awful Truth and created SPEAKproductions.

A freelance foray into "Hollywood" film led him down an unexpected path when he landed his first job: Key Additional Casting Assistant on Road To Perdition followed by Additional Casting Associate on Master & Commander. He then took on solo projects as Location Casting Director of Pirates Of The Caribbean (Dead Man's Chest and At Worlds End), The Good Shepherd, The Weather Man and The Dark Knight. For a young Director, this path proved to be an invaluable learning experience, allowing him to work creatively alongside directors including the unparalleled Peter Weir, Sam Mendes and Robert DeNiro.

Tanner Cohen . timothy

Tanner is a New York based actor currently getting a BA in Cultural Studies at UCLA. He recently appeared as Nate in Vadim Perelman's The Life Before Her Eyes (starring Uma Thurman), which premiered at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival and he was first seen as Tad Becker on CBS in As The World Turns. He also portrayed the role of Flute in Creative Arts Projects' A Midsummer Night's Dream, which toured throughout Brooklyn parks in the summer of 2004. Tanner is also one half of the emotronic pop duo The Guts. He is thrilled to be a part of this unique film and thanks the incredibly devoted cast and crew and his family.

For additional info, check out the film site.Trailer

To listen to the show, click here:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Privileging (Gay or Straight) Marriage is Misplaced

For the November 24, 2008 edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, we talked with law professor Nancy D. Polikoff, author of a new book, Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Law (Beacon Press, 2008).

She argues that by privileging marriage under the law over other relationships, many people suffer, including those in domestic partnerships. She breaks with fellow queer activists who are now flowing into the streets to defend gay marriage after California voters approved Prop. 8 that banned gay marriage in California. She challenges those activists to see beyond gay "equality" arguments that restrict marriage benefits only to those willing to get married.

Nancy D. Polikoff is Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law, where she teaches in the areas of family law, civil procedure, and sexuality and the law. Previously, she supervised family law programs at the Women's Legal Defense Fund (now National Partnership for Women and Families), and before that she practiced law as part of a feminist law collective. For 30 years, she has been writing about and litigating cases involving lesbian and gay families. Her articles have appeared in numerous law reviews, and her history of the development of the law affecting lesbian and gay parenting appears as a chapter in John D'Emilio, William B. Turner, and Urvashi Vaid, eds., Creating Change: Sexuality, Public Policy, and Civil Rights (St, Martin's Press, 2000). She helped develop the legal theories in support of second-parent adoption and visitation rights for legally unrecognized parents, and she was successful counsel in In re M.M.D., the 1995 case that established joint adoption for lesbian and gay couples in the District of Columbia, and Boswell v. Boswell, the 1998 Maryland case overturning restrictions on a gay noncustodial father's visitation rights.
For more on the book, go to
To listen to the show, click here:

Monday, November 17, 2008

UCI's Olive Tree Initiative; Obama's Ascendancy and the Future of Radical Opposition to the U.S. State

For the next edition of Subversity, to air Monday 17 November 2008 at 9 am, we first talk with several UCI students who had a chance to travel recently to the Middle East to see first-hand the situation there. And in part two of the program, we talk with a UC Riverside professor about the future prospects for progressive struggles in the wake of Barack Obama's election.

A group of UCI students recently visited Israel and the occupied territories to observe the situation there, under the auspices of the Olive Tree Initiative

In part 1 of the show, we ask UCI senior Omar Bustami and UCI sophomore Moran Cohen why they went on the the trip, what they found and what lessons they learned.

To listen to part 1 of the show, click here: .

In part 2, we talk with UC Riverside ethnic studies Assoc. Prof. Dylan Rodriguez about what is the future for progressive anti-racism struggle when the U.S. President is for the first time an African American. He's not optimistic. He believes an Obama administration will continue to "domesticate, discipline, and contain a politics of radical opposition to a U.S. nation-building project that now insists on the diversity of the American "we," while leaving so many for dead." See his essay, Inaugurating Multiculturalist White Supremacy, posted on Racewire. We also discussed this collection of essays, to which he contributed a chapter: The revolution will not be funded : beyond the non-profit industrial complex, edited by Incite! Women of Color Against Violence. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2007; Table of Contents. The book addresses the limits of civil society and NGOs.

To listen to part 2 of the show, click here: .

Monday, November 10, 2008

Immigrant Lives Past and Present

More on Subversity blog.

Immigration will surely be one of the issues the incoming Obama administration will be addressing. Latest federal ICE statistics show 349,041 immigrants were deported in the past year (through Septembe 2008), up from 288,663 the previous fiscal year (see

For our November 10, 2008 edition, Subversity, a KUCI public affairs show, presents our interview with UCI labor historian Gilbert Gonzales on Mexican Labor migration and its roots in U.S. imperialism. He addresses the tumultuous history of Mexican labor in the United States and in Orange County.

This is a repeat show from May Day 2006 and we present it as the UCI Libraries opens the following Tuesday (November 18) a Fall exhibit on "Immigrant Lives in 'The OC' and Beyond," curated by the show host. Prof. Gonzales' research on a citrus strike in 1930s Orange County is among the areas featured in the exhibit.

To listen to the entire show, click here:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hong Kong Independent Filmmakers Oppose Corporate 'Hijacking' of Asian Film Festival; California Prop. 8 on Parental Notification

In our 13 October 2008 show, KUCI's Subversity program focuses first on a controversy in Hong Kong over an apparent corporate "hijacking" of the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival (HKAFF). Independent filmmakers associated with Ying E Chi a nonprofit independent film distribution company, are accusing the owners of the territory's Broadway Cinematheque chain of taking over the annual festival that Ying e Chi founded in 2004. We talk with independent filmmaker Simon Chung, a director of Ying E Chi, from Hong Kong about what led to this impasse.

Simon Chung was born in Hong Kong. A graduate of Toronto's York University, he majored in film production before returning Hong Kong. Since then, he has been active within the local film and television industry, including Ying E Chi. His second short, Life is Elsewhere ('96), was given the distinguished award at the Hong Kong ifva (Independent Short Film& Video Awards). Innocent ('05) is his directorial debut. Filmography: Chiwawa Express ('92 short), Life is Elsewhere ('96 short), Stanley Beloved ('97 short), First Love & Other Pains ('99 short), Innocent ('05), End of Love ('08).
See also: "Variety" coverage: Background on HKAFF from HKAFF 2007:
In Part 2 of our show, we air a dispatch from National Radio Project's Making Contact on "Parental Notification: Protecting Our Youth?" "This November, parental notification (Prop 4) will be on the ballot in California. Prop 4 requires parents to be notified if a minor seeks an abortion. Does this law really protect our youth? If passed, will it affect how young women access reproductive health care?" asks the program.
"On this edition of Making Contact, we hear from a group of young women in California organizing against Prop 4. They say the measure threatens the health, safety and rights of young women, especially communities of color and immigrant communities. Also, we hear from a proponent of Prop 4 who explains why many others support this law. Lastly, we visit the state of Texas where both parental notification and consent laws have transformed the ways young women handle unexpected pregnancies."
This Making Contact program was partially funded by the Mary Wolford Foundation and features: Heidi, Meuy, Marn, Tiffany, Maly, Susan, Celia, Mimi, Mae, Quy, Sandra, SAFIRE youth members; Amanda Wake, SAFIRE coordinator; Dana Ginn Paredes, ACRJ organizing director; Dr. Paula Hillard, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health member, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine, Division of Gynecologic Specialties director; Dolores Meehan, Friends of Sarah and the Yes on Proposition 4 Campaign; Rita Lucido, Jane's Due Process attorney; Brandi Bedford, Whole Woman's Health of Austin executive director; Terry Sallas Merritt, Whole Woman's Health corporate executive director; Tina Hester, Jane's Due Process hotline coordinator.
To listen to the entire show, click here: .

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saving Marriage; Bill Ayers on his Fugitive Days

Mug shot from Chicago Police of Ayers

In our the next edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, we delve into two controversial issues this election season.

In part 1 of the program, we talk with two filmmakers, Mike Roth and John Henning, who directed a documentary, "Saving Marriage," on the ultimate success in Massachusetts to forestall a voter-ban on gay marriage. We'll ask them what lessons can be learned given that California voters will vote in November whether or not to ban gay marriage (Prop. 8) and overturn the state Supreme Court's recent ruling allowing it.

In part 2, given the controversy over Barack Obama's "palling around" (allegedly) with former fugitive Weatherman Bill Ayers (now a respected education professor in Chicago), we re-air portions of a past interview we conducted with Prof. Ayers. We asked him then to reflect on his fugitive days.

To listen to the entire show, click here: .
More online:
Saving Marriage trailer:

Obama and Ayers:

Online Petition to Support Bill Ayers:
Pallin on Ayers:

Our 12 April 2002 interview with Bill Ayers on Subversity: .

Monday, September 29, 2008

Charlie Nguyen, Director, "The Rebel"

On our September 29, 2008 show, we talk with Charlie Nguyen, director/producer/writer of The Rebel, a period piece set in French colonial Vietnam that deals with a Vietnamese traitor in the struggle for national independence, with exciting scenes of martial arts. The film stars Charlie Nguyen's brother, Johnny Tri Nguyen and established actor Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street, Heaven and Earth) as well as Vietnamese actress/singer Ngo Thanh Van.

For Charlie Nguyen, a Viet Kieu (Overseas Vietnamese), the Rebel marks his return to his homeland. He also directed and wrote Chances Are and produced Finding Madison.
The film won the VIFF (Vietnamese International Film Festival)'s 2007 audience award at UCI among other awards.

The film will be screened Friday October 3 for free at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana in connection with a DVD release party; events start with a prescreening reception at 6 pm followed by the screening at 7 pm. Both Charlie Nguyen and actor Dustin Nguyen will be present for a Q and A.

The OC event is co-sponsored by VAALA. Founded in 1991 by a group of Vietnamese American journalists, artists and friends, Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA) is a community-based non-profit organization that seeks to promote and enrich arts and culture by, for, and about the Vietnamese communities. VAALA has organized numerous cultural events such as art exhibitions, book fairs, book signings, recitals, plays, lectures, the biennial Vietnamese International Film Festival (ViFF), the biennial Cinema Symposium, the annual Children's Moon Festival Art Contest and year-long art and music classes. VAALA recently developed smART Program, which offers free art workshops for non-profit youth organizations in the Orange County and Los Angeles areas.

Bowers Museumio is at 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana 92706, telephone: (714) 567-3695.

To listen to the program, click here:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Remembering Third Party Candidate Peter Camejo

Irvine - On our 15 September 2008 show, Subversity remembers the life and times of third party candidate Peter Miguel Camejo, a Venzuelan American who died the past Saturday in Folsom, California.

Camejo, who was Ralph Nader's running mate in 200 in the presidential race, also ran for governor of california three times before. In the 2002 race he garnered 5 percent of the California vote.

As Ralph Nader remembers him:

Peter was a student leader, civil rights advocate, leader in the socially responsible investment industry with his own investment firm, Progressive Asset Management, Inc., and author of books on investment and history including Racism, Revolution, Reaction, 1861-1877, The Rise and Fall of Radical Reconstruction, California Under Corporate Rule, and his recent book, The SRI Advantage: Why Socially Responsible Investing Has Outperformed Financially.

We talk with his comrades, including Matt Gonzalez, who is currently Ralph Nader's running mate in Nader's return bid for the presidency. Gonzalez, a former San Francisco supervisor, is a civil rights attorney in the bay area and Green Party activist. We also talk with Donna Warren, who was the Southern California Chair for Peter Camejo in the California Recall election when he ran on the Green Party ticket for governor.

Paired with Camejo who ran for California governor, Warren ran for Lt. Governor in November 2002 and 2006. In November 2002, she garnered almost 400,000 votes statewide.

To listen to the program, click here: .

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ping Pong Playa Director Jessica Yu and Actor Jimmy Tsai

Ping Pong Playa star Jimmy Tsai with his buddy, Andrew Vo, from Orange County

Irvine -- For our next edition, KUCI's SUbversity show airs a live interview with the director and star of a new Asian American feature film, Ping Pong Playa.
The comedic take on the travails of a basketball star wannabe who ends up becoming a ping pong paddler pokes fun at both mainstream and Asian American stereotypes.
The director (and co-writer), Jesscia Yu, is an established documentary filmmaker undertaking her first feature film. Yu's documentaryshort, Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien, on a writer who lived for four decades paralyzed by polio and confined to an iron lung, won her many awards including an Oscar and an Emmy.
Yu is perhaps best known as the director of In the Realms of the Unreal, her riveting look at the life and erotic obsessions of "outside artist" Henry Darger, whose prolific art formed the basis of her documentary, shown on the PBS series, POV. Yu is based in Los Angeles.
Jimmy Tsai is both the star of Ping Pong Playa and a co-writer. A production accountant turned indie filmmaker and now actor, Tsai was production accountant on such films as Justin Lin's Finishing the Game and Quentin Lee's Ethan Mao.
A young actor from Orange County, Andrew Vo, then 11, also appears in the film as Tsai's buddy.
The film opened in selected theaters nationally Friday 5 September 2008. In Orange County, it screens at Edwards University Town Center 6 across from the UCI campus.
Our interview with Yu and Tsai aired Monday, 8 September, 2008, from 9-10 a.m. on KUCI, 88.9 fm in Orange County, Calif.
OC Register:
LA Times review:
To listen to the program, click here: .

Monday, July 21, 2008

Celebrating the Life of Prof. Lindon Warren Barrett: Remembering Lindon

Irvine -- On the 21 July 2008 edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, we commemorated and celebrated the life of Prof. Lindon Warren Barrett, who was murdered in his home in Long Beach 7 July 2008.

Joining in reflecting on his life and scholarly career are colleagues and students who knew him, both during his long tenure at UCI and, more recently, at UC Riverside, where he ended up last year. He was a beloved English and African American studies professor at both schools, and for several years, director of the African American studies program at UCI. His family in Winnepeg, Canada, has posted this obituary in the Winnipeg Free Press: Obituary.

Born in 1961 in Guyana, he migrated to England when he was just one, moving to Canada in 1966. He grew up in Winnipeg, earning his BA from York University, an MA from the University of Denver, and ultimately a Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990. His Ph.D thesis was titled: "In the dark: Issues of value, evaluation, and authority in twentieth century critical discourse" (216 pages, AAT 9101135; .Callalloo

Faculty participating in the memorial program are Katherine Kinney, who chairs the English department at UC Riverside, and her UCR colleague, George Haggerty and from UCI, History Prof. Winston James, who was until last month chair of African American studies program here.

Former UCI Ph.D students Arnold Pan (now teaching at UCI) and Lelia Neti (now at Occidental College) will also be participating. Jamie Park, former UCI undergraduate student and now pursuing her Ph.D at UCR, will also be on the program.

We'll also be reading tributes from other colleagues and friends of Lindon during the program.

This special program was also simulcast on KUCR, 88.3 AM in Riverside County via Our appreciation to KUCR for this collaboration.

To listen to the program, without the music, click here: .

A podcast of this program is now available at: podcasts.

Corrected Sunday July 20: There is no public memorial service in Long Beach Tuesday; the family plans to scatter his ashes in accordance with his wishes into the Pacific Ocean.

On Saturday August 23 a Canadian memorial service will be held in Winnipeg, MB, Canada.

Other services are envisioned at UCR and UCI later in the fall.

The family suggests in lieu of flowers, "[b]ecause of Lindon's love of reading, if so desired a donation to the Winnipeg Public Library or a charity encouraging literacy would be most appreciated. WPL donation page.

Other links:

OC Register's College Life blog:

Radio Tribute to Slain English Professor Lindon Barrett (about this program)

More on Death of English Professor Lindon Barrett

English Professor Found Slain

Los Angeles Times:

Slain Man Identified as UC Riverside Professor

Press-Telegram (Long Beach):

Popular professor found slain in LB

Press-Enterprise (Riverside):

Professor found dead hoped for change at UCR

Ned Ragget's Ponder it All blog:

RIP Lindon Barrett

Facebook page:

Lindon Barrett

Police report:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Remembering Photographer Dolores Neuman

On the 23 June 2008 edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, in the first half-hour, we celebrated and remembered the life of photographer Dolores Neuman. The Washington-D.C.-based photographer documented social movements and the people within them. She was involved with CovertAction Information Bulletin (later CovertAction Quarterly), co-founded by her husband, Louis Wolf. She provided photography for "Northern Lights", a documentary about farmers in North Dakota, and Rob Epstein's "The Times of Harvey Milk," a documentary about the slain gay San Francisco supervisor. She was instrumental in promoting many independent films and independent directors. She was a founder of the Jewish Film Festival. She passed away June 5.

We talked with friends of Dolores Neuman, including Amanda Spake, former managing editor of "Mother Jones" magazine, and a writer and investigative reporter for national magazines and news outlets, specializing in health and medicine, environmental issues, education, food and drug safety, and consumer protection, focusing recently on post-Katrina investigations as a Katrina Media Fellow. She is a UC Irvine graduate.

We also talked with Janet Cole, a social-issue documentary film producer ("Absolutely Positive", "Regret to Inform," "Paragraph 175" and others) who had a close friendship with Dolores for almost 30 years.

During the late 1970s through the mid-1980s when the American independent film genre was first being coined and documentary films were initially being shown in U.S. theaters, Dolores was one of the first grassroots specialists in creative audience development: Working with independent theater owners and distributors to attract audiences to see such social-issue films. She worked with Janet Cole on two films, first "The War At Home," which they promoted together in SF and a few years later, "Soldier Girls".

Also joining in the conversation was another long-time friend, Rob Epstein, the director of "The Times of Harvey Milk."

See the obituary adapted from the Washington Post: "Dolores Neuman, 66; photographer, promoter for public interest causes."

See: Guest Book on Washington Post site

To listen to the show, click here: .

Monday, June 16, 2008

Earthquake Relief: Organizing to Help

Irvine -- On our show airing 16 June 2008, KUCI's Subversity looks at how concerned UCI students and others helped spark relief efforts over the devastating earthquake in Sichuan, China last month.

We talk with Wei Li, a UCI doctoral student in Social Ecology, who spearheaded a relief drive at UC Irvine, raising over $30,000 in just days. He also organized a candlelight vigil at UCI for the victims of the earthquake.

Wei Li was born and raised in Shangqiu, Henan Province. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Renmin University of China (Beijing), after working as an undergraduate for the Chinese Young Volunteers Association. He begin his interests in environmental planning in 2003 by joining the MA program in Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo (Canada). He came to UCI in 2006 as a PhD student in Planning, Policy and Design, focusing on environmental policy and economics. He is currently working on a research project on how trees in Los Angeles influence house values.

Wei Li can be contacted at:

He is working with the Orange County Chinese Professional Association on handling further donations.

UCI news profile: Campus responds to crisis.

To listen to the show, click here: .

Monday, June 9, 2008

Demystifying Diasporic Vietnamese Politics

On our 9 June 2008 edition, Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, features a conversation with an editor and journalist who was fired from the country's top Vietnamese-language newspaper in a failed attempt to appease anti-communist protesters, and who has now resurrected himself as a blogger writing about Vietnamese diasporic politics in and beyond Little Saigon. We talk with the writer who goes by the moniker "Bolsavik".

The Bolsavik's meek alter ego is Hao-Nhien Vu, a mathematician with a knack for telling the truth, he says. He was previously employed at Nguoi Viet Daily News, the largest Vietnamese-language newspaper in California and probably in the country. For four years he was the Managing Editor, until anti-communist protests over an artwork involving a pedicure spa caused the paper to fire him. Since then, he has been writing and editing the blog, which is playing a major role demystifying all that's happening within the Vietnamese American community here in Orange County and elsewhere.

Our interview with The Bolsavik (coined from Bolsa, the main drag in Little Saigon, and Bolshevik) is set against continuing demonstrations against his former newspaper, Nguoi Viet, as well as against Viet Weekly, another publication in the region. Our earlier interview with Publisher Le Vu of the Viet Weekly appears here: mp3 audio.

To listen to the show with the Bosavik, click here: .

A new profile of Subversity's show host appears on the KUCI web site: "Spotlight on Dan Tsang.".

An earlier Subversity interview with outgoing UCI History Prof. Mike Davis is extracted in AMASS, issue 29 (2008), pp. 32-35: "The War at Home: Interview with Mike Davis" by Dan Tsang. (The issue is available from Atomic Books, or directly from the publisher, Society for Popular Democracy, see: Subscriptions).

Friday, May 9, 2008

Filming Up the Yangtze; APIAVote Town Hall Highlights

Up the Yangtze: Tourists on boats in the Lesser Three Gorges; photo credit: Jonathan Chang; Copyright © EyeSteel Film, 2007

Irvine -- On the 19 May edition of KUCI's Subversity program, we talked with independent film director Yung Chang, whose exquisite documentary, "Up the Yangtze," has opened nationally. In the second part of the program, we bring you highlights from the APIAVote Town Hall at UC Irvine, which heard from Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, as they reached out to the API community. John McCain did not appear but sent a surrogate, Assemblyman Van Tran. Third party candidates were not included.

Just days after a devastating earthquake hit southwestern China, the opening of "Up the Yangtze" gives audiences a cinematic look at more of the travails faced by ordinary Chinese as their county embraces modernization. Yung Chang, a Canadian Chinese filmmaker, talks about why he made his film, an "Upstairs. Downstairs" take on the crew and tourists on a luxury cruise ship that traverses the Yangtze as the Three Gorges dam project moves inexorably to its completion. His film focuses on two workers on the ship: a cocky and handsome young man who explains how he charms tourists to part with their tips, and a more quiet young girl who toils to clean dishes, a job she needs to help bring income to her family whose home is destroyed and flooded by the Three Gorges project. Chang talks about how progress in China is very complicated. He also explains how his film led to brighter futures for both workers; the film's web site indicates how one can help.
In OC, the film is showing at Regency South Coast Village in Santa Ana; it is also in Los Angeles etc. A Sundance documentary film award winner, it screened earlier at the Newport Beach Film Festival last month and won a special grand jury award at the Asian Pacific American Film Festival in Los Angeles.
We also bring you highlights from the historic first town hall organized by Asian/Pacific Islander Americans, that took place this past Saturday at UC Irvine. Hilary Clinton appeared on a live video screen, answering questions submitted earlier, while Barrack Obama, on a live telephone feed, took questions from a panel of API activists; Obama, born in Hawaii, also identified himself as a Pacific Islander and a "Native Hawaiian". The event was ignored by the mainstream media.
News Update: Show host Dan Tsang was quoted in Sing Tao (Chinese) after the California Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage:
Other Resources:
Early town hall news and blog coverage:
To listen to this show, click here: .

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Man of Two Havanas Director Speaks Out vs. U.S. Embargo of Cuba

Irvine -- In our next edition, airing Monday May 5 2008 at 9 a.m. on KUCI, 88.9 fm in Orange County, and on the web simultaneously via, we talk with the director of "The Man of Two Havanas".

Max Lesnik, the director's father, with Fidel Castro

Vivien Lesnik Weisman, in her documentary, takes a look back at her father and her life with him as he survived numerous bombing attempts by Cuban exiles in Little Havana, not unlike the situation of intimidation and domestic terrorism faced by some outspoken Vietnamese exiles in Little Saigon. We talk about her film and why she wanted to make it, as well as what it was like to live in Miami as a small girl. The film argues that the U.S. embargo against Cuba hurts the people in Cuba as well as Cuban exiles abroad.

Biographical info: Vivien Lesnik Weisman was born in Havana, Cuba. After graduating from Barnard College and New York Law School, she received an M.F.A. in directing from the UCLA School of Film and Television.
Her numerous awards include the presti- gious UCLA Spotlight Award for Best Dramatic Short, the Houston Film Festival Best Short Award and a Golden Eagle for Excellence in Latino Filmmaking.
A student of acclaimed documentarian Marina Goldovskaya, Weisman recently won IFP New York's Fledging Fund Award for a Work-in-Progress for The Man of Two Havanas, her first documentary. She resides in Santa Monica with her son, Richard Jr.
Her father, Max Lesnik, director of Radio Miami, has been the number one target of anti-Castro terrorists and considered the most controversial figure in the Cuban exile community. He was a prominent revolutionary when he left Cuba due to ideological differences with his then-friend, Fidel Castro. In Miami, he took a position that was both against the Cuban government as well as against the U.S. policy toward Cuba. Mr. Lesnik became the publisher of Replica. The magazine was a forum for debate, as well as for Mr. Lesnik's incendiary point of view. Mr. Lesnik's position soon evolved to include dialogue with the Cuban government and recently he revived his friendship with Castro. Mr. Lesnik has been the target of anti-Castro terrorists. They have tried unsuccessfully to murder him; nine bombs have gone off at his office in Little Havana.
The film recently aired in Orange County at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
The show airs during KUCI's pledge drive. Please support the only public-radio station from OC and to support shows like Subversity. To pledge, go to
Meanwhile, the Asian Pacific Film Festival continues in Los Angeles:
To listen to this show, click here: .

Monday, April 28, 2008

Films on Boys in Jordan; Women in Indonesia

Irvine -- For the April 28, 2008 edition of Subversity on KUCI, we talk with the directors of two new films from Jordan and Indonesia showing at the Newport Beach Film Festival and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival respectively.

In part 1 of the show, we talk with Director/Writer/Producer Amin Matalqa about his new film, "Captain Abu Raed" which screened at Sundance (where it won the World Cinema Audience award this year) and is the first feature film from Jordan in decades. Set in contemporary Jordan, the title character is a lonely janitor at Amman's international airport who befriends a group of neighborhood boys. Matalqa immigrated to the U.S. from Jordan at age 13, who decided to move from the telecommunications industry in Ohio to become a filmmaker in Los Angeles. Among the cast members is established Jordanian actor Nadim Sawalha, in the title role. Sawalha has been featured in British televsion as well as in two James Bond films, "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "The Living Daylights." He also appeared in "Syriana" opposite George Clooney. Sawalha won the 2007 best actor award at the Dubai International Film Festival.

Captain Abu Raed is the closing night film of the Newport Beach Film Festival, on Thursday, 1 May, at the Regency Lido Theatre in Newport Beach.

In part 2, we talk with Co-director Fatimah Tobing Rony, a UCI film and media studies professor. "Chants of Lotus" (Perempuan Punya Cerita) is a four-part film dissecting the social situation of women in frenetic, modern-day Indonesia. The film stars some of the major Indonesian actresses and the premiere showing in Indonesia was heavily censored. This Los Angeles showing is of the 35 mm original print, and uncensored. The film has its U.S. premiere Sunday, May 4, at 5 p.m. at the Directors Guild of America, Theater 2 as part of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

Film festival site:

To listen to the entire Subversity show, click here:

Monday, March 31, 2008

Actor, Director, Model Edward Gunawan

Irvine -- On the next edition of Subversity, broadcasting Monday, 31 March, 2008, we talk with actor, director and model Edward Gunawan about his career in film and modeling. Gunawan, who was born in Indonesia and grew up in Singapore, lives in southern California. He's graced the cover of Frontiers, a local gay magazine and appeared in print ads for Honda and Nokia as well as TV ads. As a filmmaker, Gunawan is making his directorial debut with Laundromat, a short film he also wrote and produced. His short film Just (as writer, actor & producer) recently won the Top 5 Films Award at the 9th PlanetOut Short Movie Competition. He recently earned an MBA from Loyola Marymount University and completed a filmmaking fellowship at the Film Independent' (formerly IFP West) Project:Involve in 2007, with Academy Award� winner Chris Tashima as his mentor.

His website:
Interview on Fridae:$
Frontiers interview:

To listen to the entire Subversity show, click here: . Apologies for the background audio for the first part of the interview.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Behind America's Obsession with Sex Scandals

Why the national obsession with sex scandals, most recently in the governor's office, before and after (New York and New Jersey)? And is the stoic wife all that unknowing? Is monogamy doomed for straight couples?

On our next show, 24 March 2008, Subversity talks with activist writer and former sex worker Tony Valenzuela. He worked in the commercial sex industry for about 5 years, including being an escort during that time (1997 to around 2002). A leader of the national Sex Panic activism of the late 1990's, he continues today to be a critic of how mainstream culture, including the gay community, handles matters of sexuality, especially publicly.

A long-time activist based in Southern California, he works on sexual politics, HIV and gay men's health. He writes for LA Weekly, Frontiers, Zyzzyva and is working on a book on gay men and risk.

He last appeared on Subversity in November 1997.

To listen to the entire Subversity show, click here:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Winter Soldier 2008: Anti-war Veterans Speak Out

As anti-war activists observe the 5th anniversary of the Iraq Invasion by the U.S., more and more veterans are themselves speaking out against the war; this past weekend as many anti-war activists took to the streets, veterans of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and other countries testified at Winter Solder: Iraq and Afghanistan 2008, about what they experienced while supposedly spreading "democracy" abroad.

We listen to the travails of a U.S. permanent resident, who signed up for the Marines, was among the first Marine units to be deployed to Iraq, but when he returned from Iraq, was taken from Camp Pendleton and incarcerated in San Diego, on deportation charges.

Courtesy of Pacific radio KPFA's War Comes Home project, archived testimony is available online and portions will be aired on Subversity this Monday 17 March 2008.

The audio is made available through a creative commons license:


War Comes Home site:
Iraq Veterans Against the War:
To listen to the entire Subversity show, click here:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Summer of Love and the Origins of the Counter-Culture

How did the counter-culture and its music get started back in 1967? On our 10 March 2008 of Subversity, courtesy of the Commonwealth Club of California radio program, we look back at the Summer of Love at 40, with a program that the club first aired last August, as we recall the contributions of George "Skip" Gay. Dr. Gay, who died last month, pioneered drug treatment at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, whose founder, Dr. David E. Smith, is featured on the program (and the only one wearing a tie).

Other guests on the program are: Paul Krassner, founder, the Realist Magazine; Wavy Gravy, activist and clown, former Frozen Dessert; Wes "Scoop" Nisker, author, radio commentator, former DJ, KSAN, with moderator Peter Finch, co-host of KFOG Morning Show. Smith is now executive director of the Prometa Center for Addiction.

Subversity thanks Commonwealth Club radio producer Ricardo Esway for permission to air this historic program.

Obituary of Dr. George "Skip" Gay:

To listen to the entire Subversity show where this program aired, click here:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Talking Sex: In Hong Kong and in the U.S.

In our next edition of KUCI's Subversity show airing Monday, 25 February 2008, we focus on sex talk -- in Hong Kong as well as stateside.

In Part 1: We air a dispatch from National Radio Project's Making Contact, "Still Talking About Sex," which features former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders. In 1993, Elders became the first African American Surgeon General of the United States. Criticized and attacked for her public statements promoting comprehensive sex education, the distribution of condoms in public schools, and the possibility of the legalization of drugs, Elders was forced to resign about a year later. The statement Elders is often remembered for is when she said masturbation is a part of human sexuality, and so perhaps it should be taught to children. On this edition, of Making Contact, we'll hear from the former surgeon who to this day remains a fierce advocate for health related policies.

In Part 2: We delve into the Edison Chen sex scandal that has gripped Hong Kong and the surrounding region for a month. The hip hop singer and actor has now admitted taking most of the hundreds of photographs circulating on the Internet showing him in bed (separately) with up to a half dozen local starlets. We discuss the legal and civil rights implications in the current law enforcement crackdown in the wake of the theft of his images.


Latest Edison Chen apology:

To listen to the entire Subversity show, click here:

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Passion & Politics of Coffee

For Subversity's 11 February 2008 show at 9 am on KUCI, 88.9 fm in Orange County, Calif., we talked with Martin Diedrich, the founder and master roaster of Kean Coffee in Newport Beach. Best known for Diedrich's Coffee which he ran for many years, Diedrich grew up in Guatemala, where his family owned a small coffee farm. He founded the first Diedric$ Coffee in Costa Mesa in 1984. Under his direction, Diedrich Coffee became well-known as an OC institution. In its new permutation, Kean Coffee (named after his son), Diedrich attempts to continue social responsibility and community values tha$ he believes a social entrepreneur must commit himself to.

We talked about the Starbucks, the Irvine Company, and how to maintain an independent and unique coffeeshop amidst all this homogenization and Starbucksization. We also discussed how Vietnam entered the world coffee market and what is fair trade coffee.

For more information, see:

Kean Coffee:

Selected Articles in OC Weekly:
Coffee. Talk. No. 9: Kean Coffee keeps it real in this mixed-up, crazy corporate world, by Nick Schou.

'Back to Square One': Martin Diedrich Celebrates the Death of His Family's Coffee Chain, by Nich Schou.

A Reality Shrine for a Wired World: The Year in Coffeehouse Founder Carl Diedrich, by Nathan Callahan

The Politics of Food show on KUCI An interview with coffee guru Martin Diedrich about his new Coffeehouse in Costa Mesa named after his son Kean. 2/9/06

To listen to the entire 11 February 2008 Subversity show, click here:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ngugi on Being a Writer in a Society in Crisis on the occasion of his 70th Birthday

Irvine -- As UC Irvine prepares to celebrate "Ngugi's Spirit," on Saturday (see below), for our Martin Luther King Day show this Monday at 9 a.m., Subversity converses with Distinguished Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong'o on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Ngugi is the Director of the acclaimed International Center for Writing and Translation at UCI. He is also a Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature with Comparative Literature as his home department.

Joining us in the conversation on "Being a Writer in a Society in Crisis" is Gabriele Schwab, Chancellor's Prof. of English and Comparative Literature at UCI. We'll focus on the current turmoil in Kenya.

One of the foremost contemporary African writers and an exile of Kenya and former political prisoner, Ngugi's work as literary figure, activist, and academic testify to his relentless passion and commitment to deliver much needed critique. In 2006 Ngugi published his first novel in nearly two decades, the critically lauded and lengthy The Wizard and the Crow, which went on to win the California Gold Award for fiction in 2007.

To listen to the entire show, click here:

In Ngugi's Spirit: Saturday 26 January 2008 at UC Irvine
The University of California, Irvine is delighted to announce the event, In Ngugis Spirit, to be held at the University of California, Irvines Crystal Cove auditorium on January 26th. Gabriele Schwab, Chancellors Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and David " Theo Goldberg, Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Humanities Research Institute, invite the community to join them in honoring the life and work of the world-renowned poet, playwright, novelist and post-colonial theorist Ngugi wa Thiongo on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Ngugi is the Director of the acclaimed International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine, a university treasure originally made possible through the endowment of Humanities alumnus Glenn Schaeffer. He is also a Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature with Comparative Literature as his home department.

One of the foremost contemporary African writers and an exile of Kenya and former political prisoner, Ngugis work as literary figure, activist, and academic testify to his relentless passion and commitment to deliver much needed critique. In 2006 Ngugi published his first novel in nearly two decades, the critically lauded The Wizard and the Crow, which went on to win the California Gold Award for fiction in 2007.

Opening at 5:30 pm, In Ngugis Spirit will begin with remarks from UC Irvines Chancellor Michael Drake and Kenyan Ambassador Zachary Dominic Muburi-Muita and proceed with a special talk from Professor and fellow activist Angela Davis, poetry readings by poet, critic and activist Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Ngugis son) and acclaimed indigenous poet, writer and activist Simon J. Ortiz. Following this opening, guests will be invited to a reception and book signing with Ngugi and the guest speakers. At 8 pm, Humanities Dean Vicki Ruiz will open the next session, which will include poetry readings from much-admired African American poets Sonia Sanchez and Jerry Quickley. The evening will conclude with Chinese Music/African Dance: Translation and Performance, a unique event featuring Liu Sola, internationally reknowned Chinese composer, singer, writer and performer, and Koffi Koko, internationally acclaimed African Dancer.

In Ngugis Spirit is sponsored by The UC Humanities Research Institute; The Executive Vice Chancellors Office; The Dean of Humanities; The Departments of Comparative Literature, English, African-American, East Asian Languages and Literatures, German, Spanish and Music; The Critical Theory Institute; The Critical Theory Emphasis; and the Chancellor Professors Research Fund.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Remembering Former CIA Officer/Whistleblower Philip Agee

Irvine -- On our next show, Subversity honors the progressive work of a friend of Subversity, Philip Agee, who resigned after 12 years as a case officer in the CIA and began exposing the CIA's "dirty tricks" in the covert operations the U.S. engaged in around the world. He leaves as his legacy his principled and consistent efforts in counteracting U.S. subversion of people's struggles around the world. He died 7 January 2008 in Havana, Cuba from complications from ulcer treatment.

We talk with his close friend, collaborator, co-author and fellow traveler, Louis Wolf, a co-founder of CovertAction Information Bulletin (later Quarterly) about Phil Agee's progressive work.
A. Selected Articles by Philip Agee:
A Shameful Injustice: Cuba's 50-year defiance of US attempts to isolate it is an inspiration to Latin America's people:
Terrorism and Civil Society: The Instruments of US Policy in
Terrorismo y Sociedad Civil como Instrumentos de la Politica Estadounidense en
Tracking Covert Actions into the
A Stunning Contrast: The Descent of the US; The Rise of Latin
Producing the Proper
B. Philip Agee on
To listen to the entire show, click here:

Monday, January 7, 2008

Anis Shivani on What's Behind the Current Pakistan Crisis

Irvine -- To kick off our new Winter 2007 season on KUCI, Subversity Monday 7 January features a discussion with a freelance writer, poet and fiction writer, Anis Shivani, about what has led to the current crisis facing Pakistan.

Shivani is also a literary critic based in Houston, Texas. He was born in Pakistan, but has spent most of his life in the U.S. He wrote for the leading Pakistani newspaper Dawn throughout the 1990s, engaging with the democratic politics of that era. His fiction typically deals with the difficulties of attaining true pluralism and tolerance in today's multicultural societies, and with the assorted disorders of postcolonial culture. His writings also engage with the present rise of fascistic tendencies in the U.S. His novel in progress, Intrusion, is about an American anthropologist studying an urban squatter settlement in contemporary Pakistan.

His essays have often appeared in CounterPunch.

To listen to the entire show, click here: