Lyn Jensen's Blog: Manga, Music, and Politics

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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Classic Yaoi: Iris Print, "Paintings of You" and "Only Words"

What yaoi might never have been published if not for Kellie Lynch and her Iris Print?

  That little publisher of Original English Language (OEL) yaoi prose and manga only lasted about a year--2007 to 2008--but gave us two ground-breaking graphic novels: Only Words by Tina Anderson and Caroline Monaco, and Paintings of You by Mia Paluzzi and Chris Delk (aka Chrissy Delk), to mention but two works.

  I doubt either Words or Paintings, both of which vividly and graphically portray complicated emotional landscapes, would've found a home with any other publisher, either of manga or GLBT creations.

  Words was, and remains, super-controversial (and is very graphically and sexually explicit). In perhaps 100 short pages it mixes the right emotional complexities, combined with solid historical detail, to make us believe that perhaps a Polish Catholic and a Hitler Youth may have had a love-hate encounter in Nazi-controlled Poland during World War II. One co-creator, Tina Anderson, is still active and has her own Web site, except she now specializes in mainstream prose only. The other co-creator, Caroline Monaco, cannot be located today--and may be a pseudonym.

  By contrast Paintings of You is a gay-themed contemporary romantic comedy that should have commercial appeal beyond the yaoi market--even to TV or film. It's about various types of relationships, sexual and otherwise, and is told without any heavy sex scenes. Art students meet up, break up, and make up in some college town, amid gallery openings, cups of espresso, and nerve-wracking roommates. The characters--some are sensitive, others, flamboyant--provide enough emotional complexities to keep the plot moving. Creators Mia Paluzzo and Chris (Chrissy) Delk graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2006. From searching the Internet I conclude this is their only published graphic novel.

 Because Iris Print existed, yaoi fans have Only Words and Paintings of You. Fortunately both are still readily available from various online sources. We know another OEL yaoi manga, Home on the Range, has never been published because Iris Print folded while that book was being promoted. I continue to hope another publisher (of graphic novels or GLBT literature, perhaps) picks it up.

Note:  Iris Print is not to be confused with Iris Press, an entirely different publisher.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Link to Random Lengths: Vivian Malauulu's Campaign for College Board

Link to my report on Vivian Malauulu's campaign for Long Beach Community College Board of Trustees:

Vivian Malauulu, whose resume already includes experience as a Carson commissioner and Random Lengths reporter, is campaigning to unseat Irma Archuleta on the April 12 elections for the Long Beach Community College District Board of Trustees.
“I have diverse unique experience that no other board member has,” said Malauulu about her hopes to represent Area 2, which borders Carson. “I’m an educator, I’m a longshoreman, and I’m a journalist. All three are very unique careers. I can breathe some fresh air into the board.”
Malauulu, who is a journalism professor at Long Beach City College, said she knows first-hand what issues are facing the district. She says 35 percent of students have less than a 2.1 GPA, and only 19 percent of students graduate within two years.
Born Vivian Ramirez in Honduras, Malauulu came at age seven to the United States in 1981. She lived in Carson with her African-American stepfather, who adopted her, making her name Vivian Williams. She attended Banning High School and started teaching there at age 22.
In 1998, Malauulu was appointed to Carson’s public relations commission by then-mayor Mike Mitoma.
“Many people told me I was the youngest commissioner ever [in Carson],” she recalled.
She continued to teach full-time even after her name was drawn in the 1997 longshoreman lottery. She worked first as a casual, and later she worked full-time. Her campaign bio says she’s a member of ILWU Local 13, where “I have served as an elected officer to the Executive Board, as a delegate to the Southern California District Council, and as the chair of the local’s Public Relations Committee.”
Her husband, George, is also from Carson and a longshoreman. They and their four children now live in LBCCD Area 2 adjacent to Carson. She is no longer a commissioner in Carson but serves on Long Beach’s Commission for Youth and Children.
Archuleta, the incumbent, was appointed in September 2014 to replace Roberto Uranga, who won the District 7 Long Beach City Council seat that same year.
Malauulu describes Archuleta’s appointment as “very controversial” because the board appointed Archuleta instead of calling an election, even though there were two years left on Uranga’s term. Malauulu questions why the board appointed Archuleta, who had to divide time between Long Beach and serving as vice president of Student Affairs at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose. Archuleta resigned the Evergreen position in October 2015.
“I am the best candidate to represent the district because I have been representing the district,” Archuleta responded. “I have served as an effective and accessible advocate for advancing the progressive values of my community. I helped to expand the Long Beach Promise scholarship program from one semester to one year.  I have brought new attention to the needs of immigrant and undocumented students and helped secure the path for the district’s first every [ever] Project Labor Agreement to ensure projects are completed with local workforce, on budget and on time.”
Before becoming a vice president at Evergreen Valley College, Archuleta says she served as adjunct faculty at El Camino College and Cal State University Long Beach.