Sandra Tsing Loh

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Sandra Tsing Loh
Sandra Tsing Loh, 2013 (cropped).jpg
Born (1962-02-11) February 11, 1962 (age 59)
OccupationActress, author, radio personality, professor

Sandra Tsing Loh (Chinese: 陸賽靜; pinyin: Lù Sàijìng, born February 11, 1962) is an American writer, actress, radio personality, and former professor of art at the University of California, Irvine.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Loh is the younger daughter of a Chinese father[3] and a German mother. She was raised in Malibu, Southern California, and after attending Malibu Park Junior High School was bused South to Santa Monica High School, where she was active in the computer-and-engineering-related "Olive Starlight Orchestra" and founded the performance-arts group and civic volunteer organization "Young Bureaucrats, Of Course (YBOC)".[4] She also played violin in the Samohi school orchestra.

Loh graduated from Caltech with a BS in Physics; she returned in 2005 to deliver its commencement speech. She is also a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California. Her early career as a performance artist included a piano concert on a freeway overpass in Downtown Los Angeles, and one in which she distributed hundreds of one-dollar-bills. She went on to perform a number of well-received autobiographical one-woman shows, in which she developed a particular form of observational humor.

A writer for the publication Asian American Playwrights called Loh "a multifaceted artist'".[1] Her piano recordings of her original compositions that were made during the late 1980s were labeled "a cross between Art Tatum and Francis Poulenc".[5] A writer for The New York Times called Loh "perpetual darling of the ever-beleaguered Los Angeles intelligentsia and constant candidate for that publishers' holy grail, the female David Sedaris".[6] Loh gained some national notoriety when KCRW canceled her weekly radio commentary, The Loh Life, after an engineer neglected to bleep her on-air utterance of the word "fuck" during a segment on knitting that aired on 22 February 2004.[7][8] The Loh Life was soon after picked up by the other Los Angeles NPR affiliate, KPCC. She is also the host of The Loh Down on Science, a daily science oriented radio show, and was a regular commentator on NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's This American Life, American Public Media's Marketplace,[9] and other public radio programs. She has some versatility as a radio personality in that many of her programs, some of which air at the same time, are aimed at a different radio audience. As an example, Loh would use humor to publicize a recent but serious scientific discovery on The Loh Down on Science series while she would make a humorous comment on a current business topic on her segment on Marketplace.

Loh is the author of several books, including the semi-autobiographical A Year in Van Nuys. She has also written reviews of books about parenting, feminism, and several other topics for The Atlantic, where she is a regular contributor. Loh appeared in yet another one-woman show, "Mother on Fire," at the 24th Street Theatre in Los Angeles between October 2005 and March 2006.[10] She made a brief cameo appearance in the 2006 film Unaccompanied Minors.[11] She is featured in the book Part Asian, 100% Hapa by artist Kip Fulbeck.[12]

In reviewing Loh's 2008 book Mother on Fire for the New York Times Sunday Book Review, Pamela Paul wrote that she "was in awe of [Loh's] quippy brilliance" and that Loh's writing ability "is no less than a feat of genius". [13]

Loh wrote about her divorce in a 2009 article for The Atlantic, where she has been a contributing writer for several years, focusing mostly on parenting and family issues. She explained at the time that, as a parent and full-time writer, "I did not have the strength to 'work on' falling in love again in our marriage."[14] She also admitted to cheating on her husband.[15]

Loh's essay, "The Bitch Is Back," which first appeared in The Atlantic, was selected a Best American Essay for the 2012 edition of the Best American Essays series.[16]

In 2014, Loh published The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones, and was profiled in The New York Times.[6] Loh adapted The Madwoman in the Volvo into a play for South Coast Repertory Theater.[17]

She was the invited commencement speaker at Caltech in 2005,[18] at UC Irvine in 2014.[19] and the University of Michigan–Flint in 2015.[20]

Selected works[edit]


  • Loh, Sandra Tsing (2020). The Madwoman and the Roomba. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-24920-0
  • Loh, Sandra Tsing (2014). The Madwoman in the Volvo. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-08868-7.
  • Loh, Sandra Tsing (2008). Mother on Fire. Crown. ISBN 978-0-609-60813-5.
  • Loh, Sandra Tsing (2001). A Year in Van Nuys. Crown. ISBN 0-609-60812-6.
  • Loh, Sandra Tsing (1997). If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now. Riverhead Hardcover. ISBN 1-57322-068-X.
  • Loh, Sandra Tsing (1997). Aliens in America. Riverhead Books. ISBN 1-57322-627-0.
  • Loh, Sandra Tsing (1996). Depth Takes a Holiday: Essays From Lesser Los Angeles. Riverhead Hardcover. ISBN 1-57322-031-0.



Book reviews[edit]

Year Review article Work(s) reviewed
2009 "On being a bad mother : true confessions". The Atlantic. 304 (5): 86–101. December 2009.
  • Waldman, Ayelet. Bad mother.
  • Greer, Germaine. The female eunuch.



Other audiovisual work[edit]

Radio programs
Public speeches


  1. ^ a b Itagaki, Lynn M. (2002). Liu, Miles Xian (ed.). Asian American Playwrights: A Bio-bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 212–217. ISBN 9780313314551 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Former Faculty, Department of Art, Claire Trevor School of the Arts". Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  3. ^ Loh, Sandra Tsing (2005). "Sandra Tsing Loh's Commencement Speech to the Caltech Class of 2005". California Institute of Technology. Archived from the original on June 4, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  4. ^ "Sandra Tsing-Loh". Marketplace. Archived from the original on July 18, 2008. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  5. ^ "About". K2B2 Records.
  6. ^ a b Jacobs, Alexandra (May 18, 2014). "For Sandra Tsing Loh, Change Is Good". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  7. ^ Seipp, Catherine (March 4, 2004). "WHAT THE F...K?!". Los Angeles CityBeat. Archived from the original on June 4, 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  8. ^ Inoue, Todd (November 24, 2004). "Sandra Tsing Loh: Nuts To You". Metro. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  9. ^ Weingarten, Marc (June 23, 2000). "'Marketplace' Covers Wall Street at a Distance: David Brancaccio presides over a financial news show that aims to be hard-hitting and whimsical". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ Martinez, Al (August 22, 2005). "A heart worn upon her sleeve". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  11. ^ "Full cast and crew for Unaccompanied Minors (2006)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 24, 2007.
  12. ^ Yang, Jeff (March 30, 2006). "ASIAN POP / The Pursuit of Hapa-ness". San Francisco Chronicle.
  13. ^ Paul, Pamela (August 22, 2008). "Sunday Book Review: The Art of Momoir". The New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  14. ^ Loh, Sandra Tsing (June 22, 2009). "On marriage: Let's call the whole thing off". MSNBC. Archived from the original on July 1, 2009. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  15. ^ Rainey, James (June 17, 2009). "Sandra Tsing Loh reveals affair and anti-marriage stance". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  16. ^ Atwan, Robert & Brooks, David (2012). The Best American Essays 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 218–. ISBN 978-0-547-84054-3.
  17. ^ "The Madwoman in the Volvo". South Coast Repertory. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  18. ^ "Father Knows Best, Except at Caltech: What's so wrong about graduates trying out for 'American Idol'?". Los Angeles Times. June 20, 2005.
  19. ^ "UCI's 47th annual commencement includes campus firsts". UC Irvine. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012.
  20. ^ "Speakers Selected for UM-Flint's 2015 Spring Commencement Ceremonies" (Press release). University of Michigan–Flint. April 16, 2015.

External links[edit]