I am digging deep into my memory to write up a few things in preparation for the memorial of my dad, Dr. Fred Stone. This will be a continuing series.
It was 1984, and the late afternoon rain poured around us. We were sitting in a guest house in Chiang Rai because my dad, Fred Stone (not yet Dr. Stone), had heard rumor of a possible fertile population of albino cave cockroaches deep in the limestone backbone of the northern Thai mountains.
But the rain (which, in 2018, has proved to be a dangerous hazard to the caves in this region) had stymied us on the first day of our trip. Until the rain stopped, however, there was something important dad had to do: teach me how to swallow my malaria pill.
Continue reading “Hunting albino cockroaches in the caves of Chiang Rai with Fred Stone”
I’ve resisted writing about the film Crazy Rich Asians because this thing hit me in layers, and peeling back those layers was hard. The issues I felt were deeply embedded in my identity, and it was super uncomfortable to admit to them. So here you go, one of the most personal film reviews I’ll probably ever write.
Continue reading “Crazy Rich Asians and “Banana” culture: how disidentification was the point”
This morning I read a quote from Brie Larson, who was talking about reviews that panned A Wrinkle in Time:
There are a lot of reviews of Ocean’s 8 out there, and probably more than 80% of them are by men. I could let my own observations about the movie pass by, but the second I read Brie Larson’s quote about the disproportionate number of men who review movies, I realized that nowadays it’s a call to action. If you’re a woman and you like a movie, you should probably find time to write about why.
Reviews have been written about Ocean’s 8 and how director Gary Ross lacked the lightness of Steven Soderbergh’s touch, or the layer upon layer of seemingly incidental conversation that turns out to be central to each plot. But whatever, Ross (formerly of Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games, and Pleasantville) did a fine job crafting a heist movie with a powerful and overt message: that you don’t actually have to like the women on screen for them to be viable characters.
There are many reviews that miss this point, but I am not here to parrot those. I’m here to tell you that this movie offers a rich and complex portrayal of women that is found very, very rarely in your average blockbuster (we’re not talking about indie films), and watching it is a revelation. It also might explain why men who like a certain kind of narrative about women are going to be unsettled enough to give the movie a poor review.
I’m going to hop straight into spoilers to show you why.
Continue reading “Ocean’s 8: Why having complicated women onscreen is a good thing”
Anthony Bourdain was not afraid of the pain of change. But that doesn’t mean he still didn’t feel it.
In my early 20s, when I was living in Boston, I had a dream about my home town. I dreamed that I was on a black sand beach in Hilo, but ash and rock fell all around me. I tried to run to save myself, but I couldn’t run fast enough — and I heard a voice speaking, and it came from the falling rock. “Your father is in my protection,” the voice said. “He is doing my work.”
I remember the dream still, because whether or not the dream held any truth, my father’s work was, in fact, Madam Pele’s work.
The work that Dr. Fred Stone did was this: he explored and surveyed many, many of the lava tubes in Hawaii, so that they could be protected from development and saved for future Hawaiians. He took me on these journeys with him during my years growing up in Hilo, under the land and deep into its veins, stepping where only the Hawaiians stepped before us.
Continue reading “Fleshing out Hawaii’s bones: hula, lava, and mahu”