Kathryn Tsoy

24 Jun

After binge watching “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” on Prime Video, I learned recently, I am a “shiksa”, “menshe” and being called “anti–semitic”. The last one after having two Jewish boyfriends who had broken my heart? So why don’t you just call me “CHINK!!! Chicken?” Here is an email about an old roommate:

Hello, I’m writing in reference to a post where you mentioned Katherine Tsoy, a Korean painter.

I was good friends with a Katherine Tsoy at Columbia University. She was a gifted artist.

I lost touch with her after moving back to California. This was many years ago, I’m wondering if it is the same person and if you have any more information about her, as bleak as that sounds.

Thanks so much,

David Tayler

Hi David,

Yes, we were once roommates in Lil’Italy in 1977–78. She was a very beautiful woman who came from Barnard College and wanted to experience the so–called “;Asian American” experience. This was post­–Vietnam War time and a group of AA artists were expressing our Identity Crises like the Blacks & Hispanic civil rights movements. As a community cultural arts non–profit organization in Chinatown called Basement Workshop, we (Asian artists) were renovating an 8,000 (the size of half a block) square feet loft in Soho. Katherine & I spent alot of time exchanging our stories and wanting to be artists. We took etching classes at Bob Blackburn’s studio. However, Katherine was quite distracted and unable to focus on art. I met one of her friends, son of E. G. Marshall, the actor on TV “The Defenders”, who lived in the abandoned Eldridge St Synagogue which presently is a landmarked museum. In addition, she had explored an abandoned building on 2nd Ave & 2nd St that became the Film Anthology Theater founded by Jonas Mekas.

There were other adventures to tell. But I would like to know where you found my write–up about her?



Hi Susan,

I just had been looking for her on and off and Googled her name. Your blog popped up. I mean if your google her you get nothing.
I’m sure it’s the same person.
I mean, there were people who really cared about her…

She once told me as a child she would write the letter “T” in front of the word soy on soy sauce bottles in the Grocery store. (So her nickname was “Soy Sauce”)
Just one of many things I remember about her.
I actually dropped out of Columbia, then went back to school (UC Berkely) in California, so I lost track of quite a few people.

I figured something had happened to her, I can’t help but feel truly helpless that I could not have done anything.
She made a powerful impression on me, I loved her paintings, the few that I saw. She had this sort of ironic, understated humor that made you feel like you were seeing the world through her eyes and in a very different way.

I remember she was quite cynical about the prospects of making a living as an artist. The last time I saw her she gave me a lift in her preposterously large car that she called the “golden chariot” or something like that….

Feeling blue today thinking of her. Amazing person.

Hi David,

…. “She was very attractive that even the Asian men were constantly calling her for dates while she kept in touch with some of her former friends. i.e. Richard Tsao a Thai Artist; a mandolin performer (maybe you knew her); and the son of E.G. Marshall.

I was in my twenties having just broken up from a Nuyorican Vietnam Veteran boyfriend after a first suicide attempt. This person who was getting his Bachelor of Science at City College, studying to be a psychiatrist exclaimed I was delusional about “love”. I didn’t understand. The same would go with Kathryn. Eventually, with a PTSD episode I broke up with him after I sent him to Bellevue. With roommates gone and needing another roommate & upon referral from the Basement Workshop, Kathryn appeared with her made up cat eyes, long dangling hair, raggedy fur coat and a bottle of wine at the door. We bonded and she moved in.

In our “pumpkin” kitchen she told me her story while eating her “smelly” kimchi that her mother would make, of being married in a Versace wedding dress @ St John’s Divine. He was a Latino so that he’ll ascertain a green card. Amazing that she would talk to her mother almost everyday or week who lived up in Westchester. She was a fun loving, carefree person who would get drunk & run up & down the fire escape. (see photo) The building we lived in felt like New Orleans but with Italian Senior citizens who complained about her running on the fire escape. I would ignore their complaints. In addition, I never saw her paintings because she did alot of running around since we were near the E. Village and other neighborhoods.

(She even mentioned living in the Murray Hill area and some competition with street girls in the neighborhood while getting cigarettes.)

She was flirtatious with the Asian guys, while I was busy renovating Basement Workshop’s 8,000 sq. ft. Soho Loft and learning about etching. Kathryn had met a Filipino printmaker @ Bob Blackburn’s studio. He was cute but she complained about him being an immigrant artist. I, on the other hand became attracted to him and developed an affair. She became haughty and pissed. Eventually she split the LES & BW scene. By then, she was hanging out with the Hell’s Angels. Much later, I heard about her going cross country to California for two years in her own motorbike with them. Whatta a tough woman. She had returned to NYC and was attending Art classes at School of Visual Arts. I think once, I saw her in a bodega with many guys surrounding her. I dare not say hello. Few more years later, as mentioned in my blog at the age of 40 where I had a cushy job at American Museum of Natural History as well as an Upper West Side Jewish Trust Fund PhD boyfriend, at an Asian American artists panel discussion in LES, Richard Tsao told me of her suicide. It was due to “boyfriend” troubles. I’m still waiting for her cigar box of momentos that Richard promised.

Through the years, having read astrological books and since Kathryn was a “Gemini”, I accepted and admired her social abilities as well as her brave freedom of expressions. It took me many years to feel self–confident about my artistic skills and accumulations for living life the fullest even though I never married or had children.

I’ve had a vindictive boyfriend, the trust-fund guy who’s a psychologist & also lives in Provincetown in a house that my $$$ built who made me homeless twice. I suspect he wanted me to do the same suicidal attempt but I had survived the worst attempt and overcame my homelessnesses. 40 years later, the ex–Vietnam Veteran Nuyorican had found me on MySpace.com. I found out he is very successful with a 4th wife who is Japanese. He is retired as a PhD psychiatrist who had counseled soldiers from present American wars.

Accordingly, I learned that Kathryn’s personality warrants a label as “bi–polarism” which required various drugs to control such compulsive reactions to certain situations. This bi-polarism, a new terminology precedes the worse of personalities which would be schizoid. It means this is society’s way of dealing with systemic institutions by cataloging mental illnesses for “others”, especially minorities in America. All I can say is I’m a living history who survived the worse of NYC’s drudgeries.

I also writing this during 3 days of gloomy cloudy, rainy days. How appropriate to open this can of worms before the sun rises again. It makes me have fond memories of a life that present generations will not perceive. I like to boast that I was at Woodstock and heard the Santanas under a blue clear sunny sky who performed under the influences of LSD. Now, this generation cannot emulate such happinesses due to cell phones & computers. As mentioned above, those were normal adventurous moments experienced with Kathyrn.

It has made me analyze my past and thanks for sharing your care.

I notice you are a musician and maybe you can compose a music about her. I had been videoing alternative jazz musicians for past 24+ years of LES seeking sounds culminating of my past interests. Many musicians, I had been following also had passed while I am approaching into my 70s.


Best to you,


A Prevalent Incident Since Trump’s Election

24 Feb

This past weekend was a 3-day celebration for President’s Day. I had arranged to go see Dick Griffin, a trombonist, who lives in Manhattan Plaza, housing for performing artists built in 1974, and located on 9th & 43nd St. near Times Square. Dick lived on the 32nd floor of the 46–storied building. His windows faced East towards the Times Square and the view was blocked by many glassy shiny reflective windows of luxury condos and offices. There were even LED screens advertising to tenants living in the area. The window view was like having a big TV screen to look at. So I was giving Dick a fresh DVD copy of his performance at Alan Kirili’s loft in Tribeca.

Dick was very cordial and we talked about the latest occurrences of fellow artists and musicians. Dick’s apt was very neat with his “out of this world” art filling all his wall space. I was impressed with his neatness where he gave credit to his mother’s neatness and taste. She had passed away a few years ago.

Eventually I had to leave to go to the Lower East Side and do a performance at LaMama. The subways were confusing. The D is running on the F and the J is running on the F while on the M line whereas the D is express on the R line. I figured to take the A to 14th St and switch to the L to 1st Ave. That will give me time to have my business cards printed at The Source on 9th St and then walk to LaMama’s E. 4th St theater.

Enroute, on the A line to 14th St Station, I witnessed a terrible subway incident. As I entered the car, I saw an Asian person with shoulder length straight hair approach a tall Black man who had his boom box on “loud” while everyone else were using earphones attached to their cell phones. The person told the guy to lower the sound and went back to sit. The Black guy went ballistic & berserk. All of a sudden, he started shouting directly at the Asian person’s face, just a few inches from his nose. Then he started hitting the person, I could hear the smack a few seats away. Everybody stood still as the black guy smacked the person again and again. Some had smiles but weren’t sure if they were playing a game or was it for real. The Black guy took the person’s cell phone and threw it on the floor. The person quietly picked up the cell phone and then it was grabbed again and thrown onto the floor. This went on while the Black guy was beating the poor person and making threats. He’d say, “I’ve been homeless. My parents were murdered. And I got 2 knives in my backpack. If I had it in my hand, you will be dead by now.” I was horrified and no one interfered in the argument. Looking around, people were just standing or sitting unmoved. Only one woman shouted, “Leave that person along.” Eventually, the person said something in a deep voice. I realized that it was a HE. He looked Malaysian. Finally the A train stopped at 14th St. and the Black guy ran out of the train with the Asian guy chasing him. As I was walking to the L train through a long walkway, the Black guy ran past me and turned to the right where there was an EXIT sign and stairwell to the L train. I saw his chaser stopped and looked confused, so I said, “He went downstairs”. Meanwhile, I found my seat on the L and waited 5 mins. As the train was leaving the station, I see that Black guy was running and being chased by the Malaysian guy and another guy, a Good Samaritan. I saw no police during this rush hour and wondered where were they when needed? Were they at some Trump rally protecting a national “moron” while many others were causing such civilian havoc in a busy urban environment?

A Trump Story: The Revolution Blues

20 Jul

The rich in NYC are having a revolution on the poor people. They want to starve us from this blighted Lower East Side neighborhood so that better housing can be built. Even the fascist government participates when aligned with Russia’s politics. They protect the rich by providing tax-free programs for developers as well as owners of condos, luxery co–ops & homes worth millions in the housing market.

Recently, I was told that the razed supermarket, Pathmark, in the middle of Rutger’s Housing projects in the Lower East Side will be Trump’s new luxery tower for millioniares. I grew up in those housing projects like many poor Asians in America. The poor depended on the supermarket’s low prices and it’s close vicinity. Now the poor have to walk over to Grand St, or to Delancey’s Essex St. Market. This methodology slowly causes starvations, famines and deaths in the community. The revolution has begun when Trump announced his candidacy for Presidency once the Pathmark and construction for the luxery condo began. By then, when the tower is completed, the masses have moved out of the community due to noise pollution, land sinkage, cracks on their walls, backed up sewage water, no parking and other urban problems. With the rich moving in, crimes will increase caused by the poor minorities enraged evictions and homelessness.

Here’s How Extell’s 800-Foot ‘One Manhattan Square’ Will Ruin the Lower East Side Skyline [PHOTOS]

To make it worse, recently Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund via Victor Papas, partnered with Extell to build a taller luxury “mixed income” tower. This means more rich people can live among the poor tenants in the Housing Projects. Already, small galleries and high–end businesses are encroaching the area for the future rich clienteles.



The “rich” revolution against the “poor” has control of media and projects 87 photos of George Clooney’s wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney (née Alamuddin) for Maldives, a Muslim nation. (The United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor claims in their 2012 report on human rights practices in the country that the most significant problems are corruption, lack of religious freedom, and abuse and unequal treatment of women) After viewing 40 photos of Amal’s expensive clothes with accessories, no wonder she fends for the poor in a third world nation. The contradictions are prevalent like a Hollywood movie produced by stockbrokers.

The masses have peacefully protested, got locked up, harangued, & beaten up by Gestapo like bullies. The memories of the holocaust prevails. Later the rebellion of the “Rich” revolution will be underground like the Underground Weatherman and eventually Rock concerts will prevail again since someone said @ a Punk revival that “Rock ‘n Roll killed Jazz”. sing it

At Rockefeller’s Asia Society exhibition on Philippine Gold craftsmanship and advertising the nation as the 2nd largest of Gold deposits, I suppose one of Trump’s goal would be to hoard the gold for himself and to build further millionaire luxery condos.


The following rant from an email friend:

Charles Evelyn: D’Sass holdin court attah poetree jammy jam iiizzzz worth movin ah tired ass BenchNegro off D’ hardwood,yo!!!!!!

Wurd Iz Born……Yungian Style

P.S. luvz Yungian Wayz O’ RepreeeZentin at bottom O’ email,yo

JUNGIAN: I knows it fizz difficult to go out, wind & dine da “bitch” ’cause these days you gots to spend at least a couple $100s and who earns that much in a day deezz days. So I just written this for those who can’t hear the music … The counter “revolution” will not be telecast …



Charles Evelyn: Eyez….MOST in ahgreement wit Yungian email,yo!!!!!!

Hey….D’ same shit beez happenin UPTOWN at 125th St. Harlem…DAT Pathmark beez closed down TOO!!!!!!!!!

……AND durin D’ closure Eyez beez force tah shop at D’ supamarket at 1st Ave. in StuyTown…..and D’cashier wuz HANDin petitionz tah SAVE daze ass tah customers…AT THE CHECKOUT LINE!!!!!??????


Itzzzz….ALL OUT Class Warfare,yo!!!!!!!


The American Dream Demise or How We Ended Gangsterism in Chinatown and Became PC

4 Jul

“Funk” has its history beginning when Europeans owned slaves but not their human souls. Music that came from Africa from the tribes of each village transcended from the traveling barristers, the griots. You might disregard this thought but present trend as presented by NYC’s poet slam founder, BoB Holman, has a griot accompanying him with his poetries since he had traveled to Timbuktu to follow the trails of beat poet Ted Jones while Ginsberg was discovering his sexual orientation which might’ve seem unnatural for Amiri Baraka’s & Ted Jone’s perceptions. However, Ginsberg opened a whole new identity for the gay & lesbian movement in Amerika.

Meanwhile, I also had to find my roots from the Chinatowns of Amerika to China’s infamous silk road among other Chinese American artists. (Then I became an undercover agent for “my people”.) I had first exhibited the first “Chinese in America: Images from the Neglected Past” in 1975 via a grass root community arts group, Basement Workshop/Chinese Historical Society @ the foot of Statue of Liberty where resides the Museum of Immigration. Presently like all institutions, with various name changes and overlapping of “PC professional” staff members who call themselves, “revisionists”, the non-profit cultural arts has evolved into Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA). Eventually, the uptown NY Historical Society finally exhibited an in depth detail the Chinese diaspora as a slave labor force (“coolies”); Congress enacting the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 “Chinese Must Go” in American history that explicitly targeted a specific ethnic group; and establishing foreign artists as Asian Americans. In response to this negativity, in late 20th Century after the Black Civil Rights with affirmative action Asian Americans became included as “minority role models”. The “role model syndrome” is such a divisive tool to divide ethnics among other ethnics while others still impose exclusionisms. This duality causes further hardships while mainstream society can ignore such conflicts and continue to make affirmative action, feminism, & human rights as taboo or unattainable except for the privilege class.

As an artist, I always enjoyed music and wanted to develop my musical skills so I became a musicologist of alternative Jazz music. Somehow, I became a “friend” of the Charters family via their daughter Nora, many years ago, who is now studying Yoga & photography. Sam & Ann Charters write and publishes books about the Beat generation.

As a youngster Sam Charters became a musician “playing in New Orleans bordellos” as Nora states. He “also purchased numerous old recordings of American blues musicians, eventually amassing a huge and valuable collection and beginning to understand that blues and jazz were connected in the history of black music.” (Wikipeida). Sam also claims that Baraka had plagiarized his book, “The Bluesmen: The Story and the Music of the Men who Made the Blues”, 1967 New York: Oak Publications, as told to me after Amiri Baraka’s death in January 9, 2014. Unlike Sam & BoB, who had traveled to Africa, Amiri Baraka stayed home. He focused on his writings and performing with jazz musicians However, I believe Amiri broke away from the Beats to delve into his own poetry, drama, fiction, essays & music criticism to satirize Amerika’s inequities. Amiri became the poet laureate of New Jersey until 9/11 and ultimately, “considered one of the founders of the Black Arts movement,” as described in Academy of American Poets.

In the British, “the guardian’s obituary of Sam written in March 26, 2015 by interviewer Tony Russel, quoted Sam saying, “My books pretend to be scholarly analyses but none of them are. They’re all political tracts. Throughout all my books, I was attempting to make the black expression an alternative to the suffocating dead weight of white American culture.”

The Charter family has accumulated unlimited wealth by becoming music anthropologists and experts of the “Beat” gen. and not about the Black literary movement. Nora’s parents now reside in Sweden, “a free loving nation” until Sam’s death in 2015.

Sam’s later book, entitled “The Roots of the Blues: An African Search”, 1981 – Boston: M. Boyars, where it becomes Sam’s journal of the title. However, he could not discover its “roots” & the book becomes a comical self–realization of the ugly “Whiteman in Africa”.

As for myself, I started to document the NY’s alternative jazz scene where there is no audience. There were many various reasons since I had been writing poetry since 1974 after the Asian American civil rights movement highlighted by my first DVD “Democracies in Chinatown: 1974-1994”. Besides I had played the accordion at the age of 6-14 in my home state, Portland, Oregon to NYC & the viola in LES in JHS where eventually it was the drums when I had joined NYC’s Soh Taiko’s first year of inception. Later it has been conga lessons with Johnny Amira for 5 years with tape recordings @ Lesley Dance Studio near Soho. However, there were many disappointments & barriers to continue to perform in the music business, so I began using my skills as a videographer. In addition, I also wanted to become an artist in NYC.

There were many labels attributed towards me, Suzy Wong, IWK, Gold Digger, Spy, Concubine, Ghettoes girl, alcoholic, home breaker, Gook, & recently “Leftover” woman. All in All those were mainstream labels attached to narrow–minded “history of deceptions”. Now as things are completely stratified to make the movement of Black History as a stalemate via government control as witnessed by the headaches that President Obama Baraka is confronted with Global realities and as a minority, I’m stuck with impoverished retirement, unemployablenesses, & lotsa spiritual gains with many pains to write about and speculate.

Throughout the years of documentations, the most interesting highlights has been talking with Evelyn Blakey about her father, Art Blakey, as being the first musician sent by the State Dept. after WWII to Japan and introduce Jazz; Terry Clark’s (Vietnam Vet., trumpet player & psychologist) performance with a White clarinetist, (?); Oscar Mischaux who is re–introduced as a major director, filmmaker, producer, distributor, & writer in the history of Black filmmaking with music accompaniments by Will Hooker, Sabir Mateen & others which can be viewed on YouTube.

Later, I found on YouTube, Miles Davis who did a funky tune with electronics called, “Red China Blues” in 1972 in the “Get Up With It” album. Rolling Stone in its April 10, 1975 described the tune as “a hard-edged number with Miles back on trumpet, Pretty Purdie and Cornell Dupree are in the rhythm section and a wailing blues harp that would seem incongruous on a Miles album fits in perfectly. ” It starts with a slow bluesy rolling tune with a harmonica solo and back bass slowly the horns come in and then a guitar solo intercedes “wowing” with the harmonica. The sad bluesy sounds and riffs emphasizes the tension of strings while horns just blare in the background and sometimes very quietly not to disturb the guitar’s moaning solo. or battle with the harmonica. To some listeners, this is a sexy bump & grinding tune for “sex in a bordello”. At least Miles Davis recognizes the Chinese’s plights & struggles under the Communist flag.

After attending many music sessions with Ras Moshe, Hil Greene, Bill Cole, Johnny Amira, Patience Higgins, Roy Campbell, Bern Nix, Warren Smith, JD Parran, Kali Fasteau, Nioka Workman, Amiri Baraka, Ken Feliciano, Joseph Jarman, Jemeel Moondoc, Amir Bey, Daniel Carter, Sabir Mateen, Connie Crothers, Larry Roland, Jason Hwang, Will Connell, Eric Frazier, etc. & Jazz aficionados, I believe Funk exists due to these individual expressionisms of various styles where inherent impressions of their environment are musically interpreted. In addition, the European pop & music stars of the 60s had learned the blues beat from earlier Black musicians to reinterpret to America’s young population.

Often it can “come across” to some individuals who are able to interpret these life experiences and political situations. For example at midnight of an upcoming New Year’s Eve event at Brecht Forum, Sabir Mateen was performing out into the stratosphere on the night that Bierut was being bombed by American Air Forces. It was fireworks occurring in a foreign land and Sabir was able to emotionally express how it felt that night–Anger & Frustration. I felt privileged to video that moment and clarify the meaning of “Funk”.

Funk is the beat of the heart’s rhythm that can cause many emotions to erupt and be the primal scream of mankind in these horrific times. It becomes of course an escapism for expression and a form of talk story that the ancient griots had passed down to each new generation.

24 Jun


Dead Fly on Dead Horse Bay bottle …

Dead Fly on Dead Horse Bay Bottle


Sarah, Figure Drawing at Minerva’s Drawing Class …

redhead002 copy

January 22, 2016:

25 Apr

John Farris RIP

by Susan L. Yung

 John Farris @ Wilma Jennings Gallery

Photo by Robert Watlington

John Farris at Wilma Jennings Gallery

John Farris died quietly in his sleep last night as the bright full moon brightened the 2016 fury blizzard trail that left 25 inches of snow. Snow flurried madly & gently downed on NYC. John quietly faded into the background, while many sympathizers slowly realized that he had passed on.


That night, after videoing Larry Roland, Ras Moshe, Bill Cole and Charles Downs, I left the Clemente De Soto music event and shopped at Whole Foods on Houston St to replenish my food pantry. It was very crowded as many others were preparing for that big snow blizzard. By the time I got out of the subway in Brooklyn, it started to snow. The next morning, I got up around 12:57 pm and the Blizzard was in full blast. A friend, text ms me on FB that John Farris had died.


John Farris was an E. Vill. codger & icon. He & Steve Cannon. Both had no direction to go but to successfully be, in the tradition of “great writers”, notoriously arrogant, rebellious, angry, macho intellectual Black men in the Lower East Side. As anarchists by divide & rule among ethnics, they fought their way to become numero uno Black writers in the 60’s to the present history of LES. They claimed their stake as homeless, alcoholic, poets, critics and writers and like the Bowery bums of the 60s–70s, patronize any cheap bar. John constantly wore a beret or his pork pie straw hat as a member of the LES art scene. He had a spinal problem that caused him to limp and eventually walk with a cane. He usta ride his bike to Williamsburg to get some nice second hand dudes. John was the best looking Black writer from the day he was born. I try to see the good side of him and supported his works as much as possible.


There was a time, my first (“rich”) boyfriend, Elia, would escort me to the John Farris vs Lester Afflick “Best Poet Showdown”. Even though Lester was a better poet, John would egregariously announce he was the winner and due to age differences, Lester would concede.


The first time I met JF was in the 80s, when Kevin Jordan brought me to Bullet Space’ squat. At that time, I had began to attend several poetry readings in LES with a group of Asian writers i.e. Charas, NYU, Basement Workshop, Fez, Nuyorican Poets Café. This was my first time hanging out with a writer outside of my ethnic group. JF was living in a small apt with no heat or running water: lonely & old but the sparkle in his eyes was the most appealing. He read his latest short story, “Devil in a Blue/Red Dress” interspersed with attempting to steal a kiss or two. I was too shy to reciprocate & besides I was dating KJ. JF had a face full of expressions & I loved that immemorial face … what a case study.


I am having a brain organism, meaning I am having cabin fever during this 2016 Blizzard … the first snow blizzard of the year. This 2015’s weather was so mild and warm that lasted a long time, to a point of spoiling us NYers.


RIP John,


Dinner tonight for JF: cold noodles, cognac, weed and wine. For dessert chocolates & cognac … a hotty totty … a great buzz to wake up with a hangover, my heady–achey self.



In 1995, I attended Steve Cannon’s writing/poetry workshop with John Farris’ participation. There were about 50 participants that John had whittled down to about 15 hard core poets. I had written this poem “Asian American Rap” for him to check the lines he preferred in the poem. He liked it so much as is that he told Steve to print it in the next Tribes Magazine.


The Asian American Rap





Victim of gentrification



Exotic/erotic stereee–

                  oh type

Makes me type

the words

Yes      No

☐         ☐         B U D D H A





☐         ☐         Makin’ Doves

                                    Makin’ a role model

                                    to be

girl friend


& charity woman


☐         ☐         Her jobs





                                    salesclerk &

                                    garment worker


☐         ☐         War wounds from ugly

white old men with houses, cars,

jobs, trust funds and art hangin’ their walls.


☐         ☐         War wounds from ugly

black old men with apts, drugs,

jobs and dreams.


☐         ☐         War wounds from ugly

yellow old men with houses, cars,

jobs, white/yellow wives with

children and trust funds


☐         ☐         H E Y MA

                                    stop stoopin’


                                    with a touch

                                    of nothin’


                                    she laughs

                                    and laughs …


☐         ☐         … My job is

                                    A R T.


☐         ☐         35 years is a rude,


                                    other, a



☐         ☐         Reckon,

there are mor’ to say about than there are

days when mama


“Nothin’ ”



☐         ☐         The beauty of uglinesses.


JF & Lois Elaine GriffithPhoto by Robert Watlington

John Farris and Lois Elaine Griffin at A Gathering of the Tribes

JF in streetPhoto by Robert Watlington

John Farris in LES street


The Beauty of Uglinesses

11 Oct

Recently, I got invited to meet at a bar, Butterfield 8, an Asian networking group to support Asian Women’s Centre (AWC) that provides safe houses for abused “immigrant” Asian women. This upscale bar is located in the 30s on the East Side where White “corporate” men were congregating. As I scanned the ambience and wondered why we were cordoned to a corner of the bar, I made small talk and explained over a glass of wine to the newly selected AWC’s director, a young Vietnamese woman, that Butterfield 8 is the phone # of a prostitute based on a movie performed by Liz Taylor. I asked, “Who selected this place?” A Chuppie said he did and gave me his business card which had a title as Sir Adam Chan. He is a technical writer for Cambridge University Press, and smiled slyly. Our conversation was interrupted as one guy commented on his fancy shirt. The men and women were only communicating to their own sexes and rarely seemed to talk to each other. To break the ice, I suggested ordering appetizers and instead got colder stares as the Asian women continued talking about their managing jobs and the men about their latest investments. Obviously, this is not a group I can participate. The only woman mingling was a recruiter for World Financial Group who convinced me to attend a workshop. Later, I declined her “work-at-home” job offer.

Again, I found this polarization prevalent when a recent research about Asian women in America, in their mid 30s-40s, have the highest rates of suicides. Most of these women are single and have achieved some form of careers. How appropriate because I can list several suicides in my lifetime. Katherine Tsoy, a Korean roommate, at the age of 40; Barbara Tsao, wife of Peter Kwong, Professor and Chinatown researcher; Iris Chang, writer; Frank Chin’s ex-wife, Elizabeth Chin, a writer who immolated herself like the burning Vietnamese monks protesting the war. Recently, last winter, I wrote about a Japanese woman who became homeless. Upon her boyfriend’s request, I obliged my sofabed for several nights as a place to rest. She in turn also died via suicide. There seems to be a gender generational class struggle added to the class of apathetic Asians that remains as an insular community. In summation, the perpetual stereotyping of Asians in America still prevails.

US-born Asian-American women more likely to think about, attempt suicide

Although Asian-Americans as a group have lower rates of thinking about and attempting suicide than the national average, U.S.-born Asian-American women seem to be particularly at risk for suicidal behavior, according to new University of Washington research.
The study shows 15.93 percent of U.S.-born Asian-American women have contemplated suicide in their lifetime, exceeding national estimates of 13.5 percent for all Americans. The finding comes in a study published in the current issue of the journal Archives of Suicide Research. Lifetime estimates of suicide attempts also were higher among U.S-born Asian-American women than the general population, 6.29 percent vs. 4.6 percent.
Data from the study were drawn from the larger National Latino and Asian-American Study and were based on bilingual interviews with almost 2,100 individuals at least 18 years of age. Two-thirds were immigrants from Asia and women made up 53 percent of the respondents. Participants included 600 Chinese, 520 Vietnamese, 508 Filipinos and 467 other Asians, including Japanese, Koreans and Asian Indians.
“It is unclear why Asian-Americans who were born in the United States have higher rates of thinking about and attempting suicide,” said Aileen Duldulao, a UW doctoral student in social work and lead author of the study. “There is the theory of the ‘healthy immigrant’ that proposes immigrants may be healthier on average than U.S-born Americans, because of the selectivity of migration or the retention of culturally-based behaviors. But it is unclear if this theory is the mechanism at work with regard to our findings.”
Evidence supporting this idea was previously found among Mexican-American and Latino American immigrants. However, Duldulao said, the health of immigrants tends to decline with the number of years they spend in the U.S. and start adopting behaviors that are less healthy than those found in their homeland.
The suicide data echo a 2006 study that showed Asian immigrants to the U.S. have significantly lower rates of psychiatric disorders than American-born Asians and other native-born Americans. That study’s lead author was David Takeuchi, a UW professor of social work and sociology who is also a co-author of the suicide study. Seunghye Hong, who recently earned her doctorate in social work from the UW, also contributed to the suicide study.
The new research also found that:

  1. The percentage of Asian-Americans who reported thinking about suicide increased the longer they lived in the U.S.
b. Young Asian-Americans, between 18 and 34, had the highest estimates of thinking about (11.9 percent), planning (4.38 percent) and attempting suicide (3.82 percent) of any age group
c. Asian-Americans who were never married reported the highest lifetime estimates of thinking about (17.9 percent) planning (7.6 percent) and attempting (5 percent) suicide.
d. There were few major differences by ethnicity, although Chinese (10.9 percent) and Filipinos (9.76 percent) reported the highest rates of thinking about suicide.

“This study highlights the fact that we may be underserving Asian-American women born in the U.S,” said Duldulao. “While there was little evidence of sociodemographic differences in suicidal behaviors among various Asian-American groups, there was some anecdotal data from people working in the community. It is important for service providers, as well as policymakers, to know that U.S.-born Asian-Americans, particularly the second generation, are at high risk for mental health problems and suicidal behavior.
“In most cultures suicide is just as unacceptable as it is here. It is pretty much a taboo. That’s why this study is important and why Asian-American communities need to talk more about suicide and mental health,” she said.
The researchers used a modified version of a World Health Organization questionnaire to assess whether and at what age people had suicidal thoughts, made suicide plans or attempted suicide.

Contact: Joel Schwarz
University of Washington


I didn’t know about Peter Kwong’s wife committing suicide, do you know what happened?

 Yes, I know what happened: 

Barbara Ho & Peter Kwong were passing out flyers during the Confucius Plaza demos stating “not to demonstrate”. However, Asian American students were so emotionally charged up about Vietnam War; restaurant & garment workers as well as senior citizens got tired of working for low wages; AA historical moments in America were being researched such as during WWII Japanese–American internment camps; Chinatown gang killings were popular; there were no Asian (American) artists; and the list can go on that we all ignored their anti-protest knowing our issues were more important after our awareness of Black Panther, Young Lords & IWK were getting somewhere in NYC. After the demos, I burned out & decided to get a life. I heard (I don’t know if it was before or after her divorce) that Barbara was hanging out with Black Jazz musicians at Soundscape. It sounded a rare occasion for an Asian American woman to mingle with jazz men after being married to “prestigious” Peter Kwong who is from Taiwan & teaching @ Yeshiva University at the time. Something happened and next thing you know she killed herself. Peter on the other hand, had remarried a “white” European woman & wrote his book about statistics of Chinatown’s labor history (where he interviews Corky Lee & Bob Lee about Confucius Plaza demos) as well as teach Asian American studies in the city university network. His book is the source for other researchers & proposal writers to get grants in the Asian community.

As for Kathryn Tsoy (nicknamed “Soy Sauce”) of Korean descent, she was my roommate in my first LES (Houston & Elizabeth) apt. She was tall, gorgeously beautiful. She had 2 years of Barnard College; worked out with nun–chuks; grew up in Riverdale & went to Fieldston elementary & high school (where Producer Lorne Michaels went); friends with E. G. Marshall’s son, an artist & Richard Tsao, the painter; goes to Montauk to work as a waitress & hang out at de Koonig’s studio; joined the Hell’s Angels & rode a motorbike cross country for 2 years as well as be an artist.

The most important story she told me in my orange-painted kitchen that I call “cookin’ in a pumpkin” in LES was about her father. Her father was in the hospital and he got bored so he made up a game based on Parcheesi. He taught the game to the guy in the next bed. The game was called “Monopoly” and the guy was one of the Parker Bros. As you see, her father never got any credit or monetary compensation. It was just appropriated.

So by the time Kathryn was 40 years old, she must’ve got tired of ALL the men who two–timed her and I suspect her beauty was fading that she took some pills. I was shocked when I met Richard Tsao at an Asian Artists panel discussion with Bob Lee & he told me of her suicide. He has her cigar box filled with her special things and he was going to give it to me but he was in the midst of moving into another studio in LES. I only have photos of her when we were roommates. Unbelievable, how many Asian guys would be infatuated with her beauty and would constantly call her at my LES apt. She would brush them aside and try to be an artist where we would go to Bob Blackburn’s studio to learn etchings. She also wanted to be part of Basement Workshop.

I am sure this is alot to digest and nothing changes as viewed by this recent article:


I hope the truth will eventually come out because by gathering all resources and not just by one man, we’ll be able to learn or maybe practice a little more compassion & understanding towards one another rather than make-up lies to pacify their Western Freudian egos that is a constant in my lifetime.



“Day to Day Doldrums of a Plain Unremarkable Existence”

4 Jan


Susan L. Yung reads at the Bowery Poetry Club, on December 22, 2013 with a slide show presentation.

Out of Order

7 Jul

Out of Order2 (click to see photo)

When I became a whistleblower on a job “to save the children” then there is something wrong with the system. It becomes “out of order”

I had protested the budget cut that occurred at the America Museum of Natural History when hired Texans closed the subway entrance to the museum in 1995. This entrance is a direct connection, a shortcut to the museum’s cafeteria and lunchroom for school children’s visits. Unfortunately when the doors were closed, everybody had to walk out through a tunnel and turn around the corner to the main entrance that took 15 minutes to reenter the museum. Many workers were late and many people complained about this hindrance.

The complaints got to be so overwhelming that security guards, who had to hear it daily, had organized a mass meeting among the museum employees in the Kaufmann Theater. I sat and heard what had to be said. Our Union representative saw it an opportunity to recruit more workers into the DC 37 in order to take action. Then there were more frustrated complaints. Eventually, I said: “During my lunch hour, I would see school children lined up along Central Park West, waiting to enter the lunchroom. God forbid if a child were to run across the busy street to play in Central Park.” The meeting was quickly over and the museum doors were open within a week. Two weeks later, I was informed to go to the Personnel office. There I was that I had two weeks to transfer into another dept. Unfortunately, after a series of interviews and misplaced judgments, I no longer worked at there.

In the meantime, I had taken my vacation to North India to video and document Sakhyditha: Women’s Buddhist Conference. I returned with information about the Tibetan culture. This was not up to AMNH standards, anyways. Then the psychologist boy friend, believing in the “bell curve” theory that Black intelligences are inferior to Whites also made me homeless for 6 months.

18 years later, the world and American situation has become “out of order” with “fascism on the rise” in our democratic nation due to “terrorism” and acts of invasions in Iran, Iraq & Afghanistan since we are the first militaristic world power.

Susan Yung
June 13, 2013

Roll On Columbia, Roll On

4 Apr

This is the song I sang from my home state, Portland, Oregon to NYC fifty years ago after celebrating Oregon’s Centennial