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Wednesday’s Role Models, Part 2: DANakaDAN of afterschoolspecial

Have you ever seen “Wednesday’s Child,” which airs in Atlanta, Los Angeles, DC Metro, New York, and Philly?  I’m not quite sure why, but when I lived in DC I was always a bit weirded out by the weekly “showcase” of children in the foster care system waiting for adoption.  Perhaps I was bothered because the format resembles something done by the Humane Society?

Moving on.  To end Labor Day week here at Land of Gazillion Adoptees, I give you a three-part, very original concept – Wednesday’s Role Models.  For Part 2, we feature DANakaDAN of afterschoolspecial.  He seriously rocks, and I send out a big thanks to Slanty of for giving me the heads-up about DANakaDAN.

Enjoy, and we here at LGA wish you a fantastic Labor Day Weekend.

Land of Gazillion Adoptees: So, I Googled you and you’re an Asian hipster! Could you talk about afterschoolspecial and your work with the San Diego Film Festival?

DANakaDAN: Asian Hipster?! Ha, ha! No, not really at all. I’m not very hip. But I do keep “hip” to what’s going on in the scene. afterschoolspecial is the band that I’ve been apart of for the past four years. It’s been the best decision of my life to pursue my passions and create through the group. We’re a rock/pop/rap fusion band with lots of high energy during live performances. The band has given me a creative outlet for what I like to deem “music.”  It’s taken me to some really amazing place — traveling, speaking engagements, and collaborating with some people whom I consider real leaders within the industry.

I do work for the SD Asian Film Festival, too! It’s lovely really. We’re one of the largest showcases of Pan Asian cinema in North America. I’m lucky enough to call myself the marketing and public relations director for the organization. The festival is coming up pretty soon as well — October 20-28, 2011! We’ll show over 160 films — documentaries, dramas, horror, comedy, animation… It’s incredible. Through the organization I’ve been able to discover some REALLY amazing films and, most importantly, stories that touch on my Asian American experience. Also, lots of adoption films…LOTS of adoption films. You wouldn’t believe how many unique stories of adoption are out there.

Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Perhaps we’ll have to talk about some of those adoption films someday in the future?  Moving on, you embarked on your first national tour recently. What was the best part of the tour?

DANakaDAN: It was quite literally the best few weeks of my life. Not really a National Tour, just different performance dates that happened to land us in cities around the nation. Ok, it was technically a National Tour. Hit up Yale to Philly to New York to Boston on the first leg. The second leg involved Seattle, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and Colorado. Quite the amazing experience.

My favorite part of touring is probably being able to connect with so many people around the country, people whom I would never have met if I wasn’t doing music. Everyone’s so inspiring. Oh, and the food, especially New York food! Every city has their own cuisine, and so it’s really fun to sample what they have.

Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Sweet. I just watched your video for “Not One For Words,” which is interesting coming from a guy who is a lyricist. Could you talk about the song and video a bit?

DANakaDAN: Yeah, about that… I think it’s an interesting concept too, right? Someone that’s supposedly an emcee, who should have tons of confidence and lots of vocabulary not being able to convey the same attitude in real life? I think artists (really in any field) have a “second persona” — who they are on stage, screen, etc., and then who they are in real life. The personas differ greatly sometimes, not that my personality doesn’t come out on stage or that I’m trying to be someone I’m not. The song is about using alcohol as a crutch — liquid courage if you will.

I’m really happy with my lyrics in the song and my delivery on the track — not in a braggy way — just that the song is very near and dear to my heart.

Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Thanks, DANakaDAN!  And to you, dear reader, I would encourage you to check out more stuff from afterschoolspecial at, like the band on Facebook (, and subscribe to the band’s Youtube page ( You can also follow DANakaDAN via Twitter (@DANakaDAN). With that, I leave you with another video from afterschoolspecial for their ditty “Name,” which was done by Wong Fu Productions.

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  1. “It’s interesting because I’ve never felt the things about CHSFS that you’ve written about, such as feeling used or taken advantage of.”: My Conversation With Colombian Adoptee Jennie Anderson | Land of Gazillion Adoptees

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