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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

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Mar 31, 2022

When the Hart-Celler Act passed in 1965, opening up U.S. immigration to non-Europeans, it ushered in a whole new era. But even to the first generation of Asian Americans born in the U.S. after that milestone, it would have been impossible to imagine that sushi and boba would one day be beloved by all, that a Korean boy band named BTS would be the biggest musical act in the world, that one of the most acclaimed and popular movies of 2018 would be Crazy Rich Asians, or that we would have an Asian American Vice President. Not to mention the creators, performers, entrepreneurs, and influencers making it all happen, both behind the scenes and on the screen. And then there are the activists and representatives who continue to fight for equity, building coalitions and defiantly holding space for Asian American voices and concerns. And still: Asian America is just getting started.

Authors Jeff Yang, Phil Yu, and Philip Wang offered a love letter to and for Asian Americans in RISE — a scrapbook of voices, emotions, and memories from an era in which Asian American culture was forged and transformed. On an intimate, humorous tour through the pop-cultural touchstones and sociopolitical shifts of the past 30-plus years, Yang, Yu, and Wang chronicled how we arrived at today’s unprecedented diversity of Asian American cultural representation. From a step-by-step guide to a night out in K-Town to a handy “Appreciation or Appropriation?” flowchart, they celebrated the path from the past to the present through nostalgia and shared experiences.

Jeff Yang has been observing, exploring, and writing about the Asian American community for over thirty years. He launched one of the first Asian American national magazines, A. Magazine, in the late ’90s and early 2000s, and now writes frequently for CNN, Quartz, Slate, and elsewhere. He has written/edited three books — New York Times-best-selling memoir, I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action; Once Upon a Time in China, a history of the cinemas of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Mainland; and Eastern Standard Time: A Guide to Asian Influence on American Culture.

Phil Yu is the founder and editor of the popular Asian American news and culture blog, Angry Asian Man, which has had a devoted following since 2001. His commentary has been featured and quoted in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and elsewhere.

Philip Wang is the co-founder of the hugely influential production company Wong Fu Productions. Since the mid-2000s, his creative work has garnered over 3 million subscribers and half a billion views online, as well as recognition from NPR and CNN for its impact on Asian American representation.

Buy the Book: Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now (Hardcover) from Elliott Bay Books

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