WHEN DID THE NFL SUPER BOWL GET GLOBAL?
LUMPIA: CROWDSOURCED CINE MA WITH A TRANSNATIONAL TEAM
CAN THE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY BE MORE INCLUSIVE?
WHEN DID THE NFL SUPER BOWL GET GLOBAL?
LUMPIA: CROWDSOURCED CINE MA WITH A TRANSNATIONAL TEAM
CAN THE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY BE MORE INCLUSIVE?
Multicultural, multiethnic, mixed-race and geographically mobile populations (like immigrants, refugees and Third Culture Kids).
BECAUSE EVERYONE SHOULD FEEL LIKE THEY MATTER
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n the 21st century, assessing someone’s background from outward appearance isn’t enough as hidden, rather than visual, diversity means people increasingly bring more to the table than meets the eye.
Whether through nationality, travel, race or ethnicity, many straddle culture in myriad ways. From Cultural Fluidity, to Third Culture Kid, Expat, Third Culture Adult, Cross-Cultural Kid and more, the language to describe our in-between community is of
A term coined by author Ruth Van Reken in 2002, is a person who is living, has lived, or meaningfully interacted with two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during the first 18 years of life. This includes minority individuals living within majority culture.
An adult who grew up as a Cross-Cultural Kid.
A term coined by Culturs founder Donnyale Ambrosine to characterize hidden diversity created by people who don’t or didn’t grow up in a homogenous cultural environment. Culturally Fluid individuals may straddle nationalities, ethnicities, race or culture. The fluidity created allows understanding between or among their foundational areas of meaningful experience. It also may hinder sense of belonging to any one area.
Children of missionaries who travel to missions domestically or abroad.
utmost importance. Knowing the vocabulary creates understanding and deepens our sense of belonging and connections to others with similar experiences. Here’s a quick overview so you can follow along any of our articles with ease:
Coined by Sociologist Ruth Useem in the 1950s as a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The first culture is considered an individual’s passport culture, while the second culture consists of the culture(s) in which the individual has lived. The third culture is a result of the person’s life experience; this is the culture to which they most belong. The third culture often is where individuals feel community with others of similar experience.
Children who moved to various regions within the same country while growing up, often having to re-learn ways of being, especially as regional differences in dress, speech and action are heightened in formative years when it is important to be accepted.
An adult who grew up as a TCK.
Coined in 2002 by Psychotherapist Paulette Bethel to signify individuals who travel extensively and are immersed in, or live in global locations after the age of 18 (after identity has been solidified).
Internationally nomadic group not characterized by a parent’s occupation. Displaced from their homeland forcibly or by choice, often having fled for varied reasons — violence, politics, religion, environment, etc. Refugees typically do not return to their origin country.
People who, for varied reasons, immigrate to a country different than their homeland to stay permanently. Many return to their home countries to visit, though some do not.
As defined by Merriam Webster — to leave one’s native country to live elsewhere; which also sometimes means to renounce allegiance to one’s native country.
Children of military who move with parents to different places within or outside of their home country. They often experience other cultures within the confines of a military installation or compound that possesses traits of the home country.
Children traveling with their parents to various countries in non-military government roles, diplomatic corps, civil service, foreign service, etc.
Children whose parents are members of the home country’s political framework while living on foreign soil.
Those who travel expecting differences among intra-international or international culture, however, not immersed in these cultures for extended periods of time, or long enough to integrate local cultural norms as their own.
Children whose parents work with multinational corporations that take them to faraway lands, often in professional fields surrounding oil, construction and pharmaceuticals.
Described by author Ruth Van Reken in the book
“Third Culture Kids,” a borderlander is a citizen of one country that lives close to another. Often the norms, customs and traits of each country’s culture seeps into the other, creating a cultural experience separate from either original culture, while allowing inhabitants keen knowledge and insight into their own culture as well as the other.
People whose family consists of two or more races to which the individual identifies. With race often come cultural norms, slang language and attitudes that can greatly differ. Many multiracial children, though not all, have the unique opportunity to learn norms of all the cultures they comprise.
People whose family consists of two or more cultures to which the individual identifies. Even when belonging to the same race, differences in culture may exist between ethnicities, tribes and other cultural contexts.
ANDREA BAZOIN (say “Bah-Zwah”) is a human resilience activator, which means she works with individuals and teams to identify and dismantle the practical and personal barriers that keep them from thriving in our everaccelerating future. Her family ties span the globe and include the U.S., Chile, Argentina, Australia, and France. She currently lives in Colorado, U.S.A. with her French husband and culturally fluid son. Learn more at www.andreabazoin.com.
PAULETTE BETHEL, PHD is a career U.S. Air Force officer, trauma recovery coach, global transition expert and a mother to Third Culture Kids. Culturally and racially blended, Dr. Bethel is our expert on the importance of transition and its effect on relationships. She is CEO and Founder of Discoveries Coaching & Consulting.
ROMITA BULCHANDANI a.k.a Glitter Explorer, is a former Fortune 200 leader turned Spiritual Life Coach. She leans in on her 15+ years of leadership experience for Fortune 200 companies like The Walt Disney Company and Marriott International. Romita left the corporate space to conquer her own mental health. She has been traveling (28+ countries) worldwide, exploring mental health from various perspectives. Inspired by her travels, Romita founded Glitter For The Soul to help depleted humans reconnect and master their souls so they can build wealth and change the world.
Third Culture Kid Expert MYRA DUMAPIAS is the Chief Executive Officer of TCKidNOW, which has been featured on the BBC, ABC News, The Telegraph, the U.S. Department of Defense and Education Week and helped thousands discover their TCK identity and find a sense of belonging long before mention of the term on social media. TCKidNow provides trauma-informed educational outreach about the lifetime impact of a transnational upbringing. While acknowledging the role healing plays in helping TCKs recognize and develop their skills, TCKidNOW fosters connections that help TCKs find a sense of belonging and give back to the world they grew up in. Dumapias holds a Bachelor’s in English and World Literature and a Master’s in Social Work.
Photographer ELIOTT FOUST first debuted his outstanding photography in the inaugural issue of Culturs print magazine in 2018. A freelance photographer and former photojournalist, Foust is expanding his scholarly interests as a PhD candidate at Penn State University, melding together science and creative pursuits. He currently works with cutting-edge research in digital tools and software to accelerate the science, increase accessibility/ usability and prepare the next generation of scientists for successful and fulfilling careers. To this end, he uses his full skillset acquired through scientific research, software engineering, education, technical and journalistic writing and media/content creation.
HAYDEN GREENE is a pop culture columnist and director of multicultural affairs and student development at Manhattan College in New York City, U.S.A. Known as Brooklyn’s favorite polymath, he is a prize-winning fine art photographer, voice over talent and Trinidadian from the U.K.
JOHN LIANG is an adult Third Culture Kid who grew up in Guatemala, Costa Rica, U.S.A., Morocco and Egypt before graduating high school. He has a bachelor’s degree in languages from Georgetown University and a master’s in International Policy Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Liang has covered the U.S. military for two decades as a writer and editor for InsideDefense. com, and is also managing editor of Culturs Magazine. He lives in Arlington, Va., U.S.A.
Photographer ASHRAKI MUSSA MACHANO is a 30-year-old native of Zanzibar, Tanzania who hails from Stonetown. He has seven years experience with his photography company AshGallery. The exotic beaches and beautiful people of Zanzibar motivate his photographic style. “The people of Zanzibar impress me,” he says. “I find myself becoming more and more interested with the dramatic portrait photographs.” He is obsessed with creative photography that has pixel-perfect sizing. He also expands his photography techniques and style through volunteering on community events and working with different non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as a photographer.
DIANA VEGA is a Third Culture Adult. Born in Mexico and passionate about design, they studied architecture and started a small business after college. Interested in entrepreneurship, Vega moved to Colorado, U.S.A. to earn an MBA at Colorado State University. Now repatriated to Mexico, they are a graphic designer and illustrator for Culturs Magazine.
Every issue makes me excited, because there are always such rich
stories from our community. From our podcast guests, to the destinations we visit and events we promote — each opportunity fills my soul in a different way. As I hope it does yours as well.
This edition, focused on friendship, takes a moment to celebrate those relationships and moments that not only fill our souls, but (according to research), can actually make us more financially and socially wealthy. Friendships can heighten our social status, keep us young and release feel good chemicals that increase joy. I’m sure by now you’re saying “Yes, please!”
The stories of friendship, and gathering, like the Superbowl in the United States (which now is becoming more and more international); and connecting through food with our East African Celebrations! and learning about love and connection from our Must List features like the Netflix production of “From Scratch,” or Gil Asakawa’s take on Japanese food in the U.S.A. help make our lives richer as we learn about those around us.
This year, we intend to cover more music and sports around the globe, but also uplift more Indigenous voices and stories, like that of Dr. Anita Sanchez. These stories help balance those of grief, like examining school shootings; while Dr. Paulette Bethel provides tools to work with that grief.
All in all, we try to bring you resources, tools and practices to enhance your “in-between” cultural life, and even more via video and podcast to help you live in full color.
Enjoy!Doni (Dah-knee) Founder, Culturs lifestyle network Editor-in-Chief, Culturs magazine
Friendship is everything.
A chat with Japanese-American author Gil Asakawa about his book "Tabemasho! Let's Eat!: A Tasty History of Japanese Food in America."
These days, “the big game” is about more than just the game itself.
From world-class fútboll (soccer for those in the United States), to the global appeal of arena basketball, to mania caused in the U.S. for its Football National Championship: The Super Bowl.
Believe it or not, American Football is international, and has been since October 2005, when the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers faced off at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Dubbed “NFL Fútbol Americano,” it was the first regular-season game held outside the United States, according to National Football League (NFL) operations at NFL.com. We will cover the international history of “American Football” in Culturs’ Spring 2023 issue.
The expansion in popularity of the NFL goes well beyond international ties, however.
Highly anticipated halftime shows with epic entertainment have long been an NFL staple, and those performances continue to become more diverse as well. More on that later. But we CANNOT forget the association with football and food!
In decades past, the ubiquitous nature of the game was more associated with men; however it now has a huge female following. With that following has come creativity well beyond pizza, beer and hot dogs.
“When I do sports parties, I’m all out, like crazy all out,” says Mistine Varela, who is a native of Kansas, U.S.A. “Anything footballshaped, anything to look like the stadium. Like making a football shape out of croissant dough with cream cheese and artichokes inside, and you pull it off.”
Varela goes into intricate detail describing a decadent cream cheese, sour cream, mozzarella, parmesan, garlic and spinach dip that’s a fan favorite at her parties. She stuffs that into hand-twisted croissant dough and creates a football shape.
“I don’t go by the recipe, I just go by how it tastes when I make it. I used to go crazy all out like that — doing too much,” she says, reflecting on the themes and variety of foods at her game day
parties. “But if I did it now, I would have four things: Brisket, baked beans in a football-shaped server, a wing board with a lot of different chicken wings and sauces and make a footballshaped board for it. And a dessert that looks like a football.”
Yes, we see how that’s simpler.
It’s not just the fans who go all out. Every year it seems, the NFL tries to one-up itself with amazing entertainment at halftime.
The Superbowl is known for amazingly creative commercials, but halftime entertainment is truly next-level and more diverse as the years pass, from U2 to Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones
and Beyonce. Latine groups finally were recognized with a JLo and Shakira halftime show in 2020.
In 2022, hip-hop legends Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar filled the stadium with hard-rockin’, turn-of-thecentury music nostalgia. BetMGM’s “The Roar,” in its article “The Best Super Bowl Performances of All Time” says that performance was the first halftime show ever to win a top program Emmy for an outstanding variety special.Tools like Tovolo’s sports ice molds make it easy to make food festive on game day.
The anticipation for this year’s half-time show artist is as prominent as her cross-cultural roots. It marks Barbadian singer Rihanna’s long-anticipated return after making her mark in the business industry, becoming a billionaire. She also took time to grow her family and become a mom. Now, the wait is over.
The Apple Music Super Bowl halftime show is expected to not only entertain fans at home and in stadium, but if RiRi’s much-
lauded fashion statements during her pregnancy or the Apple Music official halftime show trailer are any indication, it will be a feast for the eyes as well.
“Rihanna is one of the most prolific artists of our time, and we, along with her many fans across the globe, cannot wait to see her take the stage at the first Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple
Fans are going all-in on social media, dressing up and showing out in anticipation of the multiGrammy-winning singer’s long-awaited return at Super Bowl LVII when the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles go head-to-head.
Music and Beats. The company has launched “Rihanna’s Road to Halftime,” offering new ways to experience the performer’s music catalog.
Fans are going all-in on social media, dressing up and showing out in anticipation of the multiGrammy-winning singer’s longawaited return at Super Bowl LVII when the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles go head-tohead.
Sunday, February 12, 2023 marks the 57th Super Bowl championship game and will be held at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, U.S.A. Kickoff time is 4:30 p.m. MST (UTC-7). Search online for the best ways to watch via streaming and on television in your location.
Check out our coverage online, where we outline some of the best social posts ahead of this global icon’s musical return at this increasingly global sport. Scan here and follow along on the path to Super Bowl Sunday. cultursmag.com/more-than-just-the-game
In this edition, we’re going to look at a film that may not have hit your radar and is now
available on streaming services. It’s a sweeping, nearly three-hour love story that educates you on Indian culture, religion and folklore by the time you’re finished. Let’s get into it.
If you’ve never experienced an Indian movie, it’s my pleasure to be the one to introduce you to the genre. That said, this is an overwhelming place to start, like having a horsepower-abundant pickup truck as the first car you ever drive. There is action at every turn and nods to the culture under each rock thrown at your senses.
It’s your typical boymeets-girl, boy-and-girlfall-in-love, boy-finds-outhe-has-supernaturalpowers story.
“Brahmastra: Part One — Shiva” is a 2022 film by director Ayan Mukerji. It stars Amitabh Bachchan as Guru, Ranbir Kapoor as Shiva and Alia Bhatt as Isha. On the surface, it’s a romantic tale of two mismatched lovers but quickly becomes a supernatural hero romp. The movie tells (and sometimes yells) the tale of Shiva and a past that was unknown to him. It’s your typical boy-meetsgirl, boy-and-girl-fall-in-love, boy-finds-out-he-hassupernatural-powers story.
The film mecca of India is centered in Mumbai. The city used to be known as Bombay during colonial times and it became known as the Hollywood of India, Bollywood. Bollywood, which is also referred to as the Bombay Film Business, has roots as far back as the late 1800s. By the 1940s, the industry was thriving, creating films that authentically showcased Indian culture and customs. The Golden Age of Bollywood spans the 1950s and 1960s and is characterized by the rise of stars like Raj Kapoor and Meen Kumari. The 1970s ushers in the Masala film genre, big sweeping stories with huge song-and-dance numbers. When you think of Bollywood films, it’s this genre that comes to mind first.
Over the decades, Bollywood movies have become more and more elaborate. One of the tenets of these films is the incredulous nature of the action scenes and the randomness of massive dance routines that erupt out of nowhere. With the advent of CGI and green screen technology, a whole range of movies that delve into Indian mythology has arisen. That brings us to “Brahmastra: Part One — Shiva.”
We know, we know. We’re talking about a movie, not religion. You’re correct … except this is a movie about Indian religion. In the tradition of movies about Greek and Roman gods, this movie depicts these Hindu deities as powerful, supernatural beings. The difference between the Greek and Roman stories and these Hindu gods is that devotion to them is still widely practiced.
India is still a predominantly polytheistic society. The various religious sects are characterized by which deity they primarily pray to. The richness of Hinduism is in the stories of the gods and their exploits. There is romance,
The richness of Hinduism is in the stories of the gods and their exploits.
conflict, espionage, heroism, cowardice and charity. All this is from deities that are still very relevant to today’s Hindu devotees.
This movie tackles one of those stories and for those non-Hindis who find their way to this film, it seems like a run-ofthe-mill superhero/fairytale offering.
When you delve a bit deeper though, you can see why there is such passion from the characters vis-a-vis the actors portraying them. This is the basis of their faith. It would be like a Christian actor portraying Jesus or Mary. Motivation is ingrained from a very young age. No director has to supply it.
OK so now that we have a primer on how to watch this movie, let’s dive into what this story is about. The director is creating what he calls the “Astraverse.” Think the Marvel Cinematic Universe but using Indian deities. This story centers around a group of ancient Indian sages that absorb the Brahmshakti, a powerful energy. They all get the ability to wield an Astra, a powerful weapon.
As is always the case, one of them becomes too powerful, the Brahmastra, and has the power to destroy the whole planet. The other sages band together to collectively constrain the Brahmastra and keep it tame. This group is called the Brahmansh and has existed secretly for centuries, safeguarding a token that holds the Brahmastra. That token has been broken into three parts and their separation keeps the Brahmastra at bay.
Enter Dev and Amrita, two members of the Brahmansh who fall in love but when Dev becomes power-hungry, Amrita battles him to prevent him from recombining the Brahmastra and conquering the entire world. Amrita defeats him but everyone assumes they are both destroyed in the battle. Secretly, Amrita
survives and even more secretly gives birth to Dev’s baby. She had been pregnant the whole time.
Fast-forward to modern times: Our protagonist Shiva, who is an orphan from the wrong side of the tracks, falls in love with a very uptown girl, Isha. Together, they realize they are meant to do bigger things and there are evil forces working all around them that only they can stop. No spoilers for the rest of the movie but it’s pretty fantastic and fantastical at the same time.
This story centers around a group of ancient Indian sages that absorb the Brahm-shakti, a powerful energy.
1. When we meet Shiva, he is dancing at a Dussehra festival. This is a festival that celebrates the battle where the 18-armed deity, Durga, riding a lion, defeats Mahishasura as he was transforming into a bull. It’s almost a separate movie.
2. The end of Dussehra signals the Hindi festival of light, Divali, a few weeks later. This signifies light conquering darkness. They refer to that concept a lot in the movie.
3. When we find Isha preparing her uncle’s Divali celebration, there is a dedication to Ravana who is a follower of Shiva (the god, not the movie character). In fact, Ravana is said to have 10 heads but they cut one off to pay tribute to Shiva. Sound familiar?
4. We see people touching the feet of elders. This is a sign of respect in Indian culture but we see the same action in cultures around the globe. It’s a show of reverence for elders. It’s quite common in the Middle East which is why Jesus washing the feet of beggars and prostitutes had such an impact. It was unheard of in their culture.
5. When the Brahmanst all left the sanctuary, most left in cars. One of them left in a helicopter. They were seriously wealthy.
6. The guru’s sanctuary gave off serious Xavier’s School for the Gifted in the X-men series.
7. When Shiva starts to practice how to make fire, he does so in a forest. That seems like the worst place to practice. Also, how long was he there? Halfway through the training montage, he ends up on a snowy field.
8. At the end, Shiva slays the bull with a trident, exactly like the story of Durga, his patron god.
This movie was super exciting and campy in places. It has the requisite singing and dancing that is a staple of Bollywood movies but one can see how the directors wanted to take it up a notch. It’s worth the almost three hours of your time, even if you have to break it up into chunks. Expectations for part 2 are very high.
“Brahmastra: Part One — Shiva” can be seen on Hulu in the U.S., Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ internationally.
It’s worth the almost three hours of your time, even if you have to break it up into chunks.
For Ian Contival, growing up as a Missionary Kid in Taipei, Taiwan from
ages 2 to 17 meant that he was immersed in two cultures.
Contival’s parents, who work for an interdenominational Christian missionary organization called Youth with a Mission (YWAM), enrolled him into a local Taiwanese preschool, so while he spoke English with his parents and three younger siblings at home, his elementary school education was in Mandarin Chinese.
“I think that they [his parents] were there to stay, and they were also trying to just like immerse us in the culture,” he says.
“So by sending even their kids [to a local school], it’s kind of signifying ‘Yes, we are here for the long term,’” according to Contival. “We are trying to be a part of this and not forcing something from the outside.”
Switching to an Englishlanguage, U.S. curriculum after sixth grade was “interesting,” he says. Contival attended high school at Morrison Academy in Taipei.
“I remember going to bed at like 8:00 at night because I was so tired from completely swapping how I thought, at least in school life because at one point, when I was in sixth grade, I was at my peak in my Chinese writing and reading,” he says, adding that to this day he still does arithmetic in Chinese in his head.
Switching grammatical systems from Chinese to English was also a challenge for him, especially writing.
“What you’ve learned for a long time was all in Chinese,” he says. “I could speak [in English] with proper grammar most of the time. But there’s certain things that, when it came to writing, I had no clue. Commas are different and where you put a period is different. So it was a lot of transitioning.”
Even though he was a Missionary Kid, Contival’s parents “didn’t try and mix us with what they were doing that much. For
Commas are different and where you put a period is different. So it was a lot of transitioning.
me, I pretty much only got the perks of it because I had friends. A lot of my close friends were also kids who were missionaries. So we all were going through the same thing. A lot of us went to local school.”
And it wasn’t just U.S. Missionary Kids that Contival hung out with.
“It was Missionary Kids from all around the world,” he says. “I had some friends that were mixed like Taiwanese and English, I think.”
There was even a Brazilian Missionary Kid Contival made friends with where the two spoke in Chinese instead of English or Portuguese.
“That was fun,” he says. “So it was pretty cool.”
He also had local Taiwanese friends, though: “We would just play badminton or whatever in the alley.”
While Contival didn’t become aware of the term Third Culture Kid (TCK) until high school, he was still aware that his upbringing was unique.
“You kind of, you know that you’re a foreigner, but then at the same time, you know you’re a special kind of foreigner,” he says. “I knew I was a Third Culture Kid, I think because I knew American culture-ish a little bit and then I knew Taiwanese culture pretty well and especially with the language thing, I’m so thankful that I did local school because I got to be able to speak Chinese fluently, without an accent.”
Being a white kid who spoke Chinese like a local was fun for Contival.
“You know that you’re a foreigner, but then at the same time, you know you’re a special kind of foreigner.”
“I mean, I had it good because I’m obviously a foreigner in Taiwan,” he says. “But I sounded Taiwanese. So they would be really nervous when I first approached them and I’d just like, blah, I speak Chinese. And they’re like, they’re always shocked most of the time, especially when I first got there, like when we were first there.”
While living in Taiwan, Contival and his family would visit the United States about every two years “to see family, eat American food and buy a ton of clothes and candy,” he says with a laugh.
Being a white kid who spoke Chinese like a local was fun for Contival.
Moving back “home” to the U.S. at age 19 (his parents and three younger siblings are still in Taiwan) was something of a shock for Contival, who now lives in Fort Collins, Colo., where he works as a barista and attends community college.
“I was pretty fortunate with my transition because I came here during January of 2020, and so COVID happened like two months afterwards, like the shutdown and whatnot,” he says. “So I think my culture shock was also mixed with just general shock for everybody. It was kind of like camouflaged a little bit.”
“I’m pretty sure I had it [culture shock] good,” he continues. “I definitely think I’ve realized there were certain things like the fluff that people do sometimes when it comes to communicating here, I wasn’t used to that.”
One thing Contival — who works in the service industry — noticed was how people in the U.S. interact when shopping in stores or coffee shops:
“People in stores in Taiwan just kind of like greet them, do business and then like, ‘Thanks for coming.’ In the States you’re like, ‘Oh, how’s it going,’ stuff like that. And at first, I don’t know, in my head I’m like, ‘With that question, you’re not actually trying to know how I’m doing.’ It’s just formalities and I didn’t like that. It’s little things like that I realized that were my difference
in culture that I just didn’t really connect with. So I was just kind of like a little bit pissed off at everybody while I was [manning the cash] register.”
Learning U.S. pop culture references are also something Contival has had to deal with.
“It’s like, yeah, there’s certain things I’m just not gonna get. If there’s pop culture references, old movies, those are all things that I’m like, yeah, you’re probably gonna have to fill me in on that one,” he says with a laugh.
Growing up abroad has led Contival to want to pursue a master’s degree in counseling.
“At first, I wanted to do some stuff in music and I realized it probably could just be a hobby
rather than like a career, because I wasn’t really taking it that seriously. And then counseling was brought up and I was like, well there’s something in my heart that kinda clicked,” he says.
“I think the more I’ve interacted with people, the more I’m like, yeah, this could be something I could do,” he adds. “And I definitely think people who have grown up third culture, like as Third Culture Kids definitely, there’s certain things you just kind of bypass sometimes, and you can just connect. Especially when it comes to moving and there’s certain things I know I can connect to people with, even if it’s not necessarily in the same, exact same way.”
U.S. pop culture references are also something Contival has had to deal with.
Moving back to the U.S. after living in Taiwan for 17 years also helped Contival note the differences in cultures between the two countries.
“I’ve become more of an individual person, like individual versus collective culture, like Taiwan’s,” he says. In Taiwan, “we’re a collective unit, you work within that. And then the States is definitely more individualized.”
“And so, you’re learning how to be your own person,” he continues. “I got the collective aspect down because that’s where I grew up, and now I’m learning how to become my own person, thinking for myself and things like that.”
That dichotomy between the collective and the individual has helped Contival strengthen his own personal faith.
“You’re learning how to be your own person,” he says.
“With that all meshed together in like a spiritual sense, it’s just really helped me know more about myself and with that, connect to the Lord because of that,” he says.
For a grown-up Missionary Kid, moving back to the U.S. “was a massive transition,” Contival says, where for some it can be the cause of a loss of faith. Not for him, though.
“Moving to the States, that’s kind of what happened to me,” he says. “I’ve been holding on to
[my faith] because it is something that’s constant and if you do have a relationship with the Lord, you see Him help you through life stages. So yeah, that’s definitely been something I’ve held onto. And I think moving here, it’s you either go one of two ways: You choose to either continue to try and follow Him or not, and you have to make a separation. You can’t be lukewarm, especially when it’s massive transitions.”
“So moving to the States was a massive transition, and so I chose to continue with the Lord,” he says.
When asked what is a lesson he learned as a Missionary Kid when coming back to his “home” country and adapting to U.S. culture, Contival says there is value in every culture.
“Go into it looking like that and then things become a lot more appealing and easier,” he says. “And if you’re choosing to move somewhere, you are going to be letting go of certain aspects of yourself.”
Being OK with that and learning to be OK with bringing in things that you might not necessarily like at first “because it’s just how you were brought up, but you can learn to like it if you choose to” is also important, he adds.
Each issue, we visit a country to bring you the sights, sounds and flavor of the local culture. With Culturs Celebrations, we create a Dinner Party Kit for 10 to make it easy for you to join the party and invite your friends and family. Get festive with us!
Kenyan food staple is ubiquitous in a number of countries on the Continent. It has roots in India and will leave mouths watering and taste buds swimming in deliciousness.
1. 3 cups all purpose flour
2. 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
3. 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4. 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5. 1 1/4 cup warm water
In a large bowl add flour and optional sugar, then salt and mix dry ingredients well.
Follow with wet ingredients: water and vegetable oil.
Knead to form a soft and sticky dough.
Place dough on a heavily floured surface and knead until soft. About 10 to 15 minutes.
Continue to add flour to dough as needed, but not too much as dough should be pliable, smooth and soft. Divide dough into baseball-sized pieces and let it rest 10 minutes to relax the gluten ( this makes softer Chapati).
Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a circle — once flattened, roll the dough like a cinnamon roll.
Slice into pieces to flatten and create individual Chapatis by rolling out the dough from the center working outwards.
Rotate the dough each time you roll it to make as symmetrical a circle as possible.
Roll out until 1.5 cm/0.59in thickness and to size of pan using to cook.
Place dough in lightly oiled stove top skillet on medium to medium-high heat.
Cook for about 2 - 3 minutes rotating until golden brown. Serve warm.
The food of champions.
Ugali is a starch made from corn that often is considered a staple at the Kenyan and Tanzanian tables. Made with love and a bit of elbow grease, the thick meal is used as a utensil to capture the other food on your plate with each bite. Check out the online exclusive to watch the making of Ugali in action.
Measurements: 1:1.5 corn meal to water. Salt to
Reduce heat to medium-low and stir regularly, smashing any lumps with a spoon, until the meal pulls away from the sides of the pot and becomes very thick. About 10 minutes.
Place the Ugali into a large serving bowl, it will form a mound — flip onto a plate for serving.
Strain excess water (the broth) and put on the side.
Add oil and mix.
Add onions and mix.
Add ginger and mix.
Add tomato paste and mix.
Put beef in stove to start cooking, wait until beef produces it own water.
Add serrano peppers until beef is cooked.
Add diced tomatos and mix.
Add back beef broth and mix.
Serve.1. Beef 2. Fine chopped serrano peppers 3. Oil 4. Chopped red onion 5. Ginger paste 6. Tomato paste 7. Diced tomatoes
The indian diaspora in Kenya can be traced back to the 17th century with British colonial rule. Recipes such as chapati and chai come from this heritage.
Bring milk and water mix to a boil.
Let it sit.
1 part milk to 2 parts water
Sprinkle black tea mix on top.
Mix with mesh strainer.
Bring to a boil.
Wait until mix turns brown.
Pour through the mesh strainer into a container and serve.3. Black tea leaves spiced with ginger
This Kenyan take on kale will leave your mouth watering. Some reports call this dish “collard greens” or even describe it as “mistaken” for kale, however, our experts in Kenya created this recipe and use kale as the main ingredient.
Watch our video extra online to view it being made step-by-step. Quick, delicious and healthy, it’s a bounty for the senses.
Chop onions — set aside separately. Heat oil and fry onion until it starts turning brown, then add the kale.
Mix vegetable oil with a little water then add to cooking mixture, along with the tomatoes.
Stir ingredients and cook on medium high for up to 10 minutes.
Salt to taste as necessary. Serve with Ugali.1. 3 - 5 stalks of kale 2. 1 - 2 white onions 3. 1 can of chopped tomatoes 4. Salt 5. Vegetable oil
Zanzibari cuisine includes culinary influences from Bantu, Arab, Portuguese, Indian, British and Chinese culture. Biryani is similar to but is not Pulao. Both are delicious rice dishes with abundant spices. Biryani originated primarily on the Indian subcontinent, while pulao has its origin in Central Asia. According to the “Times of India,” Biryani is made using the draining method of cooking, whereas pulao is made through the absorption method. While preparing biryani, the rice is parboiled in water and then drained. Whereas while preparing pulao, the amount of water or stock is completely absorbed by the rice and vegetables in the dish.
INGREDIENTS FOR CRISPY
1. 2 medium onions (yellow, brown) halved and finely sliced
2. 1 cup (250 ml) oil, for frying
INGREDIENTS FOR SAFFRON:
1. 1 tsp saffron threads (loosely packed )
2. 2 tbsp warm water
INGREDIENTS FOR PARBOILED RICE:
1. 2 tbsp salt
2. 10 cloves
3. 5 dried bay leaves
4. 1 star anise
5. 6 cardamon pods
6. 450 mg uncooked basmati rice
1. 1 cup coriander / cilantro, chopped
2. (60 g) ghee, melted
Mix marinade in a large pot. Add chicken and coat well. Marinade 20 minutes to overnight.
Bring 3 liters water to boil, add salt and spices.
Add rice, bring back up to the boil then cook for 4 minutes, or until rice is just cooked although still a bit firm in the middle. Rice will taste salty at this stage, disappears in the next stage of cooking.
Drain immediately. Set aside. (Leaving whole spices in)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Cook onion, in batches, for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t burn — they become bitter.
Remove onto paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining onion.
Place in bowl, leave for 10 minutes.
Place pot with chicken in it onto a stove over medium heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove lid. Cook for 5 minutes, turning chicken twice.
Remove from heat.
Turn chicken so skin is down — it should cover most of the base of the pot.
Scatter half of the onion, then half of the coriander over the chicken.
Top with all the rice. Gently pat down and flatten surface.
Drizzle saffron across rice surface in random pattern, then drizzle over ghee.
Place lid on. Return to stove over medium heat.
As soon as you see steam, turn down to low then cook for 25 minutes.
Remove from stove, rest with lid on for 10 minutes.
Aim to serve it so you get nice patches of yellow rice, white rice, the curry-stained rice plus chicken (rather than all mixed up). To do this, use a large spoon and dig deep into the pot, and try to scoop up as much as you can in one scoop.
Scan the QR code below or visit this link to download a kit and watch the videos: cultursmag.com/culturscelebrates-the-community
For Aztec and Mexican-American bestselling author Anita Sanchez, the
term “indigenous” has a lot of meanings.
“Anthropologically, we are all indigenous, because to be indigenous means to be of the earth, the water, all the animals, the minerals, but we’re also stardust,” she says.
Sanchez, author of “The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times,” says humans are “both earthly and cosmological beings.”
“But in these times when people use the word ‘indigenous,’ they’re talking about some of us whose families have kept and passed on the original knowledge,” she adds. “It doesn’t mean we’re even in the same land space because so many of us got moved all over the place and so many are more urban than in reservations all over the world.”
Once a year, Sanchez leads a journey into the sacred headwaters of the Amazon for the Pachamama Alliance, of which she is a board member.
The trips are made up of generally business people and their families who are searching for a clearer purpose and connection to nature.
Sanchez recounts one time where the group met a young indigenous boy who was fishing along the river and one of the participants asked how does he know when he needs to move away from the water if there’s danger lurking.
“And he looked at the [tourist] and he just said, well he didn’t say ‘dummy,’ but it was a kind way of saying ‘silly,’” Sanchez chuckles, quoting the boy as saying: “‘You watch the birds, the frogs, they’re all gonna move. I’m gonna move.’”
“In these times when people use the word ‘indigenous,’ they’re talking about some of us whose families have kept and passed on the original knowledge,” she says.
The signs of the natural world changing are all around us and “have been here for us for some time, of the ice melting, of different species dying,” she adds.
“We’re causing this. We just need to observe,” according to Sanchez.
Anthropologically, we are all indigenous, because to be indigenous means to be of the earth, the water, all the animals, the minerals, but we’re also stardust.
Despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, which killed many indigenous people, including members of Sanchez’s own family, the global pause that came out of it resulted in cleaner waters and skies due to less pollution, she notes.
“Where I live in the foothills of the Rockies, more mountain lions and bears were coming through,” she says. “I remember I used to be able to see the skyline of Denver 35 miles away with clarity, but I hadn’t for years because it was all smoggy.”
The pandemic was a chance for people to be present to the world around them, according to Sanchez.
“We just need to slow down, to actually have it hook in, have it register in our hearts and in our minds, so that then our actions will follow,” she says.
Scan the QR code below to learn more about Sanchez’s work: cultursmag.com/anita-sanchez-on-what-it-means
Giving up trying to explain an experience because people are unable to relate to it, be it by envy or the foreignness of the concept. THIRD
For Nigerian-American Peter Ukhurebor, getting more people of color through the door into the advertising world is a top priority.
Ukhurebor, who is managing director at Uniworld Group, a multicultural advertising and marketing agency, is striving to make the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France more diverse and inclusive.
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the oldest advertising award event in the world and
Cannes is the most respected event in the world when it comes to the world of advertising and media in terms of awards that people in the industry want to be recognized for, for their level of creativity.
happens to be the biggest that cuts across different genres of all the different segments of the advertising industry, from digital to print to radio and television.
“Cannes is the most respected event in the world when it comes to the world of advertising and media in terms of awards that people in the industry want to be recognized for, for their level of creativity,” he says.
To that end, Ukhurebor founded Black at Cannes to do three things:
• “Create systematic change in advertising by increasing representation of black people at Cannes on the Jurors, speakers, and attendees list. This will create more diverse work in the advertising industry and in turn create more equity for brands and agencies alike.
Black at Cannes started out from basically an initiative that the advertising industry is not inclusive of people of color and it’s not as diverse as we want it to be in relation to what the world holds in terms of numbers for people of color.
• “Ensure increased representation of Black creatives in advertising in all levels via using the biggest advertising platform to educate brands on the need for diversity through panels, fireside chat, and much more pushing black culture at the center of the festival.
• “Create a space for black vendors and brands to attain a level of success on the global stage, thus changing the world of advertising to be more diverse and inclusive.”
“Black at Cannes started out from basically an initiative that the advertising industry is not inclusive of people of color and it’s not as diverse as we want it to be in relation to what the world holds in terms of numbers for people of color,” he says.
A few years ago, Ukhurebor and a few friends approached the organizers of the festival and spoke with them on the possibilities for infusing more diverse judges at Cannes.
Fast forward to 2022, and there was a tilt from 30% representation for people of color to 47% representation after he and his friends engaged them, according to Ukhurebor.
“So we now decided this was step one, but how do we create an avenue?” he says. “When people actually get to Cannes, what are the possibilities for them to feel inclusive and be part of those private parties that you don’t have accessibility into attending?”
After that, Ukhurebor and his friends created the “Green Book,” a list of festival events that are known to be inclusive of people of color, modeled on the “Green Book” that African-Americans used to travel to places throughout the country that were friendly to and safe for them.
The Black at Cannes Green Book, in addition to giving people of color access into parties and events at the festival, also has a safety component, according to Ukhurebor.
“I’ve seen black women who are in C-suites being told at Cannes by certain unscrupulous people that maybe they were prostitutes or you were basically there for some notorious reasons,” he says, adding: “So in terms of safety, we also use the Green Book as … what it was originally meant for safe spaces where you can feel welcome, safe spaces where you can feel appreciated, safe spaces where you know what to do.”
That said, the Green Book is for people of all colors, according to Ukhurebor.
We also use the Green Book as … what it was originally meant for safe spaces where you can feel welcome, safe spaces where you can feel appreciated, safe spaces where you know what to do.An outdoor panel at the cannes lions, courtesy of Cannes Lions.
have a Pinterest or Google venue as a venue
because such positions weren’t available for black people.
“Now, this was post-Apartheid South Africa, and to be told that the space wasn’t something for me, that actually … gave me a drive in relation to ensuring that spaces where I’m not welcomed, I make my own room and I make sure that those possibilities that they say I couldn’t achieve, I make sure that I achieve them by making sure I can push.
Further, he also wants to see more brands that capitalize on the African diaspora market in places like Brazil and others.
“It doesn’t only mean that it has to be black-related,” he says. “You can also have a Pinterest or Google venue as a venue that people of color can actually go into because they’ve been certified that they are welcoming to us. So for us, we want that same accessibility, but we want that same respect to be accorded to us.”
The origins of Ukhurebor’s drive to start the Black at Cannes initiative actually goes back nearly two decades.
When he was in advertising school in Cape Town, South Africa, a professor discouraged him from pursuing an ad career
“So for me, that has been my drive, from walking out as a copywriter to an ad director, to a brand manager, to a brand director, and for me, that has pushed me to the position of wanting to see change for people that look like me,” Ukhurebor continues. “So they won’t get those kind of statements or get those kind of words from somebody who has been in the industry for a period of over 50 years.”
Consequently, Ukhurebor is seeking “systematic change based off the fact that I want to see more possibilities for people who are coming after me and be able to be in the C-suites.”
Additionally, Ukhurebor wants the Cannes Lions festival to feature more brands that are of African origin.
“When we speak about Cannes, it’s not only for the agencies, but we also speak about the brands,” he says. “We don’t see African-based brands who are doing a billion dollars in Africa, yet they are not showing up on the global stage.”
“Those are the things that we see that those markets are not being capitalized,” he says. “And how do we focus on the strategizing and connecting with all these sets of people by creating a Pan-African plan. And that is the idea of Black at Cannes.”
To listen to the full podcast interview, scan the QR code below. cultursmag.com/peter-ukhurebor-on-making
You can also
that people of color can actually go into because they’ve been certified that they are welcoming to us.Photo courtesy of Peter Ukhurebor.
A Tanzanian Milestone Birthday Celebration and the power of friendship.
If you had the chance to celebrate a milestone birthday with a group of friends at an exotic location, would you do it?
From shows to watch and songs to hear, to artistry, shopping and things to explore, know and do, here’s a specially curated list of things we recommend as MUST experience items for the culturally fluid.
Tabemasho is Japanese for LET’S EAT! It brings to life your favorite Japanese
foods and how they came to delight the American palate.
Tabemasho! is a tasty look at how Japanese food has evolved in the United States to currently enjoy culinary popularity with sushi sold in supermarkets across the country and ramen available in hipster restaurants everywhere. Read more about author Gil Asakawa on page 76, for the backstory on how his life inspired this incredible read.
Available on Amazon for $18.95 in paperback or $8.99 on Kindle.
It describes “a rare illness that upends everything they thought they knew about family and forgiveness. Ultimately, Tembi’s tribulations lead her back to the Sicilian countryside and her mother-in-law’s table, where with the healing gifts of simple fresh food, the embrace of a close-knit community and the power of enduring love, she finds the strength to step into a new life.”
Locke’s website calls the Netflix limited series a story that
This MUST KNOW stems from a current Netflix Limited Series that spent five weeks
in Netflix’s Global Top 10 TV list in late October and much of November 2022. The adaptation reached the Top 10 TV lists in 84 countries and is an extension of author Tembi Locke’s New York Times Best-Selling book “From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home.”
It’s a powerful, cross-cultural love story of a Sicilian man and African-American woman who discover themselves, and love, in Italy.
The book outlines the author’s relationship with her late husband Saro through three summers spent in the Sicilian countryside. We anticipate their coming together in the streets of Florence, revel in their move to Los Angeles, U.S.A., and just when all seems going well despite familial and cultural differences, we feel their grief as they deal with hardship and loss.
We knew things would have to change from the book to the screen.
development and writing process a shorthand, a shared creative sensibility and an intimate knowledge of these characters. As sisters and storytellers with more than four decades of combined Hollywood experience, both in front of and behind the camera, we knew things would have to change from the book to the screen. The narrative structure would shift and we have an open willingness to fictionalize,” she says.
The sisters’ hope was to weave an expanded story that leaves the audience with deeper insights and leaves viewers longing to read the book.
Locke serves as an executive producer and co-writer for the Netflix limited series inspired by her book.
A masterful read about food, art, love, hope and forgiveness; not to mention the power of human connection.
sits at the interaction of real life and fiction, inspired by a lifetime of stories that never made it into the book.
“Working with my sister, Attica Locke, and a team of incredible writers made the prospect of adapting ‘From Scratch’ even more exciting. Attica and I bring to the
Limited Series: on Netflix.
Book: Simon and Schuster, $18 at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Indie Bound.
For Aztec and MexicanAmerican bestselling author
Anita Sanchez, the inspiration for her book “The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times” originally came from her dying mother.
“She was very ready to die,” Sanchez says of her mother. “She was always such an upbeat person, even though she had a lot of challenges in life. She was sad and I was like, ‘Oh, I know you know you’re dying, but there’s a sadness that I’m not used to seeing.’ And she goes, ‘Well, I don’t mind that I’m dying. It’s that my great-great-grandchildren won’t know me.’”
So Sanchez began writing a book about her mother. But when she died in 2012, Sanchez says it took her a couple years before she could get back into it.
As she was writing, though, the Eagle Hoop Prophecy — a vision Mohican Elder Don Coyhis experienced in the mid-1990s — kept making its way into her thoughts.
“As I was starting to write the book, my book came out and so I was just like, ‘Mom, I know you’ll understand, I’m going to write your book, your great, great, great, great, great grandchildren will know who you are, but this keeps coming,’” Sanchez says. “And so that was the motivation then to like, OK, you’re to write about this. And the Four Sacred Gifts of this Eagle Hoop Prophecy was a big turning point in my life in the nineties when I received it.”
The Four Sacred Gifts of this Eagle Hoop Prophecy was a big turning point in my life.
In her book, Sanchez describes Coyhis’ prophecy as follows:
“An eagle flew above his sleeping self, dropping a beam of light upon the man’s head. This ray of light began to expand, reaching from the sky to the earth. Within the light, a very small sprout sprung forth, becoming a tree, growing through each of the four seasons — the spring, summer, fall and winter. Then the leaves of this tree began to fall off. And then soon, the branches began to fall off. What remained was a single stem of the tree, which rose up vertically and then turned horizontally, bending
and forming itself into the perfect shape of a circle to represent the earth and the universe. When the circle or hoop was completed, a single dot of light formed in the sky, coming down to the hoop. The dot of light transformed into an eagle feather attaching itself to the hoop. Then more and more dots of light came from all the four directions — north, east, south and west — becoming eagle feathers, attaching themselves to the hoop until there were one hundred eagle feathers in all.”
While she had been a messenger for the prophecy when she first heard it, Sanchez says she “never took that as meaning I was to write a book as well to amplify the voices of all the elders from all over the world who brought forth that prophecy.”
Her editors at Simon & Schuster suggested that she add more quotes from indigenous elders from around the world.
“And I was like, ‘Oh no, that’s a couple more months already,’” she says with a chuckle. “But I knew they were right, so I never said no. I said, ‘Absolutely, yes.’”
Never took that as meaning I was to write a book as well to amplify the voices of all the elders from all over the world who brought forth that prophecy.
Consequently, Sanchez reached out to indigenous elders from around the world of all ages, young and old.
“Elder does not have to do with age. It has to do with your connection to the original knowledge and the community seeing you,” she says.
Coyhis, according to Sanchez, heard in his vision that he was to call the elders from all the directions because human beings had forgotten what it means to be a whole human being.
“They had forgotten how to create harmony and balance,” she says. “They’ve forgotten that they are part of nature, not separate. And so all the relations are sacred.”
So when Sanchez began meeting with indigenous elders from around the world to talk about her book and get quotes from them, “They said, ‘We already knew. We knew it was a woman who was gonna take this message out. We didn’t know it was you, but yes, the answer’s yes, go do it.’”
“I’m really grateful that the elders trusted me to write this book and to take it out and to have people show up,” she says.
Dr. Sanchez’s book is available on Amazon and all major booksellers.
I’m really grateful that the elders trusted me to write this book and to take it out and to have people show up.
Friendships improve our networks, optimize our immune systems, and according to studies, can make us more successful at work and increase our life span. And the advantages grow as we age.
There’s an official International Friendship Month and Friendship Day?
National Today is an organization that works to gather special holidays and moments from around the world — “the occasions that bring people together — and help everyone celebrate.” With this in mind, nationaltoday.com outlines the history of International Friendship Month, which takes place in February:
“In 1958, Paraguay became the first country to announce Friendship Day, which was to be celebrated on July 30. As the world reels from unprecedented times, we need international solidarity now more than ever. The friendship between nations and their citizens is essential to global prosperity, and celebrating this spirit of brotherhood and commonality is the key essence behind the day.
“While we celebrate Friendship Day on the first Sunday of August, the month-long celebration of friendship in unison with the world falls in February. The origin and designation of this observation remain unclear, but the intention does not. International Friendship Day honors the beauty and necessity of friendships in our lives and is a call to bridge the gap between strangers and acquaintances.”
From Italy to Buenos Aires, Shanghai to Vancouver and
beyond, this era’s “Women of a Certain Age” are garnering attention from varied spaces. That certain age is 50-plus years on the planet. Hyped on social media for embracing gorgeous grey locks and impressing the masses like the thirtysomethings of yesteryear in mind, body and spirit, people — especially women, are exuding fearlessness as they grow older. Could some of that fearlessness come from the confidence of friendship?
In a 2015 United Statesbased TED Talk titled, “Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, A Hilarious Celebration of Lifelong Female Friendships,” interviewer Pat Mitchel opens by citing a quote: “You can tell a lot about someone, in this case a woman, by the company she keeps.
If that’s the case, then the group you’re about to meet has impeccable taste.
Prompted by native New Yorker Stephanie Clarke’s wish to have a non-schleppy beach birthday, this crew descended upon Arusha, the Serengeti and Zanzibar in Tanzania, Africa, for an epic 50th safari, no-holdsbarred beach holiday.
“It started with, ‘I want to go somewhere fabulous for my birthday,’” says Clarke, who had enjoyed beach birthday celebrations close to home every year for the last decade. “Family and friends, we’d go to my local beach and we’d just hang out. It was just a nice day.
“But to make it a nice day there’s a lot of schlepping. So there’s the umbrellas, and the bags, and the food, and the kids and going to the store…” her voice trails, overtaken by a momentary look of breathlessness. “To make it a nice day, it’s a lot of schlepping — it’s always like a big deal and you’re exhausted when you get there.”
She then birthed the idea of going to the beach, but with full pampering treatment.
“I think one day I said, ‘You know what — one day we are going to go away for my birthday. We’re going to be on the beach but we’re going to be treated. People are going to come to us. We’re not going to bring all this stuff to the beach, they will bring it to us.”
A friend suggested Tanzania had beautiful beaches, igniting Clarke’s globetrotting fire. After all, if she decided on a birthday beach bash on the other side of the world, why not enjoy all that location had to offer?
“And I thought, ‘Well, if I’m going to go all the way to Tanzania, I’m going on safari —Stephanie Clarke
Native New Yorker, hailing from the Bronx, Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Yale University, where she also studied Theatre. Actor, working in TV, Film and Theater in NYC, as well as portrayed Rosa Parks in theatrical U.S. tour. Daughter to Sonja, college roommate to Cherise, fellow bridesmaid at Cherise’s wedding with Vicky. Auntie to her brother’s daughter and her two daughters. Godmother to Cherise’s daughters. “Trips with mom inspired my love of travel. Our first big trip was to Greece when I was 10, followed by Egypt, more tours of Europe, India/Nepal, Australia/New Zealand.”
You can tell a lot about someone, in this case a woman, by the company she keeps.
Her 1936 unwed teenage parents so scandalized her maternal grandmother, that her grandmother then raised her. “Her manner from an 1895 upbringing, vs. Mom’s 1920s caused ongoing friction except regarding education. Therefore, school became transformative. As a married adult with two children, I enrolled in college, then, graduate school, earning two Masters in Education. I taught public school, second grade and college writing as an adjunct professor. Education fueled my love of learning, provided funding for travel to three continents, various U.S. excursions and Mexico. Now a great-grandmother, I share my acquired wisdom: Travel — invaluable knowledge is gained by leaving your comfort zone.”
I’m going to make it a whole thing. We’re going to make it a bucket list trip,’” she says.
After sharing the idea with Cherise Fisher, Clarke’s undergraduate roommate from Yale who also would be celebrating her 50th trip around the sun, the idea was solidified. “I go where Stephanie leads me,” Fisher says. “It didn’t take a lot of convincing.”
Fisher is the main connection to the final Tanzania safari/beach birthday group, as aptly noted by group member Vicky Levy during their appearance on Culturs’ “Destinations With Doni” podcast. With friendship spans of 20-plus years to as long as, well, their entire lives, this group and their extended friend and family groups get what it takes to thrive as life gets golden.
Fisher and Levy (who also was turning 50) have been friends since age 12. Upon hearing about the upcoming escapade over lunch, Levy quizzed, “why am I not invited to this?”
“We were not going to invite partnered people because we just assumed married people wouldn’t want to leave their husbands,” says Fisher. But Levy’s husband Tucker was all in, encouraging his wife to go. He would happily hold down the fort and take care of their daughter. The two wound up spending an epic 36 hours in Dubai hosted by another decadeslong friend on their way to Tanzania.
Along for the ride came Fisher’s cousin Nicole Kennedy and me, with my motto “you gotta show up for people.”
Harder to convince was Clarke’s octogenarian mother, Sonja Brown Clarke.
The woman who’d taken her pre-teen daughter around the world to see sights they’d previously known only on screen in their favorite films, suddenly was willing to clip her own wings post-COVID.
Clarke shares, “The reason I’m a traveler is because of her, but she was nervous to go on the trip.”
In the end, the motherdaughter bond won. “It was the very best trip of my entire life,” shares Brown-Clarke, who had been traveling since she was young because of her own mother’s profession as a dancer.
Even so, “I had to convince her this wouldn’t be a rough trip,” laughs Clarke. “This was going to be glamping.”
Reminiscing on their previousSonja
trips, Brown-Clarke shares, “Stephanie was always ready to go. She was my travel partner.”
As much friend as daughter, perhaps?
Multiple studies, including a 308,000-participant Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging, found people with the most friends have a 22 percent better chance of outliving those with few friends. Moreover, friendship has a bigger impact on those odds than close family, children or other relatives.
In a 2017 Inc.com article on work-life balance, Jeff Haden called it the “one secret to living a longer, healthier life.”
Haden writes, “A clinical review of nearly 150 studies found that people with strong social ties had a 50 percent better chance of survival, regardless of age, sex, health status and cause of death than those with weaker ties.” Continuing to cite that” with “Additionally, researchers put the health risk of having few
Montserratian-American born who grew up on the island and in the N.Y./New Jersey area as a child of immigrants. After undergrad at Yale, began her career in publishing more than 25 years ago, spending many years editing and publishing several national bestselling and award-winning authors at Simon & Schuster and Plume (an imprint of Penguin Random House), where she was Editor-inChief. “I now work with novelists who have multiple compulsively readable yarns in their head (both historical and contemporary), memoirists who showcase the diversity of human experience and non-fiction writers who seek to provoke, inspire and educate.” Her intention is that all the books she helps bring into the world are relevant, enduring and help readers maximize their life.Cherise Fisher
I thought well if I’m going to go all the way to Tanzania, I’m going on safari — I’m going to make it a whole thing.
We’re going to make It a bucket list trip.
friends in line with smoking 15 cigarettes a day, “and more dangerous than being obese or not exercising in terms of decreasing your lifespan.”
We’re talking real friends here — not social media friends, acquaintances or those with whom you are “friendly.”
Not only can you possibly live a longer, healthier life, those friends can potentially increase financial wealth as well. During
the interview, Levy noted that a strong theme throughout the group is that each is a product of strong mothers (like BrownClarke). In addition, however, a Harvard Business Reviewpublished study found that women who have a strong circle of friends are more likely to earn executive positions with higher pay.Levy
Peruvian-American, New Yorker currently living in Boston. Lived and worked Switzerland for five years with her husband and 13 yr old daughter, Gracie. Wife, sister and friend. She’s been a Management Consultant for 25 years, currently leading Deloitte’s life sciences (pharmaceutical, med tech and bio tech) practice globally. “I have the privilege of inspiring and harnessing the power of over 30k individuals around the Deloitte network who are in the practice,” she says. Loves global travel, sports and the outdoors.
In the HBR February 2019 article, “Men and Women Need Different Kinds of Networks to Succeed,” writer Brian Uzzi concludes: “Women who were in the top quartile of centrality and had a female-dominated inner circle of one to three women landed leadership positions that were 2.5 times higher in authority and pay than those of their female peers lacking this combination.”
So next time a friend asks you to take an off-the-cuff, potentially life-changing (no matter how fabulous your life has been), trip with the girls? Pause and think it through before you answer.
For more information, check the link or scan the QR code below. cultursmag.com/all-you-need-is-love-andVicky
On the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance 2022, a day to
honor the memory of transgender people who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence, a man wielding an AR-15 style rifle attacked an L.G.B.T.Q. nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., U.S.A. called Club Q.
Five human beings were murdered, over 25 souls were injured and countless others are now experiencing emotional trauma.
At the time of this writing in late November 2022, this was the 662nd mass shooting incident to take place in 2022 in the United States. This number is only part of the 39,461 people who died that year due to gun violence.
As Childish Gambino put it plainly, “This Is America.”
In July 2022, the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity took place in Cannes, France, where among the attendees were Manuel and Patricia Oliver, who along with their late son Joaquin had created the nonprofit Change the Ref organization. Joaquin (affectionately known as Guac), was shot and killed on Valentine’s Day, 2018 “in a hallway outside of his creative writing class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.”
Joaquin was one of 17 people who were murdered and 17 more who were physically injured. Emotionally, the injuries persist indefinitely.
Today, the Oliver family has a message for everyone who will listen: gun violence must end, now.
Manuel Oliver explains, “Our whole family was living in Venezuela — ourselves and our two kids, Andrea and Joaquin. Things were not looking good in Venezuela 20 years ago, and we were already planning to move to a place where our kids would have a better future. I am a European citizen, from Spain, and Patricia has family in Florida. We ended up choosing Florida. We did our homework and chose a place where our kids could have the best education possible. We were chasing the American dream, and we ended up living the American nightmare.”
Patricia Oliver continues, “People continue to come [to the United States] — even by walking. I tell friends, ‘This is not the country we imagined.’ We were attacked, personally, yet [before the attack] we were never afraid to send our kids anywhere or go to Joaquin’s games or events. We felt completely safe and relaxed. It takes a lot of sacrifices to move to another country, and you have to consider the whole picture.”
Manuel Oliver adds, “There is always a level of risk in any situation, so you have to consider the levels. Because gun violence [in the United States] is becoming worse year after year, day after day, now [the risk] is well known. Organizations like ours have been letting people know what is going on. All immigrants are looking for a safer future for their kids. We were willing to sacrifice our friends, our networks, our comfort zones — everything [for the sake of our kids].”
Today, the Oliver family has a message for everyone who will listen: gun violence must end, now.
Manuel Oliver explains, “At the time my son was murdered, I was working as a Creative Director in the music industry. It was a fun job and I was very happy promoting blues music. You have to find ways to sell the vibe, as a product, and convince people that this is the music you should be listening to. When the tragedy happened, I made a call to my boss that night to let him know I quit.
“After that, we flipped what I was doing with blues and [poured it] into Joaquin. We continue to have legit contact with Joaquin [because] he was old enough to leave us posts, comments, thoughts, behaviors, passions — everything. We know him.
“Change the Ref, the nonprofit we created, is an extension of Joaquin. It’s the opportunity for Joaquin to continue saying things. Joaquin was against gun violence — we know that. He loved his family, and we need to let people know that. By doing that we continue to be Joaquin’s parents.
“You can either quit your parenting or reset and reimagine your parenting. This is the way we have become, today, Joaquin’s parents. His intentions were always civil rights, pro-choice and gun violence prevention. Today, we are his messengers.”
There is always a level of risk in any situation, so you have to consider the levels. Because gun violence [in the United States] is becoming worse year after year, day after day, now [the risk] is well known.
Patricia Oliver continues, “Joaquin was a very deep thinker — often expressing himself in Tweets. We have a group of girls who collected all of his Tweets for us to read. Every day we are finding something new — it’s beautiful. I used to clean his room, and I continue to do so. I once found a paper from school that he wrote when he was 12. It started, ‘Dear U.S. Gun Owners. I don’t understand why you have a problem with background checks.'”
Manuel Oliver adds, “Our goal is that people know Joaquin. Like any parent, we want all possibilities and opportunities to go to the legacy of our son. The purpose we move forward every day [through Change The Ref] is for him.”
Manuel Oliver replies, “Gun violence in America is not only an American problem. It’s creating consequences in other nations. Injustice should get us all involved — it doesn’t matter where it is coming from. In America, gun violence kills more than 45,000 people every year. Let’s work together. Join our movement and save a life. It’s easier than you think.”
Patricia Oliver adds, “Our Shame Cards are very powerful — when you see one from afar, you don’t get it. Once you see it closer, you see the tragedy [and understand].”
• Visit the Museum of the Incomplete to honor the “incomplete works of artists, educators, researchers, scholars, and athletes who never had the opportunity to realize their true potential.”
• Learn about Change The Ref and all the important initiatives that empower the voices of youth.
• Turn a Post Into A Letter to let your representatives know, in Joaquin’s handwriting, that gun reform matters to you. Or, send them a Shame Card to remind them that gun violence impacts every state,
and every person, in the United States and beyond.
• See how pro-gun advocate David Keene gave a graduation speech to The Lost Class.
• Hear from Joaquin himself, who asks you to vote — because his vote is Unfinished.
Scan the QR code for the links mentioned in this story: cultursmag.com/gun-violence-and-waking-up
Our shame cards are very powerful.
For Japanese-American journalist and author Gil Asakawa, it’s incredible to see how
Japanese food has become accepted in the United States.
“[I]t’s amazing to see the cultural evolution — nay, revolution — that now has Japanese restaurants in every city and sushi in supermarkets across the U.S.,” Asakawa writes in his book “Tabemasho! Let’s Eat!: A Tasty History of Japanese Food in America.”
Asakawa was born in Japan of Japanese-American parents who had moved back to Japan right before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into World War II.
In an interview with Culturs Magazine’s Doni Aldine for the “Destinations with Doni” podcast, Asakawa talks about growing up in Tokyo and going to school on U.S. military bases.
“I had this very bicultural upbringing of hanging with U.S. Military B.R.A.T.s during the day and then going home to the Japanese neighborhood, playing with my Japanese friends after school,” he says.
When the family moved to the U.S. in 1966, Asakawa was 8 years old, in third grade, “and my mom still cooked this mixture of Japanese food at home and American food and my dad would grill the steaks on the hibachi grill on the back porch.”
Asakawa talks about having a “bicultural foodie upbringing” where his mother would make spaghetti with meat sauce for the rest of the family and salmon with rice for herself.
Between him and his older and younger brother — he was the middle child — Asakawa says he connected more than the other two with his mother about how she cooked things.
“I paid attention to my mom,” he says. “I paid attention to the cutting board she used and the sound that her knife — it’s called a hocho, a Japanese kitchen knife — the sound that it made when she was cutting carrots or cucumbers or ... cabbage or anything, chicken, shrimp.”
Asakawa maintains a blog — nikkeiview.com — that concentrates on Japanese and Asian identity, racism and history as well as news. It was that blog that caused a publisher, Stone Bridge Press, to approach him over a decade ago to invite him to write a book, “Being Japanese American: A JA Sourcebook for Nikkei, Hapa ... and Their Friends” about the history of
I had this very bicultural upbringing of hanging with U.S. Military B.R.A.T.s during the day and then going home to the Japanese neighborhood, playing with my Japanese friends after school.
Japanese-Americans. The book was published in 2004 and a second edition came out in 2014 due to an increase in U.S. interest in Japanese pop culture.
“And then at some point I realized, you know what? I’m really into food and I’m going to ask Stone Bridge Press, my publisher, if they’d be interested in a book about Japanese food, not just the history of Japanese food, because there’s a couple of really good, well-researched books about that, but how Japanese food changed and evolved as it became popular in the U.S.,” he says.
When Asakawa first moved to the U.S. in the mid-1960s, his third-grade classmates would tease him about eating “raw fish.” Fast-forward to the 21st century and those same classmates’ grandkids are the ones going to their local supermarket and buying sushi “because it’s not weird or gross or exotic to them.”
Even sushi, which has such a huge popularity at restaurants in the U.S. nowadays, wasn’t something he or his family ate much of when they were living in Japan.
“My mom would make certain kinds of sushi for New Year’s and invite friends over, or we would go out for special occasions to restaurants that were known for their sushi,” he says. “And it’s kind of the same with JapaneseAmericans in the U.S. ... Yeah, we all eat sushi, but we didn’t necessarily grow up eating sushi.”
That said, nowadays Asakawa knows very well when he’s eating “lame” sushi, particularly if the chef cooks the rice in a certain way.
“The slight sweetness that goes into sushi rice is so important,” he says. “The way that sushi chefs have to fan the rice while they’re cutting it, they’ll never smash the rice, the individual pieces of rice, they kind of sprinkle the vinegar and then they kind of mix it and they fan it at the same time to cool it.
“You can tell when that’s not done right,” he continues. “I can tell when sushi rice has no flavoring in it and it’s just rice and I go, ‘Man, this is phony. This is just totally fake.’ If the rice isn’t cooked well, that’s really a bad sign.”
Asakawa is also not a big fan of the California roll, which has the rice on the outside without the seaweed wrapping.
“It was invented by Japanese sushi chefs in the U.S. but it was made to appease diners who were grossed out at seeing seaweed on the outside of a sushi roll,” he says.
One of the main things
Asakawa learned while writing his book is that a lot of the food people just accept as being “traditional” Japanese dishes were appropriated from other cultures.
“After World War II, I write about how the three really familiar foods in America — Japanese foods — were sukiyaki, teriyaki and tempura,” he says, adding that tempura was actually something that came from the Portuguese in the 1700s.
I can tell when sushi rice has no flavoring in it and it’s just rice and I go, ‘Man, this is phony.’
“They would batter-fry vegetables for one of their Catholic holidays and it was called ‘tempora’ something or other. And ‘tempora’ — time — turned into tempura, which makes perfect sense from a Japanese perspective. And they started making that,” Asakawa says.
Ramen is another food that isn’t originally Japanese, according to Asakawa.
People think of ramen right away as a Japanese noodle, but it was originally a Chinese noodle dish, he says.
“The Chinese laborers on the docks of Yokohama Bay in the late 1800s, early 1900s would make it and sell it as street food from carts for Chinese laborers, dock workers. And then it became popular with Japanese laborers and then a restaurant started serving it. And then a restaurant in Tokyo opened that started serving it. But each time [the] Japanese took, and this is very typical of the history of a
lot of foods in Japan that are not Japanese in origin, they would adapt the flavors and adapt the textures to suit the Japanese palate,” Asakawa says.
This whole discussion of ramen starting out as Chinese and now being Japanese, to Asakawa, “that’s a real reflection of the way food is a gateway to culture and that it evolves and it changes as it hits new cultures.”
Scan the link below to listen to Asakawa’s full interview on the “Destinations with Doni” podcast. cultursmag.com/gil-asakawa-on-the-history
This is very typical of the history of a lot of foods in Japan that are not Japanese in origin, they would adapt the flavors and adapt the textures to suit the Japanese palate.
Joining the line of crowdfunded independent film hits like Jeremy Saulnier’s “Ruin” (2013), Spike Lee’s “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus” (2014), “David Lynch: The Art Life” (2016) and “Zombie Hunter” (2013) starring Danny Trejo is “Lumpia with A Vengeance” (2020).
Asequel to “Lumpia” (2003), “Lumpia
with a Vengeance” is a FilipinoAmerican indie comedy feature about a teenage hero that fights crime using Lumpia, a Filipino spring roll, to save her town from a crime syndicate.
As thrilling an experience as it was to see the word “lumpia” in mainstream movie theatre signs, it was an even bigger honor to interview director Patricio Ginelsa and producer/editor AJ Calomay on the significance of the film, the journey of distributing it during a global pandemic and their transnational crew.Photos courtesy of Kid Heroes Productions/Xylophone Films
How does it feel when moviegoers tell you “It is such a treat to even see the word ‘lumpia’ as part of the movie marquees and hallway signs of mainstream theaters?”
Patricio Ginelsa: There’s a feeling of validation. For all the years we’ve produced FilipinoAmerican content, having one of our films play in a movie theater is the ultimate goal. If we only played in arthouse theaters, there’s a misconception that our movie (with the words LUMPIA on it) would be a foreign film. Having the film play in a mainstream theater chain defies expectations and proves we can play alongside Hollywood films.
AJ Calomay: It shows that particular aspects of our culture are just as valid as others and that people can learn about our culture in movies like any other culture. When I see a movie title, I don’t have to know everything about that world. Why can’t we entice people to watch our movie in the same way? We don’t have to be worried that non-Filipinos will not know what lumpia is. Let’s just put it out there. We belong in these movie marquees and theaters just as much as any other movie.
We don’t have to be worried that nonFilipinos will not know what lumpia is. Let’s just put it out there. We belong in these movie marquees and theaters just as much as any other movie.
There was a description about the national attire in the film about why the barong was made opaque. Can you tell us more about that?
Ginelsa: In the film, there’s a reference to an unproven legend that Spaniards forced Filipinos to wear barongs so they couldn’t hide their weapons. Much like the stories and myths we’ve heard growing up, I don’t think it’s true. But in the context of a superhero who wears a barong and conceals lumpia as a weapon, it’s a perfect history lesson from a villain!Rachel (April Absynth) goes undercover in ‘Lumpia With a Vengeance.’
How would you describe the genre or genres “Lumpia” and “Lumpia with a Vengeance” belong to?
Ginelsa: At the time I conceived and shot the first “Lumpia” film back in 1996, the goal was to create a cool comic book movie that took place in my hometown of Daly City. We were inspired by Robert Rodriguez’s movie “El Mariachi” and wanted to do a FIlipino-American version with our resources. What started out as a fun movie to collaborate with my childhood friends and neighbors became a fun platform to mix in tidbits about things I loved about my Filipino-American culture and just pop culture in general.
Aside from the usual nods to popular nerd movies like “Star Wars” and comic books, we also wanted to pay homage to Filipino-American pop culture. So an
The Lumpia films and companion comic books have created a new connected universe (which our fans have dubbed the DFU — Deep Fried Universe) where we can celebrate and educate FilipinoAmerican history in a fun and wacky way.
action scene to the tune of a freestyle song in “Lumpia with a Vengeance?” That’s a dream scene for me and a wink celebrating pioneering FilipinoAmerican musicians like Jocelyn Enriquez and Buffy. You also get references to mobile DJ’s, pagers, import cars and of course to the ultimate hero Santo Niño!
The “Lumpia” films and companion comic books have created a new connected universe (which our fans have dubbed the DFU — Deep Fried Universe) where we can celebrate and educate FilipinoAmerican history in a fun and wacky way.
Calomay: We have such a rich and unique history to share. We have so much to contribute to the tapestry of American culture shown and shared in cinema, why not show what’s special and beloved to us?
We’re happy to give shine to artists using our platform, our movie. And if it shows others that it’s possible, for example to put a freestyle song from a Fil-Am artist in an action scene, and make it look badass … then great! We need more storytellers sharing their perspective of our Filipino-American culture and history.
What is one thing you’ll always remember about the journey of creating “Lumpia with a Vengeance” (2020) as a sequel to “Lumpia” (2003)?
Ginelsa: Our journey creating “Lumpia with a Vengeance” (2020) was only made possible by our supporters. Our backers willed this movie into existence back in 2013 when we launched our Kickstarter campaign. It took us almost a decade to finally get it done but only because we wanted to make sure we came out with a final product that was worthy of their support. It’s easy to throw the word “community” around as a buzz word but this movie was truly funded, produced and distributed by the community.
Calomay: I’m proud of our crew’s commitment to getting the project done and following through on what we promised. We did the Kickstarter for what was then known just as “Lumpia 2” in 2013 to celebrate the 10-year anniversary for “Lumpia,” not fully understanding the long road that was ahead. The all-or-nothing Kickstarter a success (crossed the goal with 22 mins left!) and knowing that 712 people
The all-or-nothing Kickstarter a success (crossed the goal with 22 mins left!) and knowing that 712 people backed our project was enough fuel for us to push onward throughout all the challenges, get the job done right and produce a film that we were all proud of.
backed our project was enough fuel for us to push onward throughout all the challenges, get the job done right and produce a film that we were all proud of.
Part of the film post-production involves talent based in the Philippines. How can being transnational as part of the overall process of filmmaking benefit a film project?
Calomay: “Lumpia with a Vengeance” had 668 visual effects shots. Everything from placing monitors on TV screens, to making lumpia fly to computergenerated liquid effects. We had about 26 visual effects artists contribute to the film. My friend, filmmaker Marie Jamora, referred me to one of the artists who we got on board — an award winning VFX artist from the Philippines, Jauhn Dablo. He created visual effects for one scene only, but there were about 75 shots in that scene.
It’s a big moment in the film so I can’t give away too much, but the artistry of his work was amazing. He captured the tone perfectly.
Being transnational is absolutely important in the overall process of filmmaking, especially independent filmmaking, because we need to look beyond our immediate network, beyond the usual “Hollywood” system. If we’re not getting the support we want for our feature film here in the U.S., why not look overseas and especially our motherland, to support
and contribute to a film telling stories about one aspect of the Filipino diaspora.
And now with technology, the process is much easier. Through email, Viber texts, file servers and After Effects project files and plugins, we made this all happen digitally and seamlessly.
Being transnational is absolutely important in the overall process of filmmaking, especially independent filmmaking, because we need to look beyond our immediate network.
Can you tell us how it was to start film distribution around the onset of a global pandemic, with movie theaters closing, some later filing for bankruptcy?
Ginelsa: Self-distribution theatrically was not the initial goal. It felt like our only option. Even after winning the Audience Award for Best Narrative at the Hawai’i International Film Festival and selling out our film festival screenings nationwide, we had difficulty getting any serious offers for distribution. When we had to turn away hundreds of fans at our San Diego Comic Con SE premiere, we saw with our own eyes that a mainstream audience could eat up our film and really enjoy it!
So when Regal and Cinemark offered us an opportunity to play in theaters nationwide, we jumped at it with an extra boost of confidence that we had the support that could fill up those seats. I believe the timing worked in our favor as folks were slowly returning from the pandemic to theaters again. We timed it so it came out during FilipinoAmerican History Month. Also, there wasn’t much Hollywood content coming in the fall so there was room for us.
When we had to turn away hundreds of fans at our San Diego Comic Con SE premiere, we saw with our own eyes that a mainstream audience could eat up our film and really enjoy it!Reyes (Danny Trejo) protects his interests in ‘Lumpia With a Vengeance.’
Calomay: With all the obstacles this film has been through, of course our festival and theatrical tour had to be at the start of a global pandemic! Yet another, and unprecedented challenge for us (for all the world). But we were up for it. Virtual screenings and drive-ins were good options that enabled us to get started with the initial festivals. Once theaters started loosening up restrictions a bit, it motivated us to keep the festival run going so we could finally experience the film with a large audience in a theater. And yes, we were grateful that there was room for us in big theater chains like Regal and Cinemark. The timing worked out.
But to rewind a bit, I can also say that for my post-production team, the move to have everyone work from home worked out for our movie. Since a lot of my post-production crew was on the film on a part-time basis, having everyone at home to multitask and work on this “side project” did help accelerate our completion of the film.
Virtual screenings and drive-ins were good options that enabled us to get started with the initial festivals.
Making and distributing “Lumpia with a Vengeance” requires commitment, a strong focus and vision. What has propelled you?
Ginelsa: If our backers and supporters propelled the making of the film, it was my prior experience that propelled the distribution and marketing. Twenty years ago, I was part of the team that selfdistributed another Filipino-American film, “The Debut,” in theaters nationwide. As the associate producer, I drove cross-country with the movie for two years, reaching out to different Filipino-American communities all over the country to support the movie. That two-year journey building the audience ourselves rewarded “The Debut” with a home video deal with Sony Pictures. So we had the network and strategy but would we be able to spread the word and do what we did for “The Debut” in two years in just a three-week span for “Lumpia with a Vengeance?”
Calomay: I want my daughter, who was born about two weeks after we premiered in November 2020, to see characters on the big screen who look like her. So she can grow up knowing that she’s represented in the powerful medium of cinema. But we’ll see when she’s older if she really appreciated what we did :) It might just be something like, “that was cool, Dad,” hah. Well, if she’s proud of them I’m OK with that.
“Lumpia with a Vengeance” won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature in the 2020 Hawai’I International Film Festival. Filmed primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area, “Lumpia with a Vengeance” stars former UFC champion Mark Muñoz, April Absynth (STARZ “Blindspotting”), Katrina Dimaranan (Miss Philippines Universe Tourism 2021), Earl Baylon (Netflix “Tomb Raider”), Danny Trejo (“Machete”) and a talented ensemble. The film also features an amazing soundtrack with new songs from Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas and Ruby Ibarra.
The main theatrical run for “Lumpia with a Vengeance” has ended, but there are limited theatrical screenings (i.e. Portland’s premiere on Jan. 29, 2022) still happening as the crew prepares for the 20th anniversary of “Lumpia” in 2023. You may follow the Lumpia crew at @lumpiamovie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can access the original Lumpia film and watch the trailer for “Lumpia with a Vengeance” at LumpiaMovie.com and find out about sscreenings at http://lumpiamovie.com/screenings.
Scan the QR code below to view the trailer: cultursmag.com/chatting-with-the-amazing-teamA family affair! (R to L): Rachel (April Absynth), Costancio (Dennis Custodio), Mon Mon (Francis Custodio), Chad (Jonathan Cayabyab), and Ibing (Philip Sison) face the enemy in ‘Lumpia With a Vengeance.’
In 2018, I unexpectedly learned information
that shattered the foundation of my life.
In the aftermath, I moved through a multitude of emotions. Even with my professional background as a therapist and trauma coach, I was unprepared and had difficulty coping. For months, I would be up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep and researching online to find something that offered language for what I was experiencing.
I found very little.
Eventually, I discovered a growing online community of people who were going through the same experience.
They too were struggling to find the language to understand the meaning of their loss. Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK), religious trauma expert and author Rebekah Drumsta offers that “one’s sense that a loss cannot fully express until it is named, But once named, you can better process and feel your emotions.”
Like me, many reported feeling lost, alone, confused and suffering in silence before finding the group. Some were being asked to keep their discovery hidden out of fears of being exposed or public reaction.
For others, the stigma prevented loved ones from interacting in helpful ways and/or they were shamed, criticized, judged or blamed for disclosing their story, and even shunned.
Though not unfamiliar with the term, I gradually began to realize that a foremost, confounding factor that I and the others were experiencing was disenfranchised grief.
WebMD defines it as “when your grieving doesn’t fit in with your larger society’s attitude about dealing with death and loss. The lack of support you get during your grieving process can prolong emotional pain.
Psychologist Kenneth Doca coined the phrase disenfranchised grief in 1987 to describe how grieving doesn’t fit in with larger society’s attitude about dealing with the death and loss of someone or something important, or to capture the emotions that a person experiences with a significant loss that is not fully acknowledged, seen as worthy of grieving, socially validated or publicly mourned.
Some were being asked to keep their discovery hidden out of fears of being exposed or public reaction.
There is no social recognition that the person has a right to grieve or have a claim to receive social sympathy or support from loved ones or society to process the loss. The lack of recognition or support impacts a person’s ability to fully process their grief.
In their seminal Third Culture Kids book, David Pollack and Ruth Van Reken discuss “unresolved grief,” defined as an experience of unrecognized loss by children and adolescents, due to having lived cross-culturally and having those losses not acknowledged by others.
According to Pollack and Van Reken, TCKs lose the worlds they love and in some cases they have experienced multiple moves and losses over time. They get told that they are resilient, adaptive and will make new friends. With each move, they recycle back through the stages of the grief process, again.
Additionally, the authors noted that TCKs often don’t have the language to identify or process their losses and haven’t yet learned how to deal with these losses, as they happened. In response, they may push it down, submerge it and may not be able to process their losses until later in life.
Each culture has its own way of expressing emotions and is a highly personal, subjective experience that is woven into individuals from an early age and influences how individuals, families and communities express grief.
While some parts of the world consider the open display of emotion acceptable and expected, others might discourage this conduct based on their distinctive beliefs and practices.
University of San Francisco professor Dr. Susan Morell states, “Every society has norms that frame the way individuals grieve. These norms also help define significant and insignificant losses.”
The lack of recognition or support impacts a person’s ability to fully process their grief.
She further states there are losses that exist within cultures that are not discussed or acknowledged because of social stigma. When the ways individuals grieve, or the losses they endure, go beyond accepted social norms, their grief may be seen as disenfranchised.
TCK grief expert Kathleen Gilbert conducted a study that found the losses TCKs experience are often ambiguous and their grief is frequently disenfranchised. Many of the losses (both hidden and recognized) were categorized as related to persons, places, pets and possessions.
In addition, there were existential losses, particularly the loss of meaning related to various aspects of themselves, their losses focused on safety and trust, who they are, the loss of personal identity and the loss of home.
For immigrant and refugee communities, the complex layers of loss and grief are similar to the TCK experience: loss of support, distance from family units, loss of deeper nuances of language and culture. In minority cultures, marginalized communities and people who are in liminal, in-between spaces, empathic failures at the societal level can lead to unacknowledged, ambiguous and prolonged grief. Common factors are long-term racism, otherism, microaggressions through social invalidation by the dominant culture or society.
• Failed adoption
• Moving from hometown or home country
• Cherished family member develops health concerns that causes relationship changes
• Loved one dying by suicide, drug overdose or COVID-19
• Miscarriage or giving birth to a stillborn child
• Loss of a same-sex partner or affair relationship through breakup or death
• Revelation of family secrets not seen in a positive light or culturally taboo
In addition, there were existential losses, particularly the loss of meaning related to various aspects of themselves, their losses focused on safety and trust, who they are, the loss of personal identity and the loss of home.
• Seek support from people who acknowledge your loss without judgement.
• Find an online or local group that can relate in ways that friends and family cannot.
• Employ creative expression — draw, paint, sculpt, make a collage, journal, meditate.
• Seek therapy or coaching.
When we lose something or someone, it’s painful and hard, especially when disenfranchised by others. However, you can learn coping skills to honor and help yourself.
While traumatic events and losses can shatter one’s sense of being and existence, it also can become an opportunity to embrace a new sense of self and the life changes it brings.
For more information, scan the QR code ot go to the link below. cultursmag.com/disenfranchised-grief
When we lose something or someone, it’s painful and hard.
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