hotpot! awarded mini-grant from DVLF- come celebrate!

hotpot! has been awarded a mini-grant from the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund.

Please join us in the check presentation ceremony on Tuesday, April 24th from 5:30-7:30pm at Woody’s (second floor).

Woody’s will have drink specials and snacks.

Please RSVP to


Come See Deen’s Show!

Use hotpot!’s promotional code HTP20OFF for 20% off tickets

Deen’s show got coverage in the Inquirer, check it.

Queer Shame: A conversation about identity with Deen, the playwright/performer of Draw the Circle

When: Monday, April 2, 7pm

Where: William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce St., Phila, PA

Price: Free and Open to the Public

RSVP: William Way Community Center, 215-732-2220,

Bring your open heart and a willingness to participate in this unique conversation about the liminal spaces we live in, and live from. The evening will begin with an exploration of our own personal histories and struggles to deal with being told that we must be less than we are. We’ll hear from Deen about the ways in which he was exiled from his Indian family and friends when he came out as queer, and then was challenged in the LGBT community after he came out as transgender. He will speak about his experience in the Radical Faerie community and we’ll conclude the night by sharing the ways we have been limited by other people’s expectations, and we will strive to break those boxes, to feel our loveliness, our beauty, our strength together in community.  Deen is the playwright/performer of Draw the Circle, directed by Chay Yew, which will have its world premiere at InterAct Theatre from April 4-8 (William Way outing: Sunday, April 8, 2pm).  A first-generation South Asian American playwright and performer, Deen is a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and his first full-length play, Shut-Up!, won the Dennis Johnston Playwriting Prize and the James Baldwin Award.

Draw the Circle – April 5th @ 8:00pm

hotpot! is excited to partner with the InterAct Theatre Company to support the world premiere of Draw The Circle, a one-person show by Deen! Deen is a Brooklyn-based, first generation South Asian writer, actor and activist.

Please join hotpot! on Thursday April 5th at 8:00pm to see the play “Draw the Circle.” We’re  planning to facilitate an informal post-show conversation that night–we look forward to more story telling. (The show runs April 4th-8th, so if the 5th doesn’t work please check it out another evening and use our discount code!)

Location: InterAct Theatre Company • 2030 Sansom Street • Philadelphia, PA 19103 Box Office: 215-568-8079
Tickets are regularly $25.00, but you get a 20% with this promotional code – HTP20Off.

synopsis from InterAct Theatre Company

“As Deen struggles to come to terms with being a transgender man, those who love him find themselves struggling as well. Told entirely from the point of view of Deen’s family, friends, and partner, yet performed by Deen himself, DRAW THE CIRCLE is a unique, humorous, and moving show that explores one family’s expectations of what it means to have a daughter – turned son.”

Written & performed by Deen

Directed by Chay Yew

Also, check out the other InterAct Theatre Company shows at The Outside the Frame Festival: Voices From the Other America (March 27-April 22, 2012).

annual hotpot! hot pot

On Saturday, Feb. 25th hotpot! had our annual hot pot at a member’s home in Delaware.15 people attended and we had 2 new people join us! Three hot pots were set up, two with meat and one vegetarian.  Members brought a wonderful assortment of food- bok choy, fish balls, homemade vegetable broth, tofu, and watercress to name a few. Yum!

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My Indonesian Identity

So…what is Asian American?

This question popped out in my head after we finished watching ‘A Song for Ourselves’, a movie about music and the beginning of Asian American Movement in the US.

To me, being Asian American is confusing because I can be inside the Asian bracket but I never consider myself an American. I was born in Indonesia with parents who were Indonesian of Chinese descent. I might be mixed of native Indonesian and Chinese based on what my parents told me of my grandmother on my father’s side whose skin is dark but has Chinese eyes. It really depends on who you’re asking because if I was asking my father’s siblings, they will deny vehemently that my grandmother has a native Indonesian blood.

To begin to understand why they would reject the native Indonesian identity, one must trace the history of Chinese people migration to Indonesia. From what I learned, there were four waves of migration, the first one happened in the 1200, with the latest migration on the 1900 and that’s pretty recent to me as I was told that my grandfather on my father’s side migrated to Indonesia in late 1800. So putting this into account, who can really tell if their blood is mixed or ‘pure’ Chinese based on skin color or appearances only?

Chinese people or Chinese Indonesian as they like to call us weren’t treated well in Indonesia. My mother and father were born in 1955. They have Chinese names and they were treated as Chinese born in Indonesia. My parents were less than 10 years old when they were forced to change their Chinese names to Indonesian names as part of the assimilation process.

Chinese Indonesians were very restricted, we weren’t allowed to have our culture flourish in Indonesia. Chinese names, language, books, traditions and schools were banned. No wonder my older relatives rejected an Indonesian identity.

Now, I live in the United States.  I’m asked everyday: “what’s your ethnicity, your culture, where were you born, why are you speaking with an accent?” On one side, some people are trying to differentiate me,  if I answer honestly then I say that I’m from Indonesia and I’m Indonesian. On the other side, some people don’t even bother asking and will put me in the Asian American bracket.

Well…I’m not American. This is not a matter of being loyal to any country or even trying to take my rightful place in society and be recognized as part of an ethnic group who help build America. To me this is a simple matter of Identity. It’s very personal and I won’t ever identify as Asian American as I accept being Asian but my ethnicity will forever be Indonesian.

Creating Change

Baltimore was packed with Queers and Creating Change heated up the already seasonably warm weather. This was my second time attending Creating Change and despite being down with a cold, I had a super time. Highlights included attending the AAPI day long institute with over 40 other queer and trans API folks, including other hotpot! members. We started with an exercise that used a timeline to facilitation learning about our own shared histories of immigration and political action. In the afternoon we had a visioning session about our lives and places in the Queer Asian and Pacific Islander movement. I can’t wait to see the video testimonials that the API Equality in California is putting together. In addition, I expanded my organizing skills with a workshop on how to ask for help and how to engage in a one on one conversation. I am glad to bring back these skills and memories to Philly! With my National Queer Asian Pacific Islander hat on, I helped facilitate the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus on Friday night. I was relieved that the room was packed with the new and familiar faces, as always I learned so much from everyone’s active participation.

For folks who were not able to attend Creating Change, I hope you’ll consider joining me at the NQAPIA conference in July. It is going to be three days filled with 300 plus QTAPI activists. You can count on fun, informative workshops, caucus space, arts and entertainment and a splendid community catalyst awards program. It is a Friday through Sunday outside of DC. Let hotpot! sc members know if you want to attend!


*pictures to follow!