1. There is a strong likelihood you will meet a celebrity.
All right, the likelihood that someone outside Boston will have heard of the celebrity is not that high. You'll likely see local celebrities - maybe winner of our Short Waves competition this year Jose Soto will make an appearance. Or how about Timothy Tau who answered audience questions last year? He's won awards - important ones. In a town as small as Boston, expect a city councilor or five - it's an election year, or another prominent Asian American mover and shaker. It's crude, but I'm going to drop the A bomb: Ang Lee came in 2013. Ang f'ing Lee - the guy who made a gay couple palatable to American audiences. He made Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal cuddle. Full disclosure: Matt Damon or Ben Affleck will likely not show up unless there are ice buckets. Anyway, who needs them, when you got Ursula Liang. You don't know her? You will.
2. To have something to fill awkwardly long car-ride conversations.
Or awkward company farewell co-worker lunches. Or tell a friend who is visiting Boston that there are actually cultural things to do in Boston that are reasonably priced and actually feature Asian Americans. Let's face it, as much as it pains English teachers the world over to admit, no one reads books anymore. People watch movies. And talk about them - everywhere. The cinema, as ze French call it, never gets old. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is so passe. Asian Americans can be funny now. And yes, they can be marketable too. You know that Korean guy who plays the dad on that new Asian American sitcom - the first one on network TV since Margaret Cho? I saw him first at a film last year. That's right, at BAAFF.
3. To stick it to the multi-million dollar budget films.
Since it seems applicable, to quote a t-shirt - "A T-shirt can change the world what we collectively choose to buy or not to buy can change the course of life and history on this planet." We can scratch out the T-shirt and substitute with a movie ticket. Call it countercultural. Call it hipster. Call it being aware. Call it defying millennial stereotypes. Call it Asian Pride. Asian American culture in America is crying out for more involvement, to make the impact it deserves. Suey Park was a Twitter sensation with #notyourasiansidekick. Asian Americans are pushing the boundaries, expressing themselves in all sorts of ways that matter. Don't throw your money away on the same 'ol dominant culture shtick - put it somewhere so it can make a difference.
4. It beats feeding pigeons in the park.
It's sad but true - there isn't really that much to do in Boston that a) won't break the bank or b) doesn't force you to drive or ride a ridiculous (or OK fine, wicked) long time or c) isn't totally geared toward tourists. How many times can you walk through the Boston Common or marvel at the architecture in the Boston Public Library until it gets just a tad bit stale? You could take a Hubway along the Charles, but why strain yourself? Sit back, silence your phones (for once) and enjoy the finest in surround-sound, temperature-controlled, plush seating, watching a film on a big screen while listening to that rustling of a popcorn bag and sipping of soda coming from somewhere in the front row as everyone settles into be transported.
5. This is a Meet-Up without the stranger danger.
Remember the time when you didn't actually need the internet to go somewhere with other people, or by yourself, and share an experience with other like-minded folks? Yeah, that was like a decade ago. Boy, times have changed. But do they have to? Do it the "old-fashioned" way, show up to a movie event that hard-working event planners and film reviewers and volunteers have poured themselves into, curated for general consumption, and maybe you could actually meet people. That's a funny notion. Oh, wait, you really need a screen to look at, because someone's uploaded a new cute animal picture on Facebook, and if you don't see it now you'll totally miss it and be totally out of it, and when you have no screen to scroll through, suddenly the world makes no sense, because AHHH scary eye contact = so hard and awkward. Well, BAAFF is all about the screen - just a different one, that you can look at with other people, which in our supposedly increasingly "selfie"-fied world, seems like a good refreshing reminder of our common humanity.
Save the date for the upcoming BAAFF! October 23-26.
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