Introducing Behind the Story, or "BTS," a series where I reflect a bit on a recent article or piece I created. This post will be on a recent personal essay I wrote for Annenberg Media, "On Asian American Night Markets."
I don't know about you, but I LOVE food festivals. Eating great food is always a fun thing to do, but what fairs and festivals do more for me is being in a space where I can hang out with my friends and family and have a good time. The 626 Night Market, even though it's only five years old, is one of my favorite things about summer in Southern California. I've covered the night market in some shape or form since the summer after my freshman year. I wrote my last piece (for the time being) this past Fourth of July weekend.
Why is it my last one? Just two reasons:
I feel like I wrote enough articles about the Night Market for Annenberg outlets, like at least six or seven
I want to enjoy the night markets as an attendee again and not as a reporter, since the last time I came just for fun was in 2013
But that doesn't mean the space itself isn't newsworthy. In fact, as the Night Market grows (as I'm sure it will) over the years, there will always be something to write about the 626 Night Market. And I think it's something special when the same vendors come out every year and they recognize me because I interviewed them for a story or I bought something from them at a past Night Market.
An artist, one time, allowed me to have a piece of his for free when his square wasn't working and I didn't have cash. This past weekend I chatted with a vendor who sold me a masquerade mask and we caught each other up on what our year was like.
I said in my article that the Night Market helps Southern California communities, but it's becoming clear that at least among the artists and vendors who come through the space, it is a community.
Touching on another aspect of the article, I mentioned that it was a happy note of irony that Santa Anita Park, which houses the 626 Night Market, held such a dark past for Asian Americans and yet it is home to an Asian American food festival. I feel a bit guilty for not realizing it before this year. It goes to show how easy it is for some to forget brutality and injustice against people of color, even if you're a local who is a person of color.
I also successfully produced and edited a social-style video. It may not be something you'd see on Facebook from a news outlet, but it's a start. As a person who is beginning to break out of her text-based mold and fully embrace digital video, I feel extremely satisfied this time around.
Feels kind of bittersweet knowing that I'll never have another press pass to add to my collection. But I still can't wait for the next Night Market; I'll just make sure I get there early.
Read the article on USC Annenberg Media's Website.