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Story outtakes, celebrity confessions and the latest pop culture news in the Bay Area

About Me
I'm a pop music writer for the San Jose Mercury News. I cover pop, hip hop, punk, rock, dance, and ethnic - well, basically everything you can dance to.

My Articles

CD: Common:"Be"
Music Video Eminem: featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
Trailer: The Year of the Yao
TV: Harvey Birdman
Videogame: Fable

Art: The New Art of India
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Book: Jill Scott
Club: Forum
DVD: Kinsey
Movie: Cinderella Man
Music: Sleater-Kinney
Restaurant: The Melting Pot
Theater:The Mambo Kings

Earth and Sun Kiss


1. R. Kelly: "Trapped In The Closet"

2. Weezer: "Hold Me"

3. Bright Eyes: "First Day Of My Life"

4. Ringside: "Miss You" and "Criminal"

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  • Friday, February 25, 2005

    Quannum MC's and Polysics in SF, plus clubbing this weekend

    I checked out the sold out Quannum MC's show last night at the DNA Lounge. It was stellar and worth the traffic-ridden commute.

    One act worth checking out from last night was the DJ, Mike Relm. He integrated video into his mix, so that while he scratched the record, the image would remind and fast forward. For example, a skateboarder from Jay-Z's video would bounce back and forth. He also mixed in everything from Peanuts' music to Led Zeppelin with visuals from Bruce Lee to "Fight Club."

    As for today, ch-check out my story on Japanese pop-punk band Polysics! They pattern themselves after '80s new wave band Devo.

    As for the difference between Japanese and American pop-punk music, the lead singer, Hiro, says, "The only difference is whether the English pronunciation is good or bad."

    Here is a link to listen to their music.

    As for this weekend, ch-check it out:


    WHERE: Club Six, 60 6th St. (btwn. Market & Mission), San Francisco
    WHEN: 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. tonight 2/25
    TIX: 21+ w/ ID; $10; Click here for guest list (Reply by 4pm Friday):
    WHY: mix of dancehall, hip hop, electro, breaks, funk and soul

    WHERE: Loft 11, 316 11th St., San Francisco
    WHEN: 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. tonight 2/25
    TIX: 21+; With guest list FREE before 10:30; $10.00 discount after
    WHY: elite hip-hop party

    WHERE: Ruby Skye, 420 Mason @ Geary, San Francisco
    WHEN: 9 p.m. tonight 2/25
    TIX: $25 advance;
    WHY: electronic dance music with Sasha


    WHERE: Shattuck Down Low Lounge, 2284 Shattuck and Bancroft, Berkeley
    WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday 2/26
    TIX: Email JONATHANMACK@AOL.COM to get in for $5 before 11 p.m.
    WHY: DJ battle with four turntables - 3 songs vs. 3 songs back to back for 2 hours

    WHERE: Wildcard Hotel, 10 Hegenberger Rd., Oakland
    WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday 2/26
    TIX: $10 with email:
    WHY: weather proofed event; hip-hop, R&B, reggae, dance hall, reggaeton

    The re-opening extravaganza
    WHERE: 550, 550 Barneveld, SF
    WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday 2/26
    TIX: $10 with guestlist
    WHY: 3 rooms of hip-hop, trance and old skool '80s
    Thursday, February 24, 2005

    Was Ashlee Simpson okay in San Jose and Vegas clubbing

    Tuesday night, I didn't get a chance to check out Ashlee Simpson (and wasn't sure I wanted to) but I heard two very opposing reviews. One praised Simpson to the point of forgiving her SNL faux paus and the other saw students burning her poster and leading a booing team. Anybody else want to chime in?

    In Vegas, I didn't gamble too much, but I did eat a lot and go clubbing.

    Here's a rundown of the clubs I went to - from worst to best:

    RISQUE, PARIS ($20) - Very very lame. Basically we should have known from the line outside that they let in just about everybody. The music was also very uneven and the DJ kept straying from hip-hop to '80s pop music.

    RUM JUNGLE, MANDALAY BAY ($20) - The restaurant converts to a club at 10:30 p.m. We had dinner there and loved the red/black environment and high class. Plus, their bathroom ceiling was lined with lights like Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean ride. But when we came back for the club, it got very cheesy. They basically tore out the chairs and tables for patrons to dance on the cement floor. And, girls fluorescent body suits danced in cages on swung around on trapezes. The music was disappointingly more house than hip-hop.

    LIGHT, BELLAGIO ($30) - This had to be one of the best clubs I've ever been to. The DJ weaved in mainstream hip-hop with old skool. The venue was spacious with leather lined booths and plenty of places to dance on the wood flooring. Plus, the vibe was young but not too high strung. Everyone was stylishly dressed versus the sliminess of Risque. It was a perfect way to end the night.

    As for tonight, ch-check it out:

    WHERE: Kingman's Lucky Lounge, 3332 Grand Ave., Oakland
    WHEN: 9 p.m. to 2 am. tonight 2/24
    TIX: free
    WHY: house, soul and reggae


    WHAT: Quannum Mc's Showcase
    WHERE: DNA Lounge, 375 11th St. (@ Harrison), SF
    WHEN: 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. tonight 2/24
    TIX: 21+; $20; buy tickets
    WHY: A night featuring Quannum MC's like Lyrics Born and Lateef the True Speaker
    Wednesday, February 23, 2005

    Mayday concert in San Jose

    Ch-check out my review of Taiwanese pop-rock band Mayday in today's paper.

    I went into the concert unsure how they would sound live, but they rocked! Like a true pop band, Mayday changed five times from furry Mongolian robes to golden vests. They pounded on Chinese drums, sang love ballads and sang a duet dueted with Malaysian singer Fish Leong.

    One thing Ashin, the lead singer, said really struck me. (He said this in Mandarin and I translated.)

    Last Tuesday in a press conference in Santa Clara, he stressed the importance of following your dreams: "When we started this our parents were not for it, because since we were born, our lives were devoted to studying and learning. But we found our interests in music. So when you have a big dream, don't worry about it later not working, because my mom would never have thought I would have a concert here in the U.S. Everybody has dreams, but you must first have faith in your dreams, because one day you will accomplish that dream."
    Tuesday, February 22, 2005

    Jay-Z in Vegas and Mayday in San Jose

    Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.

    I was in Vegas, and besides seeing old high school friends, I caught a glimpse of Mr. Hova himself, Jay-Z. He was cashing out his chips when we were (except I'm sure he didn't win it from Casino War like we did).

    The mega-millionaire was at the Bellagio, jokingly complaining that the cashier was ripping him off. He was wearing his Rocawear clothes line and a doo-rag. Not many people recognized him that Sunday morning, so he leisurely strolled with a bodyguard, almost three times his size, through the crowd to a black limo parked outside. He probably was on his way to Denver, where his girl, Beyonce, was performing at the NBA All-Star Game -- they had courtside seats.

    He most likely stayed there for the Magic fashion show, which showcased men's apparel and accessories last week. Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas debuted his I.Am clothing line there last Tuesday (Feb.15th). Also rumored to be in Vegas, at a Pamela Anderson Magic party in the Palm's club Rain, were: Russell Simmons, Dennis Rodman, Playboy's Miss January Destiny Davis, and NFL star Jevon Kearse. While at a Tuesday party, Beyonce and Jay-Z, were seen at a Phat Farm party at Palm's restaurant, Little Buddha.

    While in Vegas, I checked out the club scene and came home to see the Mayday concert Sunday night in San Jose - more on that in this week
    Thursday, February 17, 2005

    Mayday in San Jose

    Yesterday I interviewed the very popular Taiwanese rock boy band Mayday at Santa Clara's Marriott.

    The five members were fun to talk to. All of them had feathered hair, and dressed as if they just stepped out of Urban Outfitters. Bassist Matthew Tsai wore cargo pants so big, that he repeatedly tied the belt strings together to make it stay up.

    They all poked fun at drummer Ming. He was the member of the band who had been in the states for the longest period of time (in Los Angeles for some months), so they assumed his English was the best.

    But, when they stopped for lunch Monday, one of the waiters was carrying a lot and exclaimed, "Heavy!"

    To which Ming responded, "Heavy, right?"

    The band was like, "That's all you know? You repeat the same word?"

    Turned out that's how he survived those months.

    Their show this Sunday will be a little more stripped down than their regular shows in Taiwan, and more intimate, says lead singer Ashin.

    They do want to have a musical conversation with the audience, says guitarist Stone. When they jump, they want the audience to jump, when they dance, the audience to dance. They don't want anybody sitting.

    To encourage this singing and dancing at the concert, there will be no assigned seats, so arrive early, says the band.

    So this Sunday ch-check them out. I'll have a concert review in the Mercury either Tuesday or Wednesday.

    WHAT: Mayday along with Fish Leong
    WHERE: San Jose State Event Center Arena, 209 S. 7th Street, San Jose
    WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 2/20
    TIX: $40, $75; (408) 998-8497, (415) 421-8497 or
    WHY: They're a fun bunch who aspire to be the Taiwanese U2 or Bon Jovi
    Wednesday, February 16, 2005

    Maxwell with KYLD and Mos Def in San Francisco

    Last night I met up with KYLD-FM (94.9) promotions director Ray Wong.

    It was nice to commiserate and rave with him about being members of a minority in the media business.

    He talked about breaking K-Ci & Jojo's song "All My Life" for the Bay Area.

    The funny thing is, he said, is that while working the music business you can't be a groupie yourself. Still everybody has somebody they love. His idol would be Maxwell, and when he met the smooth crooner, Wong told him how much he respected the artist's work. And, Maxwell was surprisingly humble, answering that the comment meant a lot.

    For a night of pure hip-hop, ch-check it out:

    WHAT: Mos Def Concert After Party
    WHERE: Club 6, 60 6th St., between Market & Mission, San Francisco
    WHEN: 9 p.m. tonight 2/16 to 2 a.m. Thursday
    TIX: $10 presale; $15 at the door;
    WHY: There will be a meet and greet with Dead Prez

    WHAT: Goldenchyld and Dimitiris Mykonos
    NorCal DJ & Music Production Academy, 600 Townsend Street, Suite 190W, San Francisco, (510) 847-7900;
    WHEN: 6-8 p.m. tonight, 2/16
    TIX: Free seminar, but space limited, come early!
    WHY: A lesson in dj-ing

    WHAT: DJ Premier, D.J.P., Haul & Mason, DJ Zeph and the Oakland Faders
    Mighty, 119 Utah St. San Francisco
    WHEN: 9 p.m.tonight 2/16 to 2 a.m.Thursday; early arrival suggested, space limited!
    TIX: 21+; free admission with RSVP at
    WHY: no cover to see some of the best DJ's
    Tuesday, February 15, 2005

    Alicia Keys at Grammy's, Ashlee Simpson versus Kelly Osbourne and Bright Eyes

    On Grammy's, the usual suspects won again on the female side: Alicia Keys and Norah Jones. So I was wondering, why any other female hasn't been able to step up. (By the way, Alicia Keys' concert on March 20th at the Paramount in Oakland is sold out already.)

    And, why did singers like Ashlee Simpson make it while Kelly Osbourne didn't? They're in the same genre - pop-punk - and use the same promotion machine, reality television.

    I talked this over with my editor, who had one conclusion: looks. Also, Kelly isn't someone you would introduce to your parents and invite over for dinner; Ashlee is.

    Anyway, for tonight, if you're still in the Valentine's Day spirit, ch-check out Anthony Hamilton. His Ruby Skye show may be sold out, but the after-party isn't!

    WHAT: The Official "House of Soul Afterparty"
    WHERE: Velvet Lounge, 443 Broadway, San Francisco
    WHEN: 9 p.m. tonight, 2/15
    TIX: $10 guest list: arrive by 10:15 p.m. to assure guest list;
    WHY: Check out Grammy nominated Anthony Hamilton

    Also tonight, for those who've had enough of Valentine's Day:

    WHAT: Bright Eyes
    WHERE: Berkeley Community Theatre, 1930 Allston Way, Berkeley
    WHEN: 8 p.m. tonight, 2/15
    TIX: $26.50; (408) 998-8497, (415) 421-8497 or
    WHY: Bright Eyes makes perfect music for wallowing after the break up
    Monday, February 14, 2005

    Valentine's, On Ensemble, and Picasso

    Happy Valentine's everyone! Here's a story in the Mercury News that tugs at your heartstrings, about a couple that stayed together on "borrowed time."

    On Saturday I checked out Stanford's Pan-Asian festival - specifically the On Ensemble. This group takes the label Asian American to a whole new level by fusing taiko with the turntable. The effect is neat, though I wish they used two turntables and weaved in some old school hip-hop on top of the jazzy taiko playing. Here's their website, ch-check them out.

    Saturday night, I drove to Sausalito to see a Picasso show at Fingerhut Gallery. There was one painting that struck me - an etching with silver and gold criss-crosses that ran for $15,000. It looked like chicken scratches. It was so expensive because the etching was hand-signed and Picasso hardly signed any of his etchings.

    Tonight, for a mellow Valentine's, ch-check it out:

    WHAT: Garden State
    The Independent, 628 Divisadero Street, San Francisco
    WHEN: 8 p.m. tonight, 2/14
    TIX: Free, 2 drink minimum
    WHY: A movie for twenty-somethings

    And for a more upbeat Valentine's...

    WHAT: Interpol
    WHERE: Warfield, 982 Market Street, San Francisco
    WHEN: 8 p.m. tonight, 2/14
    TIX: $25; (408) 998-8497, (415) 421-8497 or
    WHY: neo-retro rock
    Friday, February 11, 2005

    Brian McKnight and Valentine's

    Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so for all you lovebirds out there, I decided to make a romantic song list for ya. R&B crooners, like Brian McKnight, top the list.

    McKnight was also one of my most memorable interviewees. When I asked him his favorite song, he serenaded me with "Rainbow Connection," Kermit style!

    So, here is my happy Valentine's list:

  • "I Swear," All-4-One
  • "Back At One," Brian McKnight
  • "Someone to Love," Jon B and Babyface
  • "Right Here Waiting," Richard Marx
  • "Hero," Enrique Iglesias
  • "True," Ryan Cabrera

  • And here's a list for the heartbroken:

    "Nobody Knows," Tony Rich
  • "U Got It Bad," Usher
  • "Water Runs Dry," Boyz II Men
  • "Over and Over," Nelly
  • "When Can I See You Again," Babyface

  • And this weekend, ch-check it out:


    WHAT: Amoeba Music Customer Appreciation Jam
    WHERE: Club 6, 60 6th St., between Market & MissionSan Francisco
    WHEN: 9 p.m. - 4 a.m. tonight, 2/11
    TIX: $5; wear Amoeba clothing and get in for free
    WHY: all kinds of bands - rock, indie, new wave, punk '80s, hip-hop, breaks, beats, funk, house and soul

    WHAT: Fresh
    WHERE: Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St. (btwn. 17th & 18th St.)
    WHEN: 9 p.m. tonight, 2/11
    TIX: $10
    WHY: An up-and-comers live showcase with such groups as Felonious, Lunar Heights, and Unified School District


    WHAT: Lea Salonga
    WHERE: Nob Hill Masonic Center, 1111 California St., San Francisco
    WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday 2/12
    TIX: $35-$200;
    WHY: The woman behind the voice that made Mulan a convincing warrior and Jasmine a believable princess is stepping out on her first US-tour. She's quite funny actually, and said that, "The show is, like, 2 1/2 hours, and half of that is me talking."


    WHAT: Matisyahu
    WHERE: Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market St., San Francisco
    WHEN: 8 p.m. Sunday, 2/13
    TIX: $12;
    WHY: A Hasidic Jewish reggae artist - You have to see him to see how he mixes the cultures!
    Thursday, February 10, 2005

    Ashlee and Jessica Simpson

    I interviewed Ashlee Simpson this morning and she was very sweet and straightforward. Let's just say she answered all my questions (like the ones about SNL and the Orange Bowl) with grace, just like her big sis, Jessica. More to come next week - the article prints on Feb. 19th.

    On Jessica, when I interviewed her last July, she was not the dumb blonde portrayed on MTV, but savvy enough to play up this stereotype. She did it in the past to get guys, she said, and now it's working for her career. She basically thinks out loud, she said.

    In person, Jessica, like Ashlee on the phone, was very personable. She looked like a living Barbie and was shorter than I thought - in heels she was just a little taller than me. (I'm barely 5'1''.)

    Wednesday, February 09, 2005

    Martin Luther in Oakland, Jeff Chang in San Jose and Ashlee Simpson questions anyone?


    Check out my story today about funky soul singer Martin Luther.

    He was great to talk to, and one of the few artists I've spoken to that was savvy about both the artistic and the business side of making music. He told me that he loves Thai food and he was heading to London for a trip, so I recommended a great chain (Patara) that has a restaurant there.

    By, the way, I'm planning to interview Ashlee Simpson tomorrow - so does anyone have questions you want me to ask her?

    And, last night I was among those invited to celebrate Jeff Chang's book release at a party in San Francisco. His track record is very impressive:

    His current book, "Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation," was sold out one hour into the party. He's also helped found hip-hop indie label Quannum Projects, and has also been the Senior Editor of Politics at Russell Simmons' and founding editor of ColorLines Magazine.)

    Many of the usual suspects were there - cultural critic Oliver Wang, Lyrical Swords author Adisa Banjoko, and Youth Radio's Nishat Kurwa - local hip-hop heads and writers.

    Jeff was smart to partner up with a local SF designer, Michael Stern, who sold some cleverly designed shirts based on the book. For example one has the letters of "hip hop" drawn using fists and handcuffs. Here's his site, ch-check it out:

    To top it off, Jeff decided to thank his wife for helping support him this far. What a way to head into Valentine's weekend.

    For those who want to ch-check his book out, he has a reading tomorrow in San Jose's MACLA. So, if you're not too busy grubbin' on Chinese food, ch-check it out!

    WHAT: Reading with Jeff Chang "Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation"
    WHERE: Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, Castellano Playhouse, 510 S. First St., San Jose; (408) 998-2783
    WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
    TIX: Free
    WHY: Get your book signed!

    Also, tonight in the city:
    WHAT: Riddims Couture
    WHERE: Soluna, 272 McAllister St. @ Larkin, SF
    WHEN: 10 p.m. - 2 a.m.
    TIX: 21+; free
    WHY: Every Wednesday, this party showcases women in reggae and hip-hop.
    Tuesday, February 08, 2005

    San Jose Graffiti artist Scape Martinez's art on display in city hall

    If you get the chance to visit San Jose's City Hall, graffiti artist Scape Martinez has a number of paintings hanging in vice-mayor Cindy Chavez's office (801 N. 1st street on the 6th floor suite 600).

    They will be there through February.

    When he emailed to tell me, he joked, "Not bad for a tired graff guy huh?" Here's his web site as well - - his work is sick!
    Monday, February 07, 2005

    "The Chinese Rap Master" in San Jose and Kodo in Berkeley

    I had a percussion filled weekend, so luckily my ears aren't still ringing.

    Saturday afternoon in San Jose, I went to see the "Chinese Rap Master" - with that kind of moniker, I had to check him out. This "master," otherwise known as Wen Bin Lin, was not the traditional kind of emcee. Basically, his version of beat boxing was to clap bamboo together and his rhymes were stories from dynasty times in Chinese.

    He calls himself a "rapper" to re-introduce Chinese history in a format relevant to kids. So all last week he visited some South Bay schools to showcase his art, in order to make his "old school" cool again.

    Then, Sunday, I watched the world renowned taiko group Kodo in Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. I love how taiko rumbles from the stage to your stomach.

    My favorite parts were:

  • when they did the wave with drum beating

  • when a kid behind us "broke wind" just as the group was at a dramatic crescendo

  • when they rolled out a gigantic drum (they could of fit three of me inside there) on a float and two artists pounded it

  • the encore, when everyone had a different drum and one was so big, the artist didn't bother with two drumsticks, he just had one

  • Finally, it was nice to see females in their group drumming - I heard it's been a recent phenomenon.

    Tonight, ch-check it out:

    WHAT: Something Corporate with Straylight Run
    WHERE: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco
    WHEN: 7 p.m. tonight, 2/7
    TIX: $18.50; (408) 998-8497, (415) 421-8497 or
    WHY: Fun pop-punk
    Friday, February 04, 2005

    Hitch and Dresden Dolls

    Lots to talk about today!

  • Channel 104.9's birthday party last Friday was a blast. Even though some performance artists accompanying the Dresden Dolls band were dressed up like ghouls and pushing people about, I really enjoyed the party. The best band was Collective Soul. Keep that band on your radars; their alternative crooning was so sweet, it spoke to your soul. It was the kind of music you instinctively close your eyes to.

  • Here are video clips from the party's frenetic headliner, Dresden Dolls

  • Also, I caught a preview of Will Smith's new movie last night, "Hitch." Although the previews do give a lot away, and the endings to chick flicks are always obvious, I enjoyed it. Let me put this way, my friend (who is a cop) loved it enough to want to buy the DVD when it come out.

  • This weekend, ch-check it out:


    WHAT: Hair and Fashion Show
    WHERE: Simone's, 380 Embarcadero (next to Mingles), Oakland
    WHEN: 9 p.m. tonight, 2/4
    TIX: $20;
    WHY: Hip-hop, R&B, reggae, dancehall and old school grooves

    WHAT: Swerve Friday's
    WHERE: Zebra Lounge, 447 Broadway, San Francisco
    WHEN: 6:30 p.m. tonight, 2/3
    TIX: 21+; upscale clothing required; guest list free before 10:30 p.m.; discount afterwards;
    WHY: Celebrating Mardi Gras with R&B and hip-hop

    WHAT: B-Boy/B-Girl Jam
    WHERE: Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell St., SF
    WHEN: 8 p.m. tonight, 2/3
    TIX: All ages; $13@ the door
    WHY: Live music by Top Rockerz Breakbeat Band (Mirv, Brain, House, Dr. Ware & Adrian Isabell) and performances by Extra Credit/Sisterz of the Underground, plus cash prizes for best bboys and bgirls


    WHAT: Damon Wayans
    WHERE: San Jose Improv, 62 S 2nd St, San Jose
    WHEN: 7 p.m. & 9 p.m. Sat.; 7 p.m. & 9 p.m. Sun.
    TIX: $33-37;
    WHY: See the funny guy behind "Homey the Clown," "My Wife and Kids," and "In Living Color."

    WHAT: Super Bowl Party
    WHERE: 330 Ritch, San Francisco (between 3rd and 4th St. off Townsend)
    WHEN: 8 p.m. Sunday, 2/6
    TIX: 21+
    WHY: Get ready for Valentine's with a discussion on the difficulties of dating in the South Bay.

    Wednesday, February 02, 2005

    Snoop Dogg suit and Hot 97 repercussions

    We interrupt the regularly scheduled Asian American Music Conference stories, for some music news:

    Just as he was becoming the spokesman for videogames and phones - Snoop Dogg has been hit with a $25 million lawsuit alleging sexual assault among other things. The makeup artist filing the lawsuit is the same woman who was hit with a lawsuit in December by Snoop alleging that the woman was trying to extort $5 million from him.

    The woman, who did Snoop's makeup when he was filling in as host for ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live show, alleges that members of the rapper's entourage drugged her with spiked champagne before they assaulted her. She also named the Jimmy Kimmel Live show in the suit for allegedly providing the rapper with champagne and marijuana.

    And to follow up on the Hot 97 Tsunami song: morning show personality Todd Lynn and producer Rick Delgado have been terminated. The radio station's parent company, Emmis Communications, also will donate $1 million to Give2Asia. As for the other members of the morning team -- Miss Jones, DJ Envy and Tasha Hightower - they have been suspended for two weeks and their salaries for that time have also been donated to Give2Asia.

    And, according to spokespeople from the Asian American Music Conference, McDonald's, an advertiser on Hot 97, pulled ads from the station and instead put money into the conference, where it promoted the Web site. Here are lines from that webpage (

    Tell me if you think this it's an odd way of reaching out to Asian-Americans: "We're Asian and Pacific Islander Americans and our diverse cultures and our everyday American lifestyle are becoming one. We're hanging on to our great traditions while we move to the beat of the times. We honor our heritage and we love being Americans. From high fashion to high tech, from Asian Pacific American hip hop to haute cuisine, we're weaving the threads of our culture into the fabric of everyday American life. Whether we're celebrating one of our cultural holidays or enjoying a Big Mac sandwich, we're helping make the magic mix called America become even richer."

    Tonight, ch-check it out:

    WHAT: Man Jose: Dating Challenges in the South Bay
    WHERE: Yu-Ai Kai, 588 North 4th Street, San Jose Japantown
    WHEN: 6:30 p.m. tonight, 2/3
    TIX: Recommended donation w/dinner: $10, $15 or $20Recommended donation for program and refreshments only: $5
    WHY: Get ready for Valentine's with a discussion on the difficulties of dating in the South Bay.

    Dan the Automator in Burlingame

    In between panels at the Asian American Music Conference I had the chance to talk with Dan the Automator.

    I find that many DJ's I interview have a difficult time expressing themselves verbally -- as if they need their turntables to express themselves. But the Automator was almost automatic.

    He had some simple advice for me about balancing a large workload. He said to do what was needed in the time you have -- and things you don’t need to do, well, don't do them. He was all about efficiency.

    For tonight, be like Dan the Automator, and try out your deejaying skills at:
    WHERE: Sublounge Bar, 628 20th st. @ 3rd st. FRISCO
    WHEN: 9 p.m. - 2 a.m. tonight, 2/2
    WHY: Bring your beats and sign up!
    Tuesday, February 01, 2005

    Asian American Music Conference in Burlingame

    Over the weekend, I went to 104.9's birthday party at Zoe Nightclub in San Jose and also attended the Asian American Music Conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Burlingame. Both were amazing -- I'll elaborate more on both throughout the week.

    The Asian American Music Conference had such A-list guests as producer E-A-Ski, KMEL DJ Chuy Gomez and Dan "the Automator" Nakamura.

    Many of the panels concentrated on how to make good music, but the panelists emphasized that this "it" quality came from inside - it wasn't a formula.

    It's like this graphic novel I recently read, "Blankets," which is about finding and losing your first love. It has to be one of the best books I've read this year.

    The emotions in the novel are so raw, that the author, Craig Thompson, feels like a close friend that has called you after a fit of tears. It's real and relevant, like the graphic equivalent of The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. You can tell Thompson was writing for himself and not for anyone else. It wasn't a formula.

    Photo of Marian Liu by Stephanie Grace Lim, Mercury News
    You can e-mail me at