Asian Avenue Magazine - August 2023

Page 10


Mike Johnston begins his term as Denver Mayor

The Dental Bar opens with innovative speakeasy concept

August 2023 Volume 18 | Issue 8
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your home is enrolled in the Lead Reduction Program, be sure to use the water pitcher and lter provided for drinking, cooking and preparing infant formula. Boiling water does not remove lead, so lter rst. Learn more at See 40 years of Southern Colorado history and diversity, through the lens of first-generation Japanese immigrant Frank Muramoto ON VIEW NOW El Pueblo History Museum Open Monday-Saturday | 10am – 4pm 301 N. Union Ave., Pueblo, CO THROUGH THE LENS: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF FRANK MURAMOTO
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on the cover

Muralist Nalye Lor, in partnership with Colorado Asian Pacific United (CAPU), works on a mural that commemorates Denver’s historic Chinatown.

Photo provided by CAPU.

Asian Avenue magazine (ISSN 1932-1449) reserves all copyrights to this issue. No parts of this edition can be reproduced in any manner without written permission. The views expressed in articles are the authors’ and not necessarily those of Asian Avenue magazine

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August 2023 | Staff 4
Find us @AsianAveMag #AsianAveMag



10 INSIDE STORY: The Dental Bar opens in Southlands with a bar—and more!

12 COVER STORY: Colorado Asian Pacific United leads the effort to reimagine Denver’s Chinatown

14 FEATURE: Mike Johnston inaugurated as mayor of Denver

16 SPOTLIGHT: Priscilla Rahn announces run for Douglas County Commissioner

18 SPOTLIGHT: Judge Victoria Klingensmith appointed to the 18th Judicial District bench

19 SPOTLIGHT: Visual retelling of the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team by Tony Moy


21 FOOD: MAKfam teams up with Novel Strand for beer pairing dinner

22 THEATRE: Short stories in BI-PASSING and the all Filipino-cast Here Lies Love

Avenue magazine

Connect with us! @asianavemag

Join us at the Colorado Asian Pacific United Block Party on Saturday, August 12, 3pm to 7:30pm, to reimagine Denver’s Chinatown and for the unveiling of the mural at 1890 Lawrence St, Denver.

There are also three exciting festivals are happening this month!

- Saigon Azteca Night Market (8/18)

- ElevAsian Night Market (8/19)

- Aurora GlobalFest (8/19)

6 August 2023 | Table of Contents
12 21
Annie Guo VanDan, President Asian

upcoming events

A Day in Polynesia

Saturday, Aug. 12 | 11am to 8pm

The People’s Building

9995 E Colfax Ave, Aurora

Daytime event is free | Evening show is $35

Westwood’s Saigon Azteca Night Market

Friday, Aug. 18 | 6pm to 10pm Rise Westwood 3738 Morrison Road, Denver Free and open to the public


City of Aurora Global Fest

Saturday, Aug. 19 | 11am to 6pm Aurora Municipal Center 15151 E. Alameda Parkway, Aurora Free and open to the public

MANA opens up with the first ever of its kind, “A DAY IN POLYNESIA”. In this event, we will take you on an all-day, all-night, culturally immersive trip to the islands of Polynesia. Through educational props, historical moments, and traditional dances, patrons will find themselves captivated and completely entertained by our story-telling through cultural performances. The all-day portion of this event is free! Only the evening show requires a purchased ticket.

Asian Chamber Business After Hours

Wednesday, Aug. 16 | 5:30pm to 8pm

Filipino-America Community of Colorado 1900 Harlan St. Edgewater Show Tickets: 10

Experience the inaugural Saigon Azteca Night Market, a fusion of Latinx and Asian cuisine in Westwood. Explore local vendors and indulge in a variety of family-friendly activities and cultural performances. Come and savor a special food and drink menu that combines traditional Latin and Asian flavors! Attendees will enjoy celebrating the rich cultural traditions of Westwood’s diverse communities.

Nyob Zoo Fest

Saturday, Aug. 19 | 9am to 6pm Westminster Park 4801 W 92nd Ave, Westminster

Nyob Zoo Fest is an immersive experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories. Come and celebrate Hmong traditions, indulge in delectable food, enjoy captivating performances, and connect with a vibrant community. “Nyob Zoo” is a phrase in the Hmong language, which is commonly used as a greeting. It is a warm and friendly way to greet someone or express welcome and good wishes.

Now in its 10th year, Global Fest continues to celebrate what makes Aurora one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. - the people! This free event celebrates all those who call Aurora home and serves as Aurora’s summer multicultural experience. Performers will entertain all ages with family-friendly music and dance, a global fashion show, a parade of nations, an international marketplace, food, vendors and more!

Asian Girls Ignite ElevAsian Night Market

Saturday, Aug. 19 | 4pm to 10pm Tivoli Turnhalle, 900 Auraria Pkwy, Denver General Ticket $65 | Premium Ticket $130

Join the Asian Chamber of Commerce to learn about the Filipino American community, their history and stories. Food and drinks provided. Register and pay in advance.

Attend the most festive fundraiser of the summer social calendar! Inspired by the bustling night markets throughout Asia, ElevAsian Night Market gathers AAPI women-led and owned food and beverage vendors, artists, businesses, and performance groups for one very special evening. Enjoy the five-item tasting menu from Denver’s finest culinary talents including: Yuan Wonton, Mukja, No Ke Aloha, and more!

August 2023 | Event Calendar 8
community events to us at
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The Dental Bar entices patients with a speakeasy bar

While routine dental visits are important for us to stay healthy, going to the dentist causes feelings of dread, fear, and anxiety for many Americans.

That is why The Dental Bar is offering relaxation with a contemporary twist through its experiential and immersive dental office—the highlight is a speakeasy bar that patients can enjoy a drinkbefore or after their appointment.

Husband and wife Dr. Kha Nguyen and Dr. Lynn Doan created a one-of-a-kind experience at The Dental Bar, which is located in the Southlands in East Aurora.

“The Dental Bar came to life because we wanted to create a dental experience like no other!,” said Nguyen.

“Going to the dentist can be a drag for a lot of people, so we thought, why not make it enjoyable? We’re big foodies and cocktail lovers, so we drew inspiration from trendy lounges and restaurants to design a modern, sleek dental office that’s super comfy for our patients.”

Their mission is to change the way people see dentists and that’s where the speakeasy and dry bar concept comes in.

Hidden behind a bookcase, patients can step into the speakeasy environment after checking in. Open during

their regular business hours, the selfserve dry bar offers a range of boozefree beverages: coffee, seltzers, sodas, non-alcoholic champagne, wine, and even non-alcoholic spirits and beers. The alcohol bottles displayed on the top shelves are purely for decorationnot for drinking.

Husband-wife business partners

Doan, who was raised in Aurora, feels excited to be building her practice in the town she grew up in.

The two met when they were in high school and were friends for more than ten years before their relationship be -

mode with a wealth of amenities:

Visually, there is a widescreen television set up in the ceiling for patients to watch their favorite series or movies during the scheduled appointment.

Auditory: the office provides stateof-the-art technology in their headphones, so patients won’t hear the disconcerting sounds of drilling or other unpleasant noises;

Scents: sweet and aromatic smells replicate the scents of high-end hotel lobbies; and

Touch: a neck pillow or soft blanket are available for extra comfort.

The Dental Bar’s comfort menu is completely complimentary for all patients. Patients get to enjoy perks like Netflix on ceiling TVs, neck pillows, warm blankets, and refreshing face towels after the appointment - all without any extra cost!

State of the art equipment

came romantic. Similar interests, such as career goals, built their friendship and laid out the foundation to establish a business together.

“Our story goes way back! We met in high school at a summer camp in Kansas. We both knew from the age of 13 that we wanted to be dentists and have our own practice someday,” said Doan.

“So, we bonded over our passion for dentistry and shared interests. We were friends for years, then started dating, got married, and now we’re not just life partners but also business partners!”

Lately, preparing for the grand opening of The Dental Bar has kept them busy with no time for leisure activities, but when the two aren’t working, they enjoy frequenting their favorite Asian restaurants, family time, and traveling.

A dentist visit that engages all senses

During a scheduled appointment, the patient can dive deeper into relaxation

The Dental Bar offers a full range of dental services from cleanings, fillings, and crowns to more specialized treatments like implants and cosmetic smile makeovers.

Educating their patients is important to them, which is why the co-owners invested thousands of dollars into their

August 2023 | Inside Story 10
“... we drew inspiration from trendy lounges and restaurants to design a modern, sleek dental office that’s super comfy for our patients.”

equipment to teach their patients the importance of brushing teeth through visual aids.

Instead of using traditional x-rays, the imaging technology allows the dentists to show visual colors that indicate to patients any areas of concern. For example, they can show how bone density loss around a tooth can lead to long-term care and issues.

Grand opening in Southlands Mall

After conducting market research, Nguyen and Doan determined that southeast Aurora was the community they hoped to serve. They also acknowledge there are not enough Asian American doctors in the surrounding areas to better serve the Asian/Asian American population.

Since March, The Dental Bar owners have documented the renovation on Instagram @thedentalbarco. By July, their potential patient list shot up to 60 people. The office is currently open three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

“We’re incredibly passionate about what we do here at The Dental Bar,” said Doan.

“We hope to make dentistry enjoyable and to create happy, confident smiles. So, whether you’re a regular patient or just curious, come on over! We’d love to welcome you and show you how we’re changing the way people think about dental visits. Cheers!”

Contact The Dental Bar to experience a tour of the dental office and speakeasy. Visit their website at

Mortgages Online and Mobile Banking Business Services Savings Accounts And Much More! Checking Accounts 1 800 964 3444 NMLS ID # 458768 | Member FDIC Visit us online or at any convenient location. See us for all your banking needs. 11 The Dental Bar | Asian Avenue Magazine
Dr. Lynn Doan and Dr. Kha Nguyen are the owners of the innovative The Dental Bar

On Saturday, August 12, Colorado Asian Pacific United (CAPU) will host a public block party where they will officially unveil the completion of two major projects for their ‘Reimagining Denver’s Chinatown’ initiative: a mural and the installation of three historic markers. Funded by Andrew Mellon Foundation and Denver Arts & Venues, both projects revolve around CAPU’s efforts to recontextualize and reimagine Denver’s historic Chinatown that all but disappeared over the years due to discriminatory legislation, a xenophobic society, and outright racist riots.

Here’s a condensed history lesson: As the transcontinental railroad finished construction, large numbers of Chinese immigrant laborers were suddenly in need of work. A scant but steady number slowly migrated away from the West Coast towards such metropolitan areas as Denver. Denver’s Chinatown was a vibrant section in now-LoDo, whose businesses served the immigrant community.

By the time the year 1880 rolled around, anti-Chinese sentiment had started to slowly build across the country, with brazen outbursts of racial violence becoming more and more frequent. “Yellow Peril” as it was known, was set ablaze by fear that the influx of Chinese immigrants would threaten “American” jobs, and the many Chinatowns

across the country become the symbol of such supposed economic depreciation.

On October 31, after a fight between a white and Chinese man broke out in a pub, a mob of approximately 3,0005,000 people descended onto Chinatown. The mob first began destroying Chinese-owned businesses, and then brutally beat any Chinese residents that they could. By the time the violence had ended, a 28-year old Chinese-American

Colorado State Historian and was one of the founders of CAPU. CAPU first formed in 2020 in an effort to lobby for the removal of a singular and outdated plaque. “I considered it to be, in some respects, a misrepresentation of the Denver Chinese community,” Dr. Wei said, referring to the plaque’s description of the “Hop Alley/Chinese Riot of 1880”.

CAPU successfully removed the plaque in 2022, as well as received a formal apology from the City of Denver. Since then, CAPU has expanded to work on numerous projects, representing the diversity of the Asian American Pacific Islander community in Colorado.

named Look Young had been tortured and lynched in the street.

Dr. William Wei is a professor of modern Chinese history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who has served as

CAPU has worked to install three different historical markers around Downtown Denver providing a recontextualization of Chinatown. The first marker, Dr. Wei said, describes Denver’s Chinatown, “less as a den of iniquity which is what the old plaque implied when it called it Hop Alley and describe it as a thriving working class community that provided ser vices and goods to the Chinese living in Denver and in Colorado.” The second marker will tell the destruction of the 1880 Anti-Chinese Race Riot in Denver, while the third marker is situated where the lynching of Look Young occurred and tells the story of Young’s life. The hope is that the markers will offer

August 2023 | Cover Story 12
By Albert Chang-Yoo CAPU celebrates the installation of a mural and historic markers in an effort to reimagine Denver’s forgotten Chinatown

the public a much more complete telling of what happened to Denver’s Chinatown. Plus, that’s not the only thing CAPU is ready to celebrate.

Nayle Lor is a Hmong-American artist based in Denver. In August 2022, Colorado Asian Pacific United (CAPU) commissioned Lor to create a mural on Denver’s Fire Station 4 to commemorate the historic Chinatown. For the past year, Lor has worked to make an abstract piece of artwork into a reality. The mural’s name will be decided on August 12, during the official celebration. As Lor explained, the mural (finished in June 2023) was created to send a different message than the antiquated plaque:

“This art piece in particular is intended to speak primarily to the Chinese community, but it’s not limited only to the Chinese community in Denver. I wanted to show their progression through time in a fun, colorful way, particularly due to their negative misrepresentation with the plaque that was taken down and their buried history here.”

In creating the mural, Lor drew inspiration from her identity, where she has felt split between her Hmong and American sides. “My American life was where I would be asked what Hmong was, which is a typical story you’ll hear from a Hmong American I’m sure, and have faced racism,” Lor said. “But, it’s that experience that helped me to relate to the historic Chinatown, of being unknown and unseen.”

The message is marked by the characters on the left side of the mural: “不怕慢, 就怕停“ a proverb that roughly translates to “Be not afraid of growing slowly, Be afraid of stopping.” This is the theme of Lor’s mural. According to her, “that is the story I want to tell with my image, to show the past, that of a people who persevered in the face of adversity; to show the present, with the child representing new beginnings; and to show the bright, unknown future, where people may grow to be whatever they want to be through the course of time, represented by a long life noodle. I hope that this artwork and this history inspires people to learn from it, so that history doesn’t repeat itself, and to keep moving forward even when life is tough.”

It’s a theme that Dr. Wei touched on as well: “We have movies and books that bear the title of “True Grit”. Well, the Chinese had true grit. They had the ability to attain their goals. And that’s the sort of thing that has characterized people in the American West…In fact, they’d be heroes, if not for the fact that they were Chinese.”

Meanwhile, Colo rado Asian Pacific United has much grander plans for the future. Another cultural mural is being planned on the Auraria campus, and CAPU is working on establishing a K-12 curricu lum on Colorado Asian American Pacific Islander history that will be disseminat ed throughout schools. In the longterm, CAPU is hoping to build an Asian American Pacific Islander history and culture museum that will serve to educate future generations.

CAPU is hosting its mural unveiling block party – Reimagining Denver’s Chinatown – event on Saturday, August 12 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 1890 Lawrence St, Denver. We love to see you there!

For more information or to get involved, visit

13 Chinatown | Asian Avenue Magazine
Installed marker on 1620 Wazee St
Artist Nayle Lor

Mike Johnston sworn in as Denver’s 46th mayor

Last July 17, former Colorado state senator Mike Johnston, 48, was inaugurated at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House as Denver’s 46th mayor.

It was a full day for the new mayor as the inauguration started at 10 a.m., followed by a meet and greet ice cream social with the city and county employ ees of Denver. A block party, organized by Denver Vibes, included local bands, art ists, and food trucks, that ended the day of festivities at Union Station.

“Today, we dedicate ourselves to two essential American ideas: That every problem we face is solvable and we are the ones to solve them,” said Mayor Johnston during his inauguration speech.

Three former mayors—Frederico Pena, Wellington Webb, and John Hick enlooper—attended the inauguration.

As one of the most powerful political job in Colorado, Johnston brings a wealth of experience in the education arena, including working as an English educator, co-founding a national nonprofit on education, serving as an adjunct professor of education law at the University of Denver, and appointed as a senior advisor to President Barack Obama on educational issues.

Tran Nguyen-Wills, who worked on the the Mayor’s Inauguration Team, said: “Mayor Johnston has been a great mentor to me and to so many others. I am excited for his leadership for Denver.”

After working on Leslie Herod’s campaign, Nguyen-Wills joined Mayor-Elect Johnston’s campaign for the run off. She recently accepted a position as Senior Outreach Manager for Mayor Johnston’s Administration.

“I look forward to continuing to uplift and support our communities alongside Mayor Johnston and the entire administration. Denver is in great hands!”

Based on his experience, Denver residents will see changes in education. His campaign promises affordable housing, ending homelessness, and enforcing public safety. His speech promised hope.

“The essence of democracy is that it calls on our ability to do something that feels unnatural. To love those who are different from us. To believe in them, to work with them, to sacrifice for them, to deliver for them. That is our dream of Denver.”

“That is our promise to our people, that is our pledge to each other. That is how we put our arms around those stuck in a cycle of hurt and it is how we pull this city back into a cycle of hope. It is how we dream, serve, and deliver Denver as America’s best city.”

Mayor Johnston declared a State of Emergency on homelessness and housing security in Denver, which will place 1,000 individuals experiencing homelessness inside by the end of this year.

“Now, let’s get to work,” he said.

August 2023 | Feature 14
Mayor Mike Johnston meets city and county employees during an ice cream social at the Webb Atrium. From left: Ro-Tien Liang, Mike Johnston, Mary J. Schultz, Amy Chang, Will Chan. Mayor Mike Johnston and Tran Nguyen-Wills 2023 Denver Inauguration Ceremony on July 17

The World in a City

Celebrating 10 Years of Cultures and Traditions

Celebrando 10 años de culturas y tradiciones

Le monde dans une ville Pour fêter 10 ans de cultures et traditions

Saturday, Aug. 19

11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Aurora Municipal Center Great Lawn 15151 E. Alameda Parkway


Priscilla Rahn announces run for Douglas County Commissioner

few. I am on a national foundation board, Music Will, that provides free musical instruments to students, I currently serve on the Denver Police Chief’s Advisory Board, and volunteer for Korean Heritage Camps.

mitted to closely working with Sheriff Weekly to ensure our law enforcement officers have the tools, equipment, and resources to keep our citizens safe.

1) Why did you decide to run for Douglas County Commissioner?

Douglas County is one of the top counties in the United States to live, work, and raise a family. We’re debt free, have a growing economy and a world-class quality of life. Residents of Douglas County want to preserve the amazing quality of life that’s been built here and we need to protect the investments that homeowners have made and for generations to come.

My time as a precinct volunteer and Chair of the Douglas County Planning Commission has inspired me to serve my local community in a greater capacity. I have tremendous respect for our elected officials, business community and all who work in every department in Douglas County. After meeting with several stakeholders, I made my announcement on June 22nd.

2) What key moments in your life have led you to this point?

I have always been an active volunteer at work and in my community. I have served on a number of education committees, for example chairing the Denver Public Schools’ (DPS) Asian Education Advisory Council, serving on the School Performance Framework Committee, and the DPS Superintendent’s School Safety Advisory Committee, to name a

In 2020, I was awarded the Harriet Tubman “Moses” Teacher Leader of the Year by the EduCtr and bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the Aspen Theological Seminary for my contributions to the community.

Politically, I was elected to two terms as the Vice Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, elected as a precinct committee person and I’m currently the Chair of the Douglas County Planning Commission. In addition, I’m a small business owner and believe that small businesses are the backbone of our county.

3) What do you see are the most critical issues in Douglas County?

The most critical issues in Douglas County include crime, school safety, water, transportation, open space, and homelessness/mental health. I’m com-

As a school teacher, I think about the safety of my students and colleges every day. In Douglas County we have experienced school violence firsthand with the tragic event in 2019 at Highlands Ranch STEM School. I will collaboratively work with the Douglas County School Board, Sheriff’s Office, and Mental Health Community to make Douglas County a leader in preventing school violence. I will be a strong advocate for Douglas County having a robust and actionable water plan that ensures we have high quality renewable sources of water for all our citizens.

To learn about my campaign, my website is I would love for our community to volunteer and donate to my campaign.

August 2023 | Spotlight 16
Priscilla Rahn with her husband Darren
- 1 0 P M A T T I V O L I T U R N H A L L E ( 9 0 0 A U R A R I A P K W Y , D E N V E R , C O )
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First Asian American Woman appointed to the 18th Judicial District Court

Governor Jared Polis has appointed the first Korean American prosecuting lawyer, Judge Victoria E. Klingensmith, to the 18th Judicial District Court.

The vacancy was created by the retirement of the Honorable Cynthia D. Mares, who retired after serving for 23 years.

“It’s a dream come true,” said newly appointed Klingensmith. “I am still in disbelief.”

Since 2020, Klingensmith served as the senior chief deputy district attorney in the 18th Judicial District. In addition, she has taught at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law as an adjunct professor since 2018.

She earned her B.A. from the University of Denver in 2000. Then, she achieved her J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School in 2003, specializing in criminal law.

The value of giving back | Her interest in law started in high school. With a quiet demeanor, she did not like to call too much attention to herself but during a role-playing exercise she found her voice while questioning a witness and presenting closing arguments.

“I was completely surprised,” she admitted.

Her parents showed her how to give back to their community. Through their example, Klingensmith knew her work as an attorney would allow her to give a voice to Asian Americans.

“I’ve recognized how important it is and how impactful,” she said. “I hope I can be a role model and inspire the next generation to become lawyers and judges.”

Her personal mission is recruit-

ing more Asians and Asian Americans to work in the district attorney’s office. It’s why she turned to teaching at the University of Denver. She shared that the district office is embracing the need for diversity, especially Asian Americans.

Career as a prosecutor | Her love for the legal field originates from her passion to help others. While Hollywood glamorizes the life of a lawyer in series such as The Practice, Law & Order, or Matlock, there’s still a lot of behind-the-scenes that the public might not be aware of.

She pointed out that court selection is not sexy for television. So, members of the public don’t realize how intense court selection could be pre-trial.

She acknowledges the importance of connecting with victims --- sometimes she may be working with a family that lost a child or a victim of domestic violence.

After jury members go through the trial process, she often witnesses a transformation.

“After living through a trial, jury members are vested in the community,” she observed.

Plans as a judge | Klingensmith’s appointment allows her to be part of the largest judicial district, covering the counties of Lincoln, Arapahoe, Elbert, and Douglas.

She believes her transition as prosecuting attorney into a judge will be smooth because she is “lucky to have known a lot of judges for decades, appearing before them in jury trials.”

“I am thrilled to represent the bench and can’t express enough how honored I am,” she said. Days after the announcement, “it gives me chills and goosebumps that I will serve the community.”

Outside of work | At 45, she is married to a police officer she met on a homicide scene. She is thrilled that her husband, an Aurora police officer, will be retiring soon.

“It is a hard profession,” she confessed about her husband’s career.

Having a challenging profession herself, she decompresses by participating in physical and outdoor activities such as running and hiking all over Colorado.

She also shared that she enjoys traveling and is currently planning a mother-daughter trip to visit South Korea.

“I love to see the world because it gives me a better appreciation of living in the US. It also helps me recenter and refocus my work,” she said.

18 August 2023 | Spotlight
Victoria E. Klingensmith as a baby with her grandparents

Visual retelling of the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Chinese American Tony Moy is using his talent and creative passion for art to share the story of the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.

The team, who fought against prejudice and discrimination, is the most decorated unit in U.S. military history, earning more than 18,000 awards within a two-year period.

“It’s a story for anyone who has struggled unifying their cultural and national identities.” said Moy, who exhibited at Denver’s Fan Expo in July 2023. “Attending these shows allows me to connect one on one with new fans and supporters.”

Discovering the History | Moy, a mixed-media comic and fantasy artist specializing in watercolor and gouache, learned about the story of the 442nd during the pandemic. In early 2021, he painted a series of Asian American portraits in response the rise of Asian hate crime, especially towards the elderly.

“The coronavirus made it easy for others to lump all Asians into one group, but we are each unique,” said Moy.

During the pandemic, he discovered the story while watching a historical Asian American documentary that briefly mentioned the accomplishments of the 442nd. While aware of the internment camps, Moy, like many others, was not aware of the extensive role played by the Japanese Americans.

“As a country that celebrates our military at every opportunity, like Super Bowls, parades and other events, it’s astonishing how few people know about the most decorated regiment in U.S. history,” said Moy.

Inspired to Share the Stories | What started as curiosity, became a passion. However, the more Moy researched about these patriotic soldiers, the more frustration he felt that the story was still relatively untold.

“I needed to do something or let it go,” he said.

After some soul searching, Moy decided to take on the challenge of creating the comic to document their story. He was initially worried, being a Chinese American telling a Japanese Amer-

ican story, but the response within the community soon would assuage any concern.

Taking on this project, doubled his research. Not only to research the historical events and individuals, but also the visual research required to illustrate the book as well. Overtime, organizations such as the WWII Museum, Japanese American Veterans Association, Northwest Nikkei Museum, and the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans helped expand his research and separate the myths from facts.

As a visual storyteller, he looks to war movies and YouTube videos to learn the nuances of language and military jargon. His talents of creating poster-sized superheroes such as Dungeons & Dragons, X-Men, DC allows him the ability of drawing huge battles for this project.

He also confesses that telling the story as a Chinese American might not be the right job to tell the narrative of a Japanese American. He wonders how this will be perceived within the community. Nevertheless, he is plugging forward with this project.

“It’s the story I want to tell,” he said. “I fully understand the responsibility.”

Journey into Art | Moy quit his day job in 2019. His last position title was director of technology for a finance company in Chicago.

“Art was my escape from daily life,” he confessed. “I’m lucky. What I thought was a hobby became my career.”

He now plays the piano and plays sports such as volleyball to destress.

The majority of his income comes from participating in conventions like Denver’s Fan Expo. Last year alone, he showcased at 23 conventions in four other countries.

“Since the 4Forty2nd comic is free online I still need to sell art in order to create the art I want to,” he said.

So far, he has created nine chapters. Learn more at tonymoy. art or on Instagram @tony_moy. Links and information about the 4forty2nd watercolor comic are at

Spotlight | Asian Avenue Magazine 19
Tony Moy at the Fan Expo in Denver Moy’s art from the comic 4Forty2nd


JOY RIDE is a movie for girlfriends, emphasizing the beauty of friendship, travels, and heritage.

It’s like watching the female version of Hangover with sprinkled in Crazy Rich Asians.

JOY RIDE marks the feature directorial debut of Crazy Rich Asians and Raya and the Last Dragon screenwriter Adele Lim. Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao penned the JOY RIDE script and also serve as producers alongside Lim, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, and Josh Fagen. The film is produced by Lionsgate and Point Grey Pictures and premiered in early July.

Storyline | Two best friends embark on a trip to China to secure a business deal, but the adventure evolves into the search for a long-lost mother and traveling to South Korea looking for answers. An hour into the movie, all the laughs turn into unexpected tears as one of them learns more about herself and how to love who she is.

The movie trailer gives a peek of the storyline but there are many unpredictable scenes filled with giggles and boisterous laughter.

The start of a collaboration | Those hilarious kinds of friendships inspired Adele Lim, Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, and Teresa Hsiao to create JOY RIDE.

No matter our backgrounds, we all have at least one hot mess friend, who is always getting into trouble.

“Cherry, Teresa, and I would go out to dinner, shoot the shit, and talk about all our messed-up, thirsty, ridiculous friends,” Lim says.

“One day, we were cracking ourselves up, thinking that we need to write a movie about this. We don’t know who’s going to want to make this, but it’ll make us happy. So, we would show up to my house every Thursday and break the story, just for the hell of it. And we made ourselves laugh nonstop.”

Comedic actresses | Already, the actresses are making a name for themselves. Ashley Park of Emily in Paris portrays Audrey, the confident lawyer, while her best friend, Lolo, is actress Sherry Cola of Good Trouble. Both actresses play roles in different comedy series.

Then, there is the stand-up comedian, Sabrina Wu, who plays the unforgettable role of Deadeye, while Stephanie Hsu of Everything, Everywhere All At Once takes the role of Kat, opera actress in China and Audrey’s college roommate.

The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised the lead performances and humor. See the film in theaters while you can or learn more about the film at:

August 2023 | Movie Review 20

MAKfam Teams Up with Novel Strand for Four Course Beer Pairing Dinner

Monday, August 7, 7pm to 9pm | Tickets: $80 Novel Strand Taproom | 305 West 1st Avenue, Denver, CO 80223

MAKfam, the soon-to-open brick-and-mortar evolution of Meta Asian Kitchen, helmed by Doris Yuen and Chef Ken Wan, has teamed up with Novel Strand Brewing for A Moment in Time Vol. XII a four-course beer pairing dinner under the stars taking place Monday, August 7. This special dinner will feature a preview of MAKfam’s tradition-inspired Chinese cuisine, available at their brick-and-mortar location, opening at 1st and Broadway in Denver later this fall just down the road from Novel Strand. Pairings include:

Roasted chicken bone broth congee, dried scallops, & soy

Tastes like the day after Thanksgiving, the only difference is we are using chicken bones instead of turkey.

Paired with THE BEER FROM BAKER, a Kolsch-style beer

Egg noodle wrapper, chicken, shrimp, herbs, house-made XO sauce

When we think of Hong Kong, we think of XO sauce. The fragrant umami of fried seafood and cured meats paired with this delicate wonton makes it soft and decadent!

Paired with FUNK SHWEI (fermented black tea and lychee)

Egg fried rice wrapped in lotus leaf, topped with braised pork belly

This classic lotus leaf-wrapped rice dish is synonymous with special occasions like weddings, but it’s also a perfect comfort food item year-round.

Paired with A DEMONSTRATION OF A MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP (unfiltered hoppy beer)

Peach puree, tapioca pearls

Our play on the classic mango sago. We replaced the mango with Palisades Peaches as a homage to the great state of Colorado.

Paired with VICIOUS DELICIOUS: THE FAB 5 (sour beer with guava, mango, papaya, passionfruit, and pineapple)

MAKfam represents the essence of America’s new Asian culinary movement by reimagining traditional family-inspired Cantonese recipes through a modern perspective. Husband and wife team, Chef Kenneth Wan and Doris Yuen, first got their start through a series of street market-style pop-ups in Jersey City, NJ, and Queens, NYC before opening in Denver’s Avanti Food and Beverage in 2019 as Meta Asian Kitchen. Now MAKfam aims to redefine the limitations of Asian fare with contemporary dishes like their málà mozzarella sticks and Sichuan chicken wings, while also paying homage to their traditional roots with classics like pork belly bao buns, chicken, chive, and ginger dumplings, and sizzling spicy noodles a their upcoming brick-and-mortar location under the rebranded MAKfam moniker at 39 W 1st Ave, Denver, CO. Visit their website at: and on Instagram at @makfam__ and @metaasiankitchen.

Food | Asian Avenue Magazine 21
Palisade Peach Coconut Sago Chicken and Scallop Jook XO Chili Wuntun Pork Belly Hor Yip Fan

Theatre Review: BI-PASSING

BI-PASSING is a collection of short stories written by Edith and Winnifred Eaton, known as the first Asian American/Canadian women writers.

Born to a Scottish father and a Chinese mother, Edith adopted a Chinese pen name Sui Sin Far (Narcissus) for her writing persona, as she focused on writing the Chinese experience in 19th century America, some of them are autobiographical. Whereas Winnifred adopted a Japanese pseudonym Onoto Watanna for her very successful career as romance writer and screenwriter.

Last July, Insight Colab Theatre produced the world premiere play of Bi-Passing at The People’s Building in Aurora. In just 90 minutes, the play allowed the voices of Asian American sisters, at the turn of the century, share their stories of drama, romance, and tragedy.

The sets were easily transformed between scenes for audience members to understand the shift in stories and narration by the sisters. Simple changes included using chairs or drapes as dividers, while long fabrics illustrated earthly elements of fire.

The cast included: Kim Egan, Will Choy Edelson, Sarah Zimah, Sean Guderian, and Samantha Saunders. Adaptation and direction was Pang Yuan-Yuan, director of Say My Name. Theatre lovers familiar with her work will know she has stamped this play with her artful, imaginative style.

For more plays by Asian Americans for Asian Americans, visit or follow them on Instagram @insight_colab.

22 August 2023 | Theatre
Photo Credit: Sarah Powers Samantha Saunders and Kim Egan Will Choy Edelson and Sarah Zimah

performs on Broadway in Here Lies Love

Here Lies Love marks the first time an all-Filipino cast has performed on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre, located at 1681 Broadway in New York.

Plus, the Broadway show, which started on June 17, stands as an interactive, groundbreaking experience that includes audience participation for anyone who wants to dance with disco flair. The performance will end January 7, 2024.

Here Lies Love, the immersive musical based on the rise and fall of Imelda Marcos and the People Power Revolution of the Philippines, with music by Grammy®, Oscar®, and Tony Award® winner and founding member of Talking Heads David Byrne and Grammy Award® winner Fatboy Slim, British musician and DJ.

The Broadway title comes from Imelda’s hope of having it as her gravestone epitaph. At 94, she is currently the mother of the current Philippines president Bongbong Marcos.

Story Line | The Broadway play is not meant to glamorize the lives of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos but gives a peek of history at the end of the Marcos dictatorship. There is no mention of Imelda’s infamous shoe collection, either. The 90-minute play doesn’t offer an intermission, but the fast pace of the show

will make it feel like a quick minute. Developed and directed by Tony Award® winner Alex Timbers, Timbers and Olivier Award nominee Annie-B Parson (choreography) reunite with Byrne (concept, music, and lyrics) and Fatboy Slim (music) to bring Here Lies Love to Broadway, continuing a ten-plus year collaboration on the project.

options will be available throughout the theater’s reconstructed space. Audience members with seats won’t be excused from dancing as there will be moments to encourage high-energy participation.

History | From its world premiere at The Public Theater in 2013, Here Lies Love has enjoyed popular and critical acclaim. The show returned to The Public in 20142015, debuted at London’s Royal National Theatre in 2014, and most recently opened at Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2017.

Set | In an interview with MSNBC, Byrne, playwright and music composer, revealed that he heard Imelda loved disco, even owning a disco ball in her former New York apartment. Based on that rumor, Byrne took that concept and created it into the Broadway play. Here Lies Love’s staging at the Broadway Theatre transforms the venue’s traditional proscenium floor space into a dance club environment, where audiences will stand and move with the actors.

A wide variety of standing and seating

Performers | The play has received enormous publicity when Tony Award® winner and international celebrity, Leah Salonga announced that she would perform the role of Aurora Aquino, mother of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, whose assassination sparked the People Power Revolution and ousted the dictator from 20year reign of the Philippines. She will end her five-week run on August 13.

Other actors include: Arielle Jacobs as Imelda; Jose Llana as Marcos; Conrad Ricamora, who plays Ninoy Aquino.

Tickets are selling between $69 to $229. Visit for more information.

Theatre | Asian Avenue Magazine 23
All-Filipino cast
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