Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews of the San Francisco Bay Area

April 27th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Legions of Boom: Mobility, Identity and Filipino American Disc Jockeys in the San Francisco Bay Area. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2015.
Monograph, refereed.

(Visit my dedicated website for the book)

Book review of “Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records”

October 15th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Petrusich, Amanda. Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records. Scribner, 2014.

Appears in Los Angeles Review of Books, October 15, 2014.

Book Review of “Overdrive,” “Never Built Los Angeles” and “Songs in the Key of Los Angeles”

August 3rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990. Edited by Wim de Wit and Christopher Alexander. (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2013. 320 pages. $59.95 cloth.)

Never Built Los Angeles. Edited by Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell. (New York: Metropolis Books, 2013. 376 pages. $55.00 cloth.)

Songs in the Key of Los Angeles. By Josh Kun. (Los Angeles: Angel City Press, 2013. 223 pages. $50.00 cloth.)

Appears in Southern California Quarterly, 96(2): 235-239.

Book review of “L.A. Son : My Life, My City, My Food” and “Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir.”

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


Choi, Roy. L.A. Son : My Life, My City, My Food. Ecco, 2013.

Huang, Eddie. Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir. Spiel, 2013.

Appears in: Los Angeles Review of Books, April 27, 2014.

Getting Schooled: Lessons From Researching Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews

February 7th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

(2014). “Getting Schooled: Lessons From Researching Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews.” In M. Villegas, K. Kandi, & R. Labrador (Eds.), Empire of Funk: Hip-Hop and Representation in Filipina/o America. Cognella Press: 37-42.

Anthology essay (solicited).

Learning From Los Kogi Angeles: A Taco Truck and Its City

October 25th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

(2013). “Learning From Los Kogi Angeles: A Taco Truck and Its City.” In R. Ku, M. Manalansan, and A. Mannur (Eds.), Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader (pp. 78-97). New York: NYU Press.

Anthology essay (solicited, refereed).

The Comfort Zone: Shaping the Retro-Soul Audience

November 25th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

(2012). “The Comfort Zone: Shaping the Retro-Soul Audience.” In E. Weisbard (Ed.), Pop When the World Falls Apart (pp. 201-229). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Anthology essay (solicited, refereed).

The Journey of “Viva Tirado”

December 11th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

“The Journey of “Viva Tirado”: A Musical Conversation within Afro-Chicano Los Angeles.” Journal of Popular Music Studies 22.4 (2010): 348-66.

Journal article (submitted, refereed).

Traces the various iterations of Gerald Wilson’s 1962 composition “Viva Tirado,” and how it has facilitated conversations between multiple generations of African Americans and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles.

Background: A little over a dozen years ago, Josh Kun introduced me to what I describe as the “multiple iterations” of “Viva Tirado,” a jazz song originally composed by Gerald Wilson in 1962. The song was the most prominent of many written by Wilson – an African American bandleader – dedicated to Mexican and Spanish culture. Seven years later, in late 1969, it found new life in the hands of El Chicano, a band of young Chicanos out of the Los Angeles eastside who themselves were steeped in Black R&B and jazz styles. Their version of “Viva Tirado” became the definitive one, covered by many other artists through the 1970s, including in Italy, the Netherlands, Jamaica and Panama. In 1990, parts of their version became interpolated and sampled into “La Raza,” the groundbreaking Chicano pride rap song by L.A’s Kid Frost. The essay traces that journey, and in doing so, explores how the song has managed to be at the center of cross-cultural conversation between multiple generations of Blacks and Chicanos in Los Angeles. (A audio mix of many versions of “Viva Tirado” is also included on the JPMS web site).
Update: I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I realized on page 352, I mis-“placed” Kabuki Sukiyaki in Baldwin Hills when it’s very clearly (and rather obviously) in the Crenshaw district (3840 Crenshaw, to be exact). Embarrassing error on my part.

Reflections from a Sociologist of Popular Culture

December 24th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

“Reflections from a Sociologist of Popular Culture.” Footnotes. Vol 37 (8), Nov-Dec 2009.

Personal essay.

Background: I was asked by Footnotes to contribute an essay describing my path into studying popular culture as both a scholar and journalist and the particular rewards and challenges it creates along the way. I have to admit; this was much harder to write than I thought it would be (perhaps a sure sign that my skills in writing are not being kept as honed as they could!) but it was a good exercise in getting me to actually think about the integration of different interests in my professional life. a

To Live and Dine in Kogi L.A.

November 13th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

“To Live and Dine in Kogi L.A.” Contexts. Vol. 8(4), Fall 2009

Culture review.

“While praised for being a more youthful, multiethnic, and tech savvy form of food delivery, Kogi trucks providing ethnic fusion street food in Los Angeles also illustrate the persistence of socioeconomic divisions in urban life. According to Oliver Wang, Kogi demonstrates that there are still lines that aren’t crossed when it comes to urban ethnic relations.”

Background: I was first introduced to Kogi by my colleague at USC, Karen Tongson, who had heard about the truck before its popularity had reached the proverbial tipping point. As the Kogi story began to unfold in the winter of 2009, I was intrigued by how media coverage of the Truck wanted to posit it as this culinary representation of Los Angeles culture and society. To be sure, I did think Kogi was marvelously ingenious; less so for its food (though those short-rib tacos are delicious) and more so for its distribution and marketing innovations as a haute cuisine catering truck. However, I was also struck at how Kogi’s changing set of locations seemed to synch up perfectly with any number of increasing popular, gentrifying neighborhoods and thanks to the Truck’s well-remarked upon Twitter feed, I was able to do a simple mapping of where the Truck had been and equally important, where it never went. That put me on the path of this article, the core thesis being that Kogi does indeed reflect L.A. It just happens to be a far more complex Los Angeles than is promoted in news stories or publicity boilerplate. (Note: anyone having trouble accessing this article in full PDF form can email me for a copy instead).