Love Love in San Francisco Magazine (9/2015)

A hearty thank you to San Francisco Magazine for giving some love to Love Love:sanfranmag_ll

The full text:

Get lost in an oversexed San Francisco

Sung J. Woo, author of the highly lauded Everything Asian, has a new novel on a slightly different subject.  Love Love (Soft Skull Press) finds 40-year-old tennis coach Kevin Lee grappling with the discovery that not only was he adopted, but his biological parents were porn stars in ’70s San Francisco — a lot to take in for a man in the midst of a midlife crisis.

The portion of the bald head you see below my little snippet belongs to none other than Salman Rushdie!  If that wasn’t amazing enough, I’m also sharing space with Jonathan Franzen’s Purity and Billy Joel.  The entire page appears below.


KoreAm Column: Welcome to the Club


My bi-monthy column for KoreAm Journal for March/April features the music of my youth, Erasure in particular.  Enjoy!

First-World Problems: Welcome to the Club

This past New Year’s Eve, I was on the second floor of Terminal 5, a concert hall in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen. Leaning over the railing, I screamed, “I love to hate you!” with the rest of the frenzied crowd below me, above me, all around me. As the song reached its end, the singer segued into a countdown, and then he yelled, “Happy New Year!” Gold balloons and white confetti rained down from above, and then we all sang the next song, “I try to discover, a little something to make me sweeter …”

If you are of a certain age and Asian American, there’s a high likelihood that you know these two songs are “Love to Hate You” and “A Little Respect.” This was my first time seeing Erasure. I probably should’ve done this a quarter of a century ago, but back then, I didn’t even know who they were, and more to the point, I didn’t know who I was.



Favorite Songs of 2014

“Even though we draw our lines / with very different ends”

Here’s a list of my top songs for this year, in an order that might be surprisingly mixable. These are not necessarily from 2014; I just happened to have heard them in the last twelve months.

Katie Herzig (The Walking Sleep) – Oh My Darlin’
Jessie Ware (Tough Love) – You and I (Forever)
Coldplay (Ghost Stories) – A Sky Full of Stars
Spoon (They Want My Soul) – Let Me Be Mine
Echosmith (Talking Dreams) – Nothing’s Wrong
Katie Herzig (Walk Through Walls) – Drug
American Authors (Oh, What a Life) – Hit It
Angus & Julia Stone (Angus & Julia Stone) – Get Home
Tennis (Ritual in Repeat) – Bad Girls
Delta Spirit (Delta Spirit) – Yamaha
Sam Smith (In the Lonely Hour) – Not in That Way
Ed Sheeran (X) – One
Katie Herzig (Walk Through Walls) – Human Too
Taylor Swift (1989) – Style
First Aid Kit (Stay Gold) – Heaven Knows
Bleachers (Strange Desire) – Rollercoaster
Tove Lo (Queen of the Clouds) – Timebomb
The New Pornographers (Brill Bruisers) – Champions of Red Wine
Stars (No One Is Lost) – This Is the Last Time
Jenny Lewis (The Voyager) – Just One of the Guys
Phosphorescent (Muchacho) – Ride on/Right on
Katie Herzig (Walk Through Walls) – Lines
Adam Levine (Begin Again) – Lost Stars

Katie Herzig makes four appearances here, and that number easily could’ve been ten.  I first heard her music in the show Rectify, the song “I Hurt Too,” which I later found out was also featured in the show Bones.  I guess her music translates really well to TV.  The standout this year is one of hers, “Lines,” which showcases her beautiful, fragile voice.

Favorite Songs of 2013

“I’ll explore the outer limits of boredom / moaning periodically”

Here’s a list of my top songs for this year, in an order that might be surprisingly mixable. These are not necessarily from 2013; I just happened to have heard them in the last twelve months.

“Tourniquet,” by Hem (Departure & Farewell)
“Run (Feat. Jennifer Nettles & Kristian Bush),” by Matt Nathanson (Modern Love)
“Someone Will,” by Dawes (Stories Don’t End)
“I Remember You,” by Rilo Kiley (Rkives)
“Entertainment,” by Phoenix (Bankrupt!)
“Metroland,” by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (English Electric)
“We Sink,” by Chvrches (The Bones of What You Believe)
“Don’t Just Sit There,” by Lucius (Wildewoman)
“Out on the Town,” by Fun. (Some Nights)
“Black Sheep,” by Gin Wigmore (Gravel & Wine)
“At Seventeen,” by Janis Ian (Between the Lines)
“If I Ever Leave This World Alive,” by Flogging Molly (Drunken Lullabies)
“Fake Palindromes,” by Andrew Bird (The Mysterious Production of Eggs)
“Don’t Save Me,” by Haim (Days Are Gone)
“Lights (Single Version),” by Ellie Goulding (Halcyon [Deluxe Version])
“Love Is a Bourgeois Construct,” by Pet Shop Boys (Electric)
“Picking Up the Pieces,” by Paloma Faith (Fall to Grace)
“The Heart of the Matter,” by Megan Hilty (It Happens All the Time)
“What’ll Keep Me Out of Heaven,” by Brandy Clark (12 Stories)
“Without You,” by Harry Nilsson (Nilsson Schmilsson)

If I had to pick one song that was my very favorite for this year, it would be the Pet Shop Boys’ “Love Is a Bourgeois Construct,” a seven-minute romp that somehow never overstays its welcome.  It’s a playful song with tongue-in-cheek lyrics and a driving beat, the signature of these pop masters who’ve been making great music for more than twenty years.  May they stay boys forever.