#Upandcoming #Quarterlifer

Reclaiming the quarter-life crisis, one hashtag at a time

Defining American

Sometimes, when I hear a word, images and stories immediately come rushing into my head.


Betsy Ross sewing stars and stripes. Laura Ingalls running across the prairie. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids watching fireworks. The Oregon Trail. Hands on hearts screeching out the Star-Spangled Banner. A picture of Uncle Sam.

“Hey, you!” Uncle Sam says.

I look around.

“You!” He barks. “I want you!”

“Me?” I ask nervously. “For what?”

His index finger points at me accusingly, even though in my culture pointing is a gesture for dogs. I imagine he’s calling me out, saying: “You don’t belong here.” I look into Sam’s eyes at his white hair and beard and creamy skin and realize he’s right. As a mixed race, Chinese-American woman, these stories of America, quite literally, don’t know the half of it.  

Defininf american This  entry also appears on the Minnesota Humanities Center blog. 

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The Fag Hag Speaks

Today’s blog post was inspired by this article that’s been floating around my Facebook circles for the last few days: The Myth of the Fag Hag and Dirty Secrets of the Gay Male Subculture written by Rohin Guha. The article touches on a number of issues, but if I were to paraphrase (which, for the record, I try to avoid doing for the most part because it shortchanges people’s stories and experiences) I would say that it acknowledges the existence of a gay-male privilege and dominance which serves to dehumanize and objectify women. The article goes along to encourage gay men to break down their their adopted personas which have thus far served to perpetuate these views and treatment of women.This article really hit home for me, but maybe not in the way that you might expect.


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All About Me: Gravity – Sara Bareilles Cover

‘All About Me’ will be a new weekly (or semi-weekly, monthly, or whenever-the-heck-I-want-ly) segment on #Upandcoming #Quarterlifer where I emerge from the depths of the blog-o-sphere and come to you live! Well, as live as anything on the internet can be. I might do a vlog, a funny dance, tell a joke, do a drunk-kitchen segment or anything my (or your?) little heart desires.

This week, I have a song for you all!

This little number has been a go-to shower-singing classic for me for a while now…


Got something you wanna see or hear me do? I’ll take requests, within reason of course! Leave me a comment!

#Blogtops Challenge: Routine

A’ight y’all.

I think you can all sympathize with my plight of last minute work projects before people go into hiding during the holidays. That is why this blog post is over a week late!

This post deals with the ever-exciting topic: routine!

Now this is probably where you’d expect some riveting description of how to get ready in the morning or some uber-helpful organizational tips.

Well, I’ve never been one to do the expected!


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#Blogtops Challenge: Confessions of a Country Music Convert

Do you guys remember those survey forwards that we used to get in middle school and send around to each other? You know? The one’s you’d get on your AOL account that went something like..



Favorite Food:

Favorite Backstreet Boy:

Favorite type of music:

If you were anything like me your answer to the last question probably read something like: ANYTHING BUT COUNTRYYYYY! BLECH PUKE! With exception being that your answer was probably written in Comic Sans. 

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason a grew up with an all-out HATRED toward country music. Even just the first few notes of a banjo or harmonica was enough to send me running for the hills and reaching for the radio knob.


For this week’s #blogtop theme: TUNES, I’m coming out…

I now like country music!


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#Theoroi Reflections: My First Date with Dave Holland Prism, Liquor, and Jazz

As I mentioned in my last blog post, last weekend’s Saturday was spent at the Dakota Jazz Club listening to Dave Holland Prism with Theoroi, the young-professionals group of the Schubert Club. It was the first of our ten scheduled arts outings this season.

Being the first time at my Dakota, my first time “out-on-the-town,” and my first time seeing a jazz concert in general, I was understandably a little nervous. I was so nervous I did the thing that chicks do when they’re getting ready for a date: got ready like two hours early and then proceeded to sit around so I could be fashionably late.


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#BlogTops Challenge: Chinoiserie

Last night I had the pleasure of my first official outing with Theoroi, the young professionals group of the Schubert Club. I plan on delving deeper into our visit to the Dakota Jazz Club in an upcoming blog post. However, since the next 20-One Word #BlogTops for 20-Somethings topic is COCKTAIL, I thought I would take this opportunity to talk a bit about a new one I tried last night.



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Since I began my work at the Minnesota Humanities Center, I’ve been learning about the importance of story. Not only is story a powerful and engaging mechanism for teaching history and culture, what stories are/are not  told, who tells them, and when, provides a lens through which we can look critically at our society. The very nature of stories allows us to address current societal narratives so that we can go about creating a more inclusive and relevant societal narrative for everyone.

It seems like storytelling has been showing up wherever I go. I recently came across a tweet from the Bush Foundation:

Just a day earlier, Blois Olson tweeted an article with a similar sentiment.

Several weeks ago, this article was circulating around my social networks, urging the Twin Cities to work toward a more holistic narrative of itself: one that goes beyond Mary Tyler Moore, Snow, and the Mall of America.

The common thread between these articles is simple: the stories that we tell about ourselves matter. 


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#MNFringeReviews: Wanderlust

Ok, ok. I realize this post is WAY late. However, if you’ve seen my Twitter lately you’ll know that I’ve been busy trying to organize my life and work areas. Doesn’t mean that I care about important Twin Cities art goings-on any less!

The Minnesota Fringe is more than half over at this point, with whispers as to which shows will be selected for this Sunday’s special encore performance slot. Last week on Sunday, however, the excitement in the Rarig was of a different sort—buzzing with the energy of Fringe goers just beginning their experience.

One of those attendees was my boyfriend—a Fringe virgin. Let me tell you a little something about my boyfriend:  we are probably, in terms of interests, the most opposite people you will ever meet. For instance, while I enjoy immersing myself in random arts and cultural activities, my boyfriend finds things like this thrilling:


So he and I have this unspoken sort-of deal. I promise not to plug my ears and go “lalala” when he geeks out over science and math, and he agrees to do one “art thing” with me a month—give or take—and try not to grumble too much about it. When I told him about the Fringe Festival he was characteristically not excited—until I told him that shows were 60 minutes at most. He perked right up.

The problem then came deciding what to see. After much of the, “I don’t care” “Well, I don’t care, either” chorus, we decided on a strategy. I picked four choices that looked interesting (and had been, thus far, positively reviewed) and let him make the final decision, which is how we came to our selection: Wanderlust.

To be honest, I was a bit skeptical walking into this show. My first theatre love has always been musicals, so I usually respond better to performances with a bit more pizzazz: bigger casts, songs, dances, and what have you. How could a 60 minute show featuring just one person be captivating enough for me, let alone my “I-just-barely-tolerate-this-because-I-love-you” boyfriend?

Boy was I off-base. From the moment the lights went down at the Rarig, I was absolutely mesmerized by Martin Dockery’s storytelling. Wanderlust proved to be a funny and engaging story of one man’s search for an epiphany—with more than a hint of humor. The first thing I noticed were his hands. His long, spindly fingers reminded me of a wizard casting a spell. He even managed to captivate my boyfriend, who every time I looked over at him, he was smiling. I even heard him laugh a couple times!

In addition to his gesticulations, out-of-town performer, Dockery is probably one of the most overall physical storytellers I have ever witnessed. The epitome of his physicality manifested in his recount of falling “ill” on a train. Crawling on the floor, squatting, sliding and regaling his misfortunes in very “colorful” imagery he had the entire audience rolling in the aisles!

Every time though, after he had taken us on that journey, he managed to bring us back and serve us a nugget of wisdom. I once heard an expression something along the lines of, “First, get ‘em laughing. Then, while their mouths are open, stick the truth in.” I truly think this is something that Dockery has mastered the art of.  Even my boyfriend said that he appreciated Martin’s ability to turn life’s non-meaning into a meaning in itself. Who knew my boyfriend was such an existentialist?

Anyway, the Fringe is winding down, but if you have a chance, definitely check out Martin Dockery in Wanderlust.