Episode 9

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Published on:

14th Jul 2021

Blood on Gold Mountain

By some lights, this episode is what Blood on Gold Mountain is all about. The Massacre. 

This episode has been very difficult in every way. How do you make something good or beautiful out of a mass murder? How do you take the experience of being a perpetual foreigner, persecuted and exploited, mocked and belittled, and turn it into something redemptive? 

This episode has taught me the answer: You don’t. You just do what you have to do.

This episode is about love, and loss. It’s about the people who have everything torn away by the casual cruelty of others, the people who step outside their own front door and find themselves at the end of a noose. Certainly, it’s about the victims of the 1871 massacre, but the fate of these characters is not unique. It’s about everyone who has suffered in the same or similar situations, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Who knows which of us will join that company? This episode is an ode to those who do, and to those they leave behind. It is an act of grieving, and of validation, through which we acknowledge that though their fate is hideous, these people are fundamentally no different from you or I.

It is also an act of sacrifice. I have chosen to put a significant amount of life energy, which we can call Qi, and spirit, which we can call Shen into this story. It has also cost me in fundamental essence, Jing, which I would have preferred to keep, and which cannot be recovered once lost. We must give of ourselves to those who came before us, because we are one with them. They and We belong to each other.

Our bond goes far beyond the scope of mere genetic kinship. We and They are different cells in the same creature, different nodes in a vast, four-or-more-dimensional network of interconnected consciousness. Our ways, which we take for granted, they established and invented. Our hopes and dreams would not be possible without their hopes and dreams, which were sometimes fulfilled, and sometimes perished with them in dust and despair. When Isaac Newton said he stood on the shoulders of giants, he was referring to a concrete (if technically metaphysical) reality, which is the underpinning principle of what the Gwailo call Ancestor Worship.

I love these characters. They are strangely real in their fictionalized incarnation, and I hope that those of you who have stuck with this story to the end feel the same way. They are historical figures, resurrected from the traces they left behind, but they are also people I know and love; spirits that used me as a stepping stone on their way to their new homes in this story. Some of them used some of you as stepping stones before they reached me.

The story is told, and will be told again and again. The energy, which has been pressurized under the weight of broadly enforced oblivion for 150 years has been released, at least in part. This is how we balance the scales that abide in our justice-loving hearts despite the injustice of reality. This is how we reckon the cost of human evil. By giving of ourselves, whatever it takes. With love.

Thank you all for being a part of this process. I hope it has done something for you, whatever that something may be. We have all given a long-awaited gift to these spirits, and they will not forget us. In our time of need, in our darkest hour, they will be there to help us, to hold us, and to guide us either back to safety, or onward to the other side.

They will be there for you. I have been with them, spoken to them, given to them what I had to give. You have given them your attention, your sympathy, and, hopefully, your love. They are with you now, waiting in the darkness, and they will be there for you when you call.

I promise.

Micah Huang

If you have questions, thoughts, your own family stories, or historical context to share, please send us a message at @bloodongoldmountain on Facebook or Instagram

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Blood on Gold Mountain is brought to you by The Holmes Performing Arts Fund of The Claremont Colleges, The Pacific Basin Institute of Pomona College, The Office of Public Events and Community Programs at Scripps College, The Scripps College Music DepartmentThe Entrepreneurial Musicianship Department at The New England Conservatory, and our Patreon patrons

It is written and produced by Micah Huang, narrated by Hao Huang, and hosted by Emma Gies, featuring original music by Micah Huang and The Flower Pistils. A special thanks to Hao Huang and Rachel Huang for their musical contributions,  Kusuma Tri Saputro for the amazing artwork,  Sheila Kolesaire for her critical PR guidance, Rachel Huang for her editing prowess, and Evo Terra from Simpler Media Productions for his immense expertise and support. 

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Show artwork for Blood on Gold Mountain: A Story from the 1871 LA Chinatown Massacre

About the Podcast

Blood on Gold Mountain: A Story from the 1871 LA Chinatown Massacre
Love and honor collide with racism in a bloody showdown on the streets of Wild-West era Los Angeles
1871 Los Angeles was a dangerous place, especially for the refugees, migrants and troublemakers who lived on Calle De Los Negros, at the heart of Chinatown.

Yut Ho, a beautiful young refugee, came to LA and fell in love, only to be drawn into a showdown between two of Chinatown's most notorious gangsters. Before long, the entire city was caught up in a life or death struggle where old-world values of kinship, honor and loyalty clashed with new-world issues of race, sex, and identity. The ensuing conflict would threaten the lives of Yut Ho and all the denizens of Chinatown– and would change the face of Los Angeles forever.

This true but largely forgotten event from California's past is brought to you by the Holmes Performing Arts Fund of the Claremont Colleges, the Music Department of Scripps College, the Pacific Basin Institute of Pomona College, the Entrepreneurial Musicianship Department at The New England Conservatory, and the Public Events Office at Scripps College.

It is hosted by Hao Huang, Micah Huang, and Emma Gies, featuring original music by Micah Huang and The Flower Pistils. A special thanks to Evo Terra from Simpler Media Productions for his expertise and support.
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About your hosts

Hao Huang

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Hao Huang is a pianist who served as a four-time United States Information Agency Artistic Ambassador. He has been warmly acclaimed in over two dozen countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America, and has been awarded grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, the New York and Colorado Councils of the Arts and the California Meet the Composer Series. His work has been recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Washington Post and National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition”.
* Frankly, this project has been a bit of return to my past: I grew up in a racist town in New Jersey. I know firsthand the hurts pervasive racist violence causes. Although I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had as a concert pianist, the feeling of being disconnected and solitary as so many people feel during COVID quarantine has never left me. It's my hope that this (hi)story can help us begin to heal together.

Micah Huang

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Micah Huang is the script writer, audio content producer and musical director for Blood on Gold Mountain. He was educated at Tufts University and Pitzer College, where he studied Music, the performing arts and literature. Micah's production style is built around analog and acoustic instruments, tracked live in a hybrid studio. He is influenced by musical styles from across the globe, and was a Fulbright fellow in Musicology in 2013-14, during which time he studied Romungro Cigányzene (Roma/gypsy music) in Budapest, Hungary. He plays multiple instruments and sings in the Flower Pistils. Blood on Gold Mountain is his debut project as a writer of historical fiction.

Emma Gies

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You'll hear the voice of Emma Gies on the intros and outros of Blood on Gold Mountain and her violin playing in the soundtrack. Emma has a Masters in Music degree from The New England Conservatory in Contemporary Improvisation and a BA from Pitzer College in Interdisciplinary Musical Performance and Understanding. She performed in the commemoration of this massacre in 2019 at the Chinese American Museum in LA. “This has been a dream project to work on, bringing to life an insane story of love and violence that completely changed my understanding of American history. In the midst of hate-based violent attacks on Asian-Americans this past year, now is the time to hear this story, let it sink in, and let it affect you. If you're as moved by hearing this story as I am, please share it with your friends and family.”