My Dad and Kurt Cobain

This excerpt from Hua Hsu’s memoir offers a glimpse into his parents’ generation of immigrants from Taiwan to America, and the faxes they sent to each other about homework, zines, and Nirvana.

My parents had fond memories of listening to the station when they were teen-agers, back when it was Armed Forces Radio. In time, my father became less interested in new music, and listening to the countdown was, in part, my attempt to connect with him, to remind him of the American splendors to which he might one day return. It took me a while to understand that this was our life now—that my parents had worked hard in order to have a place in both worlds. Becoming American would remain an incomplete project, and the records in my father’s collection began to seem like relics of an unfollowed path.

Author: Hua Hsu
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Aug 15, 2022
Length: 21 minutes (5,392 words)

How George Clinton Made Funk a World View

Hua Hsu considers the heirs and influence of P-Funk founder George Clinton on the eve of Clinton’s retirement from performing.

Author: Hua Hsu
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Jul 9, 2018
Length: 9 minutes (2,406 words)

Wokking the Suburbs

On the rise of Monterey Park, California, and other suburban Chinatowns.

Author: Hua Hsu
Source: Lucky Peach
Published: Dec 13, 2012
Length: 18 minutes (4,670 words)

Hard Knocks: Shanghai

Can American football succeed in China?

“Football in America is closely associated with working-class communities, the ready-made tableau of small towns throughout the South or Midwest where collective esteem rises or falls according to how the local team did. This isn’t always how it works elsewhere. In England, for example, there remain pockets of middle-class NFL fans who turned to the sport after the hooliganism of the 1980s left them alienated from soccer. In rural China, the NFL’s flag football initiatives have helped democratize the playground; nobody grows up playing the sport, so there’s no natural hierarchy. They can all — boys and girls — be awful and then learn together. But in cities like Beijing or Shanghai, football seems to represent the cosmopolitan or exotic — it’s the distinction associated with being into something others just don’t understand.”

Author: Hua Hsu
Source: Grantland
Published: May 2, 2013
Length: 22 minutes (5,635 words)