Monday, April 20, 2015

The Top 10 Shoegaze Bands of All Time, or, The Godlike Genius of Shoegaze

I'm still buzzing from the Ride show at the Warfield"Cool Your Boots" has been running through my head non-stop for a week (although there was a break, at least in my sleep, when I had a dream which involved listening to Cedric Im Brooks). Since the show I've been listening to a lot of shoegaze (and a little chimp rock -- anyone remember that?). 
Long sleeves, stripes, and androgyny
Long sleeves, stripes, and androgyny -- the alternative was San Diego Sizzler Chic

I've also met a couple of people since getting back from San Francisco with whom the subject of music arose. Two of them were on their way from Coachella to Brokechella and were talking about "soul" (in the sense that Maroon 5 are soul, I suppose) act, Fitz & the Tantrums. No one had heard of Ride or had the haziest notion of what shoegaze means. When I told them that Ride had played at Coachella they looked incredulous.

I realize that twenty years ago is forever when you're in your twenties but if you'd mentioned Led Zeppelin,The Doors, or psychedelia to a college kid in the 1980s they would've been familiar with them at least as concepts. Maybe even if your favorite pretendie bands are all signed to the world's largest corporate music label you still might have have at least heard of Creation Records. Seriously, they were fine -- but I wouldn't at all be surprised if after I dropped these kids off in the Arts District if they immediately took to Twitter, stating "OMG idk wat is Ride and wat is shoo gays LOL?" 
Paul Lester “investigates” – Whatever happened to Shoegazing? – 12th September 1992
Whether one is a fan of shoegaze or not, is that it was that last moment in rock's history when something happened that was both significantly different from what had come before but still recognizable rock music. Shoegazers pushed the boundaries of rock with ethereal ambiance and post-psychedelic noise; beyond those boundaries lay Metal Machine Music or Ambient 1: Music for Airports -- which whatever you think them have little to do musically with the rock 'n' roll of Jackie BrenstonLittle RichardChuck Berry, and the like. 
After the roar of shoegaze subsided, rock music retreated into safe territory and we got regular-guy roofie rock bands like Better Than EzraDishwallaThe Verve PipeSugar Ray, and Oasis. In the 20 years since there have been great rock bands like The Libertines, but they like the rest offered revivalism and pastiche. After shoegaze rock became a genre like ragtimesoul, and hip-hop; comprised of a canon of oldies and to be DJed at bar mitzvahs and performed live for audiences more interested Jamie Chung's fab festival wear than the music being played... especially when so much corporate pretendie sounds scarily like Ooh Yeah!-era Hall & Oates shilling shoes for Geico.
The Joshua Light Show - Liquid Loops (1969) by Cecily Hoyt
Here's a listicle that you'll hopefully enjoy -- I'll wait for you to get the smoke machine...
*****
10. CATHERINE WHEEL

I liked "Black Metallic" and "I Want to Touch You" so much that I nearly picked up a copy of FermenfromBMG. When they released Chrome they claimed they'd been unhappy with Ferment... which struck me as troublesome because it was to me the superior record. Chrome had some good songs. The same couldn't be said for Happy Days, which saw a bro-ham vibe began to take over. Did everyone in the band always have asoul patch? Where'd that puka shell necklace come from? Why are you covering Roger Waters-era Pink Floyd?
9. BOO RADLEYS

The Boo RadleysIchabod and I was not especially memorable or original. Everything's Alright Forever swapped J. Mascis affectations for Kevin Shields ones, which suggest a lateral move but came with a better record. Giant Steps was exactly what the title suggests... and also a fairly step away from shoegaze. Then they made that song "Wake up Boo!" which put me off so completely that I have never listened to anything from that point on.  
8. SWERVEDRIVER
Swervedriver sang songs like "Son of Mustang Ford." Their singer, Adam Franklin, had dreadlocks. They toured with Soundgarden when Soundgarden were still somewhat interesting. These are things to remember whenever someone characterizes shoegaze as a wimpy, listless, miasma or whines about the "unbearable whiteness of indie."  After Raise (1991) and Mezcal Head (1993) I lost touch with them but they released Ejector Seat Reservation (1995), 99th Dream (1998), and after reforming, I Wasn't Born to Lose You came out earlier this year.
7. REVOLVER
Probably encouraged by the rivalry-stoking British music press, Revolver made the ballsy claim to be better than Ride. They weren't, which probably made people take them less seriously than they would've if they merely claimed to be better than, say, porridge merchants like Slowdive. Revolver released the 45 andCrimson EPs in 1991 but didn't get around to releasing a debut LP until 1993's Cold Water Flat, which is not a bad record just probably not shoegaze enough to please their by-then dwindling fanbase nor in line with where British rock was going at the time (which was backwards). They recorded demos for a follow-up but split in 1994.

6. PALE SAINTS
When understandably people wonder why American shoegazers often display goth tendencies I point to4AD shoegazers like the Pale Saints. They were on 4AD and although they started out poppy, the quickly developed a rather "black candles and dead roses" vibe with songs like "Hair Shoes" which endeared them to the more ethereal end of gothdom. Of course, they also gave us "Throwing Back the Apple," which was one of the best shoegaze singles.
5. LUSH
Lush too were on 4AD and sometimes a bit goth with a lowercase 'g.' Their original singer quit the band to sing with Pale Saints, in fact. Without her, Lush released the impressive six-track Scar in 1989. The Mad Love EP followed, as did five singles, before they got around to releasing and LP -- which as silly as it sounds (and was), was something on which a lot of importance used to be placed. Spooky finally arrived in 1992 and received some criticism for Robin Guthrie's (Cocteau Twins) muddy production although I think it works great. It was followed by Split, which didn't do as well, and then their final album, which wasn't at all shoegaze but instead offered slightly retro guitar pop (Britpop demanded as much that produced the minor classic "Ciao!," a duet between Miki Berenyi and Jarvis Cocker.
4. CHAPTERHOUSE
When they began in 1987, Chapterhouse were lumped in (and performed with) latter day space rockerslike LoopSpacemen 3, and The Telescopes. By 1990, when they released their first EP, Freefall, they were clearly deeply influenced by the then prevailing Baggy scene. The Sunburst EP suggested that they’d discovered dream-pop pioneers A.R. Kane. Songs from both EPs were included on their debut,Whirlpoolwhich was followed by the more cohesive Blood Music. Led off by the track “Mesmerise,” it was a step forward for the band but in a year dominated by Ace of BaseNirvanaSuede, and the Wu-Tang Clan, out of step with the times.
3. MY BLOODY VALENTINE
My Bloody Valentine were the creators. The Irish band began in 1983 owing more to The Birthday Partyand The Cramps but by 1987 they were making slightly shambolic twee-pop like that year’s “Sunny Sundae Smile.” After original singer Dave Conway bowed out, “Strawberry Wine” suggested that changes were afoot but “You Made Me Realise” was revelatory. Isn't Anything topped that and according to the jvox populi, 1991’s Loveless was the pinnacle of shoegaze. 22 years later they released its follow-up, mbv which I know some people bought and were charitable toward but I don't exactly hear them going on about it in the same way.
2. MOOSE
My Bloody Valentine may’ve been the band who created what came to be known as shoegaze but Moosewere the first to be slapped with that tag. In 1991 they released “Jack,” the Cool Breeze EP and theReprise EP. Their debut full-length, XYZ, was like the music that had come before, dense, atmospheric, and adventurous — if only remotely shoegaze. Honey BeeLive A Little, Love A Lot, and after a five year wait,High Ball Me! followed — all of which are pretty sterling stuff but bafflingly ignored by record buyers and music streaming services. In the 21st Century that's like not existing. 
1. RIDE
Ride were not the originators, nor the first shoegazers — but they were they best. What they did with melodies, harmonies, and feedback is so wonderful and complete on its own that they opened my eyes to the fact that a band could have crap lyrics but still be utterly amazing. Their debut, Nowhere, came out in 1990 and was better than any shoegaze statement before it. Its follow-up, Going Blank Again, was even better by some measure. Carnival of Light was unfairly savaged as even though it was a major shift in sound, is still a masterpiece. Tarantula, on the other hand, was quite rightly savaged and deleted after a week. EvenTarantula has its fans, actually (their names are Fred and Matt). After that they broke up but following the example of My Bloody Valentine (in 2007), Swervedriver (in 2007), Chapterhouse (in 2008), and Slowdive (in 2014), they decided to give it another go and so far so good. Now if only Moose would come back!
*****
Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in writing advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other 21st century variations of spam. Brightwell’s written work has appeared in AmoeblogdiaCRITICS, and KCET Departures. His work has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County StoreSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured in the Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistEastsider LABoing Boing,Los Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of his maps are available from 1650 Gallery and on other products from Cal31. He is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Friday, April 17, 2015

No Enclave — Exploring Taiwanese Los Angeles

Diversity has long been part of the fabric of Los Angeles and Southern California. Humans first arrived here at least 13,000 years ago and more than twenty Native American nations made their home here before the Spanish Conquest. The Spanish pueblo of Los Angeles was itself founded by people of NativeAfricanEuropean, and mixed ancestries and in its early years as an American city it attracted substantial numbers of ArmeniansBasquesCanadiansChineseDutchFrenchGermansIrishItaliansJapaneseJewsMexicansRussiansSerbiansSicilians, and others. For some, ethnic enclaves came into existence (and often vanished). Other people have tended to spread out across the region rather than cluster together — which makes exploring their presence in Southern California more difficult but no less rewarding.
*****
As of the 2010 census there were 196,691 Americans who identified themselves as being of Taiwanese origin. Although suburbs like Monterey Park and Rowland Heights have been nicknamed “Little Taipei,” there’s never been an official Taiwanese enclave in Los Angeles or, as far as I know, in any other American city. Actual numbers of Taiwanese-Americans are probably larger too than the census reflects, since self identifying as Taiwanese requires first checkin "other Asian" and then writing in Taiwanese.  Despite this, Taiwanese-Americans are highly visible in California, where about 49% live, and in particular in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
CHINATOWN
Chinese dragon parades through town
Chinese dragon parades through town (1890)
Los Angeles’s original Chinatown arose around 1880 and was centered around the intersection of Alameda and Macy (now Cesar Chavez Avenue). Most of the Chinese living there had come from Guangdong in southeast China to work on the construction of railroads.
The second gateway to China City, from North Main Street, in 1938. (Harry Quillen)
The second gateway to China City, from North Main Street, in 1938. (Harry Quillen)
In 1931, Old Chinatown was chosen as the site for Union Station and a new Chinatown arose nearby around  New Chinatown and the walled China City (built partially from set pieces of 1937's The Good Earth), which opened in 1938. In the decades that followed, Chinatown additionally attracted populations of overseas ethnic Chinese, especially from Vietnam, but less often from Taiwan. Most American Chinatowns are still dominated by Cantonese whereas Mandarin and Taiwanese, the main languages spoken and understood by Taiwanese, are less common.
"Savages in Taiwan"
"Savages in Taiwan"
Archaeological evidence suggests that the island of Taiwan was first settled between 20,000 to 30,000 years ago by a people who left little evidence of themselves but may’ve been the ancestors of modern Melanesians and indigenous Australians. Some 8,000 years ago the people known to us as Austronesians settled the island.
"Savage youths resting, Formosa"
"Savage youths resting, Formosa"
The Austronesians, ancestors of Taiwan’s so-called aborigines, colonized a vast network of islands across the Indian and Pacific oceans, from Madagascar to Rapa Nui and including Hawai’iIndonesiaMalaysiaNew Zealand, and the Philippines. Efforts by the Han to settle the island were finally successful in the 16th century. They were soon joined in Taiwan in the 17th century by the Dutch and Spanish. The Portuguese called it "Ilha Formosa," meaning "beautiful island" but no, The Formosa Café in West Hollywood is not a Taiwanese joint.
TAIWAN UNDER JAPANESE RULE
Ruins of the Japanese logging town of Morisaka
Ruins of the Japanese logging town of Morisaka
Inside an abandoned Japanese building in Morisaka
Inside an abandoned Japanese building in Morisaka
The Democratic State of Taiwan formally ceded from China in May of 1898. However, the new republic was conquered by Japan in October and Taiwan remained under Japanese rule from 1898 until 1945. After Japan’s defeat in World War II, the US handed temporary administrative control of Taiwan to the Kuomintang (KMT)-administered Republic of China. The KMT were unpopular and corrupt. In 1947, a dispute between a cigarette vendor and a KMT official erupted into anti-government demonstrations which were brutally crushed and left 10,000 to 30,000 dead. It came to be known as the 228 Incident, after the date on which it began. After the uprising was crushed, martial law was instituted and a long period known as the White Terror began. In 1949, after the KMT were defeated in China’s Civil War, two million mainland Chinese fled to Taiwan in refuge and the KMT continued to rule Taiwan as a brutal dictatorship.
IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT
It was only in 1968, after the enacting of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that the first substantial numbers of Taiwanese began to arrive in the US. The act abolished the National Origins Formula which had been in place since 1921 and had excluded most African and Asian immigrants from immigrating to the US. Most of the new non-European immigrants were graduate students or professionals and most of the Taiwanese forsook Chinatowns for suburbs like Flushing in New York and in California, the suburbs of San JoseMonterey Park and others. 
THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY
Asian politics : Mas Fukai, Arthur Song, and Lily Chen (Paul Chinn)
Asian politics : Mas Fukai, Arthur Song, and Lily Chen (Paul Chinn)
Realtor Frederic Hsieh began promoting Monterey Park, located in the wester San Gabriel Valley, as the "Chinese Beverly Hills" in Hong Kong and Taiwan. In 1970, when Hsieh bought his first property,  Monterey Park was 15% Asian but almost entirely Japanese. In 1983, Lily Lee Chen became the first Asian female mayor of an American city but Taiwanese immigrants found that they weren’t always welcomed. In 1985, efforts were made to require English signage in Monterey Park and many Taiwanese moved to nearby AlhambraArcadiaNorth El MonteSan Marino, and Temple City. Additionally, with conditions significantly improved in Taiwan, there was less incentive to leave that country and immigration from Taiwan decreased although the slack was largely picked up by HoaHongkongers, and Mainlanders.
Garden
Hsi Lai Temple
InsideTemple
Hsi Lai Temple
At the other end of the valley, Taiwanese settled in Diamond BarHacienda HeightsRamonaRowland Heights, and Walnut. When plans were announced in 1981 to build Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple (佛光山西來寺) in Hacienda Heights, some residents expressed concern over the possibility of pre-dawn gongs, loud chanting, conversion of Christian children, and most amusingly, animal sacrifices. Despite hostility, the temple was completed in 1988 and, not surprisingly to anyone moderately educated about major religions, there was vegetarian food, not blood sports.
OPENING OF TAIWAN
Taiwanese rally and march (Michael Haering)
Taiwanese rally and march (Michael Haering, 1978)
The KMT’s leader, Chiang Kai-Shek, died in 1975. His son, Chiang Ching-kuo, assumed power in 1978 (after his father’s vice premier had served the rest of the elder Chiang's term).  In December of that year, the US normalized relations with the People's Republic of China, a move which was welcomed by some Taiwanese-Americans even as many rejected the PROC's claims that Taiwan is part of China. Chiang Ching-kuo relaxed some of the KMT’s harsh authoritarian rules but, although he assumed the title of Chairman rather than Director General, the junior dictator remained in power until his death in 1988. Martial Law ended the following year and Taiwan opened finally opened its doors to the world.
NEW TAIWAN CINEMA
Taiwan’s cinema had first gained international attention with Beijing-born Hu Jinquan (胡金銓) — better known as King Hu, who pioneered the wuxia subgenre of martial arts films first at Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers studio before moving to Taiwan in the late 1960s where he made classics like Dragon Gate Inn (龍門客棧) and A Touch of Zen (俠女).
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9uyqUAols0]
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D66F5clPAh4]
Taiwan's cinemas suffered from as VHS became more popular and Hong Kong films flooded theaters. Taiwan's Central Motion Picture Corporation responded by promoting Taiwanese directors like Chen Kun HaoEdward YangHou Hsiao-HsienKo I-ChenSylvia ChangTao Te-Chen, and Ang Lee.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F6tSorwYqw]
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kozQtL00L1o]
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv_ed5VmoD8]
After making Pushing Hands (1992) and The Wedding Banquet (1993) in the US, Ang Lee returned to Taiwan to make 1994’s Eat Drink Man Woman and again for 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. On television, the modern era of Taiwanese drama kicked off with Big Hospital, Little Doctor (2000). Although nowhere near as well-known internationally as Korean dramas, since 2006 Taiwan has produced about a dozen or so of the series a year.
FOUR ASIAN DRAGONS
Chiang Ching-kuo's successor, Lee Teng-hui, was unlike the Chiangs, born in Taiwan. During his rule he introduced more democratic reforms and was ultimately expelled by the KMT for his support of Taiwanese independence from China (the KMT view the Republic of China as the legitimate ruler of mainland China and Taiwan). Taiwan’s economy developed rapidly in the 1990s and, along with Hong KongKorea, and Singapore, it came to be known as one of Asia’s Four Little Dragons (or sometimes the Four Asian Tigers). When I was a child, a sticker stating “Made in Taiwan” or “Made in R.O.C.” was usually affixed to a cheap toy or low-tech appliance such as an alarm clock. When I visited my sister in Taipei in 2010, many of my friends still thought of Taiwan in that light; most of the rest got it confused with Thailand
Hualien in 2010
Hualien in 2010
Nowadays Taiwan as a highly developed country which and that label, when seen, is more likely to be found on a bicycle or piece of sophisticated electronic equipment. Today (not counting very small sovereignties like MonacoSingapore, and Vatican City), only Bangladesh is more densely populated than Taiwan. Taiwan implemented a modern health care system, the National Health Insurance (NHI) in 1995. Taipei 101, built in 2004, was the world’s tallest building until 2010. Taiwan High Speed Rail opened 2007.
Taipei Panorama Night View 丹霞射影四山靜 (Sharleen Chao)
Taipei Panorama Night View 丹霞射影四山靜 (Sharleen Chao)
Zuoying Station-Taiwan High Speed Rail 高鐵左營站
Zuoying Station-Taiwan High Speed Rail 高鐵左營站
SECOND NEW WAVE
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilUGYWqpLl4]
A second new wave of Taiwanese Cinema introduced Chen Kuo-fuHuang Ming-chuanJay ChouLeste ChenStan LaiTsai Ming-liangTsui Siu MingTom LinYi Chih-yenYonfan Manshih, and Wu Nien-jen. In the US, there is a surprisingly long history of Chinese-American film, mainly produced in San Francisco’s Chinatown (birthplace of Bruce Lee) but it likely wasn’t until Peter Wang’s A Great Wall (1986) that a Taiwanese-American directed a feature film.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptrrjIfSDYs]
Taiwanese-American filmmakers whose careers followed include Arvin ChenJohn M. ChuBuena Park-raised Justin Lin (Shopping for FangsBetter Luck TomorrowThe Fast and the Furious 3–6), Melissa Yu,  Ted Fu (of Wong Fu), and Tiffany Frances.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpFugFRdaRM]
Well known Taiwanese-American actors include Jimmy TsaiLucy LiuMichelle Krusciec, and Roger Fan. Newscaster Connie Chung, restaurateur/writer Eddie Huang (upon whose life the television series Fresh Off the Boat is based), basketball player Jeremy Lin, dancer Sandra Chiuand my occasional California Fool's Gold companion Bruce Chan are also all Taiwanese-American.
*****
Although there is no official Little Taipei, most Taiwanese-Americans in Southern California live in the San Gabriel Valley. Eight of the US’s ten most ethnic Chinese-dominated cities are in that valley and many if not most of them have roots in Taiwan. The San Gabriel Valley is also home to substantial numbers of BurmeseFilipinoHmongIndianIndonesianJapaneseKoreanLaoThai, and Vietnamese and its uniquely Pan-Asian-American culture is to me one of the most interesting aspects of Los Angeles's diversity.
After Monterey Park, the city with the second largest percentage of Asian inhabitants is Cerritos, located not in the San Gabriel Valley but Southeast Los Angeles, a region with it's own largely Asian suburbs like Artesia and La Mirada -- although their populations more often come from the Philippines and Korea, respectively. More than 58% of Cerritos’s residents are Asian and ethnic Chinese comprise more than 11% of the population (Koreans comprise the largest ethnic group, at more than 17%). In Orange County, which is home to about 9,500 Taiwanese, Irvine has emerged as the undisputed epicenter of Taiwanese culture.
TAIWANESE FOOD
There are several culinary contributions associated with Taiwan.  Mongolian Barbecue is neither Mongolian nor barbecue. First appearing in the 1950s in Taipei, it's actually derived from Japanese teppanyaki, but the Japanese being unpopular for their decades of occupation were replaced with the suitably exotic Mongolians. Not surprisingly, nomadic Mongolians traditionally rely on their herd animals for their nutritional needs and have no tradition of lugging around gargantuan iron griddles across the steppes.
Rilakkuma shares bubble tea with a friend ()
Rilakkuma shares bubble tea with a friend (autumnmist)
Bubble tea (aka boba) — invented in Taichung in the 1980s and now Instagram fodder for millions of teenage girls and other fans of tapioca balls in their drinks. Much older popular Taiwanese dishes include snow ice (aka baobing), and stinky tofu. There are also all kinds of vegetables consumed in Taiwan uncommon elsewhere and probably in some cases unique: Fiddlehead fern and water asparagus are just a couple that come to mind, but that's partly because I don't know the names of many. Monika Treut's documentary The Raw and the Cooked is an entertaining place to start (or revisit).
Not us. No Din Tai Fung for us. (jslander)
Not us. No Din Tai Fung for us. (jslander)
Taiwanese chains represented in the Southland include A & J RestaurantBoiling PointDin Tai Fung85C Bakery CaféFour Sea RestaurantMeet Fresh101 Noodle ExpressQuicklyTen Ren Tea, and Tapioca Express. Taiwanese grocery chain 99 Ranch Market was founded in Little Saigon in 1984 by Taiwanese-American Roger H. Chen. In 2013, the Overseas Community Affairs Council instituted the Overseas Quality Restaurant  program which awards outstanding Taiwanese restaurants with a OQR emblem, several of which can be found in Southern California.
The first, crazy 626 Night Market in 2012
The first, crazy 626 Night Market in 2012
Although night markets exist in China, IndonesiaMalaysiathe PhilippinesSingapore, and Thailand, they are perhaps popular nowhere more than in Taiwan, where they flourish within every reasonably large city. In 2012, Taiwanese-American couple Janet and Jonny Hwang launched the 626 Night Market, which after beginning in Pasadena moved to Arcadia. It’s now joined by the KTown Night Market in Koreatown, the Little Saigon Night Market in Little Saigon, the MPK Night Market in Monterey Park, and the OC Night Market in Costa Mesa.
Jurassic Restaurant
Jurassic Restaurant
Popular Taiwanese restaurants (or at least restaurants serving Taiwanese dishes) in Los Angeles County include A Plus Tea House, Au79 Tea Express, Bean Sprouts, Blockheads ShaveryBull Demon King Cafe, Canaan Restaurant, Class 302, Copycat Café, Dolphin Bay Café, Earthen RestaurantGood Shine Kitchen, Hot Spot, Huge Tree Pastry, Jazz Cat Restaurant, Ju Ju Shine, Kang Kang Food Court, Lee’s Garden, Mama Lu’s Dumpling House, Mandarin Noodle House, Mighty Boba Truck, MJ Café Express, Monja TaikerNice Time CaféNoodle King, Old Country CaféPine & Crane, Pingtung, Remy’s Noodle Palace, ROC Kitchen, SinBala Restaurant, Taipei Bistro, Tasty Noodle House, Tbay, Tofu King, Vege Paradise, Volcano Tea House, Why ThirstyWonderful Restaurant (likely the oldest Taiwanese restaurant in Los Angeles County), and Yi Mei.
Uncle Yu's Indian Theme Restaurant (626 Night Market Blog)
Uncle Yu's Indian Theme Restaurant (626 Night Market Blog)
At pijiu wu, beer is the main attraction and its consumption is encouraged by hot, salty, and often fried snack. Local pijiu wu include B20 Bar & GrillJurassic RestaurantUncle Yu’s Indian Theme Restaurant, and Wala Wala Restaurant. The piuju wu are often themed, something I first encountered at the Bavarian themed Der Löwe in Taipei. Sadly, the lavatory-themed Magic Restroom Café closed before I had a chance to experience it.
Taiwanese restaurants and those serving Taiwanese dishes in Orange County include Ah-Lien Hot PotThe Balcony Grill & BarCapital Express DrinkCha for TeaChampion FoodChef ChenChef Hung Taiwanese Beef NoodleClass 302 CaféDiho BakeryFirst SandwichFormosa Chinese RestaurantFour Sea RestaurantGuppy HouseHan Taiwanese RestaurantHome Town DeliI-Tea CaféJ.J. BakeryKingchopsLittle Sheep Mongolian Hot PotMJ Cafe ExpressNice Food RestaurantO’Shine Taiwanese KitchenPopcorn Chicken17 Cafe RamenTasty Noodle HouseTea StationTofu King, and Yu’s Garden.
TAIWANESE CULTURE
AM 1300 KAZN launched in 1993. Originally broadcasting programs in sixteen different languages, today it is in Mandarin. For people with broadcast televisions, 18.8, 31.7, 31.8, 44.3, 44.6, 44.7, 44.8, 44.9, 57.9, 62.2, and 62.6 all broadcast in Chinese — although I’m not sure which are in Cantonese, which are in Mandarin, and which are in Taiwanese or some other language. Let me know if any show glove puppetry program Pili.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAFgl5VTJII]
Taiwan's Ministry of Culture, as part of their mission to promote Taiwanese culture overseas, oversees the Taiwan Academy which operates branches in numerous countries. The Los Angeles branch, Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles, opened in Westwood (at 1137 Westwood Blvd.) in 2014 and is open from 9 am to 6 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Their programing includes free music, dance, lectures, food in Westwood and occasionally, the Diamond Bar Public Library. I was told, too, that there are free Taiwanese films every Thursday and that if one shows up early enough, usually free pizza! On 1 May 2015 the Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles is organizing the Taiwan Films in Retrospect.
The 16th annual Taiwanese American Heritage Week celebration will take place at the Cal State L.A. Student Union in University Hills on 17 and 18 May, from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm. It is scheduled to include seminars, art exhibits, glove puppetry, karaoke, live entertainment, and food. Entry is free. Cal State LA Station is served by Metrolink’s San Bernardino LineAlhambra Community TransitEast LA SolFoothill TransitMonterey Park Spirit Bus, and Metro's 7176256, and 487/489 lines.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITu4Ui2UMus]
*****
Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in writing advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other 21st century variations of spam. Brightwell’s written work has appeared in AmoeblogdiaCRITICS, and KCET Departures. His work has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County StoreSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured in the Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistEastsider LABoing Boing,Los Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of his maps are available from 1650 Gallery and on other products from Cal31. He is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.