Ten Hymns From My American Gothic

Synopsis: A Manhattan attorney, the son of Korean immigrants hailing from the Midwest, chronicles his experience as an American in the months surrounding the ill-fated 2016 Presidential Election. Presented as a visual album of ten short musical documentaries, the visual album covers themes ranging from immigration and gun control, to protest and prayer. The soundtrack was written and performed by the attorney as a gift to his father in honor of his 70th birthday, with Salon calling the record one of the most underrated records of 2016, and PopMatters hailing it as “nothing short of a 21st century pop masterpiece.”

1.  Fuel America (“An Introduction to the Disappearing Music Scenes of New York City”) [The protagonist takes a tour of music venues in New York City that were closed as a result of surging rent prices.]

2.  Thurgood Marshall (“Introduction to Brass Ring Mythology”) [The protagonist chronicles his time in law school at NYU, commenting on the state of the American legal education system, and an interaction with the singular Professor Richard Epstein.]

3.  The Public School System (“My Friend Dan”) [The protagonist reflects on interactions with his friend Dan, who works in the non-profit sector providing legal representation for children, and their divergent career paths after law school.]

4.  Nixon (“God in the Time of Cholera”) [The protagonist visits the Women’s Rights March after the inauguration of President Trump, at the location of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (featured on the front cover of the record), and reflects on a recent discussion with his father about prayer, as an interesting event unfolds in front of him at St. Patrick’s.]

5.  Conspiracy Theories (“Introduction to Modern American Realism”) [The protagonist, looking to make sense of the gun-control debate after Orlando, goes to a shooting range with his friend – a former romantic entanglement who now identifies as a woman named Mimi.  Mimi, who has become a gun enthusiast after Trump won the Republican primary, teaches him how to shoot a gun, and they discuss the recent news in Orlando and Baton Rouge (which had just occurred that morning).]

6.  You Don’t Call Me Anymore (“Stories I Should Tell My Mother”) [The protagonist attempts to busk in Washington Square Park only to be interrupted by a local performance artist celebrity, Matthew Silver, resulting in some moments of levity.]

7.  Korea (“A Short Essay on the Challenges of the Unhyphenated-American”) [The protagonist takes the viewer on a tour of Korea Town in New York City, providing an alternative analysis of racial identity in America and a corresponding proposal for addressing American identity crisis.]

8.  People From Other Cultures (“Introduction to International Relations”) [The viewer is introduced to the protagonist’s mother, who cooks bin dae duk and seaweed soup, against a backdrop of historical scenes from the Korean War.]

9.  What I Think About When You Say South Korea (“New Orleans Instrumental #5”) [The protagonist recounts his journey back to New Orleans after his last visit, fifteen years earlier.  Unable to find a location that he remembers from his youth, prior to hurricane Katrina, he is consoled by a visit with Elon to their next destination at Commander’s Palace Restaurant.]

10.  When I Return (“The Celestine Prophecy”) [The protagonist takes the viewer on a walking tour from the picture on the back cover of the record (Trump Tower) to the front cover (St. Patrick’s Cathedral) – photos taken several months before the election.  The tour crosses paths with that taken by a flag-waving protester, a month earlier, who has come to midtown Manhattan to protest the recent election of Donald Trump.]