On May 5, I went to the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University on Long Island for a screening for Off the Menu: Asian America.
Despite summer-like temperatures and exams week, a good-sized crowd of students and community members made up the audience. The Charles B. Wang Center is an impressive resource on Long Island. The grounds are quite substantial, with cherry blossom trees in full bloom lining the driveway. It is a hub for art exhibits, performances and screenings focusing on Asian and Asian American culture for the campus and larger community. The building also features an impressive food court called Jasmine that is entirely Asian-themed, complete with a boba tea house. During the screening, I snuck away to grab a snack of Korean kimbap, and the first question posed by a student after the film was whether I had eaten at Jasmine and what did I think of the food. (Answer: Yes, and not bad).
After the screening, Professor E.K. Tan from the Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory helped moderate a Q&A and discussion about the film, exploring themes of family and nostalgia. Another audience member related her experience growing up in Polish immigrant family and wondered how that might relate to other immigrant groups. I later learned from Charles Wang Center programmer Jinyoung Jin that the Stony Brook campus has a growing Asian population — about 30 percent. Thanks again to Jinyoung Jin for inviting the film and me.