Thursday, June 4, 2009

a sneak peek at a few "hay qua!" speakers...

They inspire us. We hope they will inspire you too.

And when you're done reading, make sure to register if you haven't already. Do it by June 7 for a discount. :)


Thu Tran gets to do what we all were told not to do as a child: play with our food. Born in Malaysia, raised in Ohio, now living in Brooklyn, Thu continues to play her heart out. Host of Food Party TV, the greatest cooking show ever (think Food Network + Pee Wee's Playhouse on a sugar high), Thu's time has been in demand. From the New York Times to the Gothamist to Paper Mag's New York’s Most Beautiful People ... the world is starting to take notice. Oh, and love Girl Talk ? Thu went on the GT 35-city tour styling their props/visuals. Ain't that neat (aka we're jealous). Thu currently refers to herself as a 'mixed media artist' but we refer to her as 'awesome' for short.


Accomplished photographer Bao Nguyen's most well-known subject ? President Obama. His beautiful photographs have appeared in the New York Times, Vogue, Rolling Stone, and New York Magazine, among others. Last summer, Bao left New York for a bit to join the Obama campaign in Virginia as AAPI State Field Director. When he wasn't taking photos of the President, Bao could be found coordinating field operations and working to advocate issues important to Asian American voters. Since then, he has been working alongside fellow filmmaker Adele Pham on The Transition, a promising documentary following the lives of Obama campaign volunteers during the first year of the Obama administration. Watch out, he may be following you.


Dubbed as one half of "New York City's most dynamic Asian women-owned architectural partnerships," Yen Ha of FRONT STUDIO has a thoughtful yet creative approach to design, often taking inspiration from whimsical places. Perplexed by a particular design challenge one day, Yen found her solution during a lunch break in Korea Town, observing the raised platform she was sitting on. "All the little pieces came together like a Japanese puzzle box: things slide out, things fold in, things tuck away.” It is also not unusual for Yen and her colleague to take photos of their lunch, often near their SoHo office, to put on their wildly-popular food blog "LUNCH". Yen also worked on local favorite "Viet Club" with her sister Phi-Hong, in search and celebration of creative Vietnamese Americans in NY. From the New York Times to Page 6, Yen is one to watch. When she's not thinking about how to incorporate space, her French/Viet heritage, and humor in her designs, she's thinking about other big questions like: "Where to go for lunch ?"


Born in Hue, Vietnam, and now a popular Brooklynite, Phong Bui is the editor and publisher of the widely-read monthly journal Brooklyn Rail, which offers critical perspectives on arts, politics, and culture in New York City, and has helped launch dozens of young writers into the Big League. "Having been brought up in a family where divided politics was always a source of conflict, I recognized the Rail as a place where these kinds of differences could be brought together onto the printed page." Artist, writer and independent curator, it is clear that Phong is passionate about everything he does. In one YouTube video interview, one can see portraits he has done of artists line almost an entire wall of his home. Phong has taught at the prestigious Columbia University and School of Visual Arts.

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