Journal #3: It’s All in the Process

Journal #3: It’s All in the Process

Aside from the usual stresses of culture night planning (like perpetually thinking about money and how to get money and subsequently dreaming of having no money…) the journey thus far has been pretty transformative and quite rewarding. The end result on the night of January 19, 2015 will be wonderful, no doubt. But it’s really all in the process. For me at least, that means learning many things as I go and continually improving my understanding of VCN. Below I’ve detailed some of these lessons, big and small.   1. The “V” in “VCN” isn’t just a letter When culture night season gets rolling, it can get overwhelming to learn about all the different CNs. And really, the only thing distinguishing one CN from the next (at least on the surface) is a simple letter or two. But that small difference is the difference that makes Vietnamese Culture Night distinctly Vietnamese in history and context, as is Thai Culture Night or Samahang Pilipino Cultural Night or Chinese American Culture Night, for example. These are very specific identities tied to very specific shows. (And I highly encourage you to go watch all the culture nights on campus to get the best overall culture night experience possible!)   2. Advocacy for the show can happen at anytime, to anyone, anywhere At times I feel like a walking, talking personification of VCN. I really love talking about it. But yet I’m still intimidated now when I’m asked, “what is the show about?” To me, it might as well be phrased as “give me your most polished and passionate explanation of what this year’s...
Journal #2: It’s Auditions Season!

Journal #2: It’s Auditions Season!

It’s Week 2. The welcome week activities have ended. The Bruin Walk mobs have not. And there’s 99 days left until VCN show day. Yes, we’ve entered the double digits, y’all. Since the last time I posted, so much has been going on with the start of school that I haven’t been able to keep up. There’s a lot I want to cover though. Let’s recap what happened during the summer! Much of the past three to four months has been dedicated to developing the script and assembling our staff. A disproportionate amount of that time, however, was spent on the former. Even with a relatively clear vision of what I had planned in mind, it took weeks for me to decide the basis of the script’s themes and direction. I didn’t know what I wanted the show to talk about, because there was a lot I wanted it to talk about. In fact, I had so much internal struggle with it that it had to take words from a former VSU President (thanks Katrina Vo!) to help me make sense of it all. See, in recent years, our culture night has chosen to shed light on various “taboo” topics in our community. These topics have pushed our show’s boundaries beyond the topics it had covered before. If VCN was to be an educational program and platform, it has fulfilled that role without a problem with our last 3-4 productions. I wanted to continue this tradition. And while it still remains incredibly important to address these very current issues facing our Vietnamese American community, I finally made a decision...
Journal #1: Xin chào các bạn!

Journal #1: Xin chào các bạn!

Hey there! My name is Calvin, and I am the 2015 VCN Director and Culture Coordinator for the Vietnamese Student Union at UCLA. For the first time ever, we’re starting a Director’s Journal so that you can follow along behind-the-scenes as we get to show day! I’ll do my best to bring you some cool insights on the process of preparing for the very FIRST culture night on campus (and arguably the most popular, heh) — just don’t expect spoilers, good jokes, or free food. But if you want to sponsor food for our cast, feel free. (See what I did there? No? Told you so.) But before all of that though, we have to start from the beginning. Since this is my first journal entry, I’ll tell you a little bit about how I got involved with VCN. #STORYTIME In the summer before starting college (2012), I attended a large cross-campus statewide conference called the UC Student Congress, held at UC San Diego that year by the University of California Students Association (UCSA). As an incoming first-year, I wanted to get involved. Attending the conference felt like a great way to meet other folks and start that process early. It just so happened that a number of VSU Board members and friends were attending the conference that year. I recognized a few of them from SEA Admit Weekend the year before (WOOH GO SEA ADMIT!) so I got acquainted with them quickly. Then, from one person to the next, I got to meet some amazing people who would later be my fellow VSU staff members, mentors, and close friends. :’) Steven Pham, VSU and VCN...