Visual Arts

Highlights

Noted Portland sculptor  Michihiro Kosuge has a show  of his work at Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) through May 11. (503) 242-1419 or go to pica.org for details.

“LOST” is a show of new work by artist Mark Takamichi Miller. The work comes from a series he has been working on for the last fifteen years. The paintings are fragmented narratives appropriated from found disposable cameras or undeveloped film. Each roll and each image is a trigger, a jumping off point for the artist to take off from on a fresh, visual journey of his own. There is an animated sense of fun in these tactile, almost 3D effect-like multi-media constructions that invite you to enter and visit this mysterious  universe.  Remains on view till March 29. Gallery4Culture at 101 Prefontaine Pl. S.  (206) 296-8674 or go to www.4culture.org.

“Maneki Neko: Japan’s Beckoning Cats – From Talisman to Pop Icon” comes from the massive collection of collector Billie Moffitt. Over 150 of her collected cat figures from all over Japan are on view.  Through August 4. Bellevue Arts Museum. 510 Bellevue Way NE. (425) 519-0770 or go to www.bellevuearts.org.

“Ground” is the title of Akio Takamori’s spare new show on view at James Harris Gallery through March 30.  Though only a few large figurative sculptures are seen, they pack a punch.312 Second Ave. S. in Pioneer Square. Open Tues. – Sat. from 11am – 5pm. (206) 903-6220 or go to jamesharrisgallery.com.

Paul Horiuchi was a master of subtle shadings and soft faded color patiently torn from sheets of Japanese handmade paper. It’s been said that his inspiration was taken from looking at the tattered, torn surface of a message board still extent on a sidewalk in our own Chinatown/ID neighborhood. Wing Luke Museum curator Jessica Rubenacker has taken this foundation as a rallying cry and gathered together a new generation of artists working with paper. What we get to see are the delightful results of today’s artists carrying Horiuchi’s  tradition into new and different directions. “Paper Unbound: Horiuchi And Beyond” is on view through July 14, 2013. Besides Horiuchi’s classic pieces, there are other works on paper by Romson Bustillo, Etsuko Ichikawa, Yuri Kinoshita, Bovey Lee, Taiko Suzuki, Jeong Han Yun and Choon  Hyang Yun. 719 S. King St.  (206) 623-5124 or visit www.wingluke.org.

HiiH Lights is the Portland-based team of Lam Quang and his wife Kestrel Gates. Their new show entitled “Indigo” presents a new series of dramatic lighted sculptures. Opens March 26 with a First Thursday artist reception on April 4 from 5 – 8pm. Artxchange Gallery at 512 First Ave. S. in Seattle. Open Tues. – Sat. from 11am – 5:30pm. (206)839-0377 or go to www.artxchange.org

Portland-based artist Robert Dozono shows his “Clackamas River Series” through March  31 at Francine Seders Gallery.  Dozono grew up in Japan after WW II, a time where everything was reused and nothing was wasted. Coming to America when he was 13, he found a country in which almost everything is disposable and trash spills out of landfills and accumulates in wilderness areas. Appalled by the situation, the artist has sorted his trash for years and frequently uses recycled material as the first layer in paintings.  Dozono helped found Portland’s Blackfish Gallery, an art cooperative and one of the oldest galleries in the city. 6701 Greenwood Ave. N. in Seattle. For details, go to http://www.sedersgallery.com or call (206) 782-0355.

“Moku Hanga Innovations” is a group show of young woodblock  print artists including Eva Pietzcker, Yoonmi Nam and Keiko Hara who push the boundaries of this tradition into the next century. Through March 30. “Hana: Japanese Flower Prints and Drawings” is a show to welcome in spring and will be on view April 4 – 27. Robert Hargrove presents new sumi paintings in his gallery debut. Cullom Gallery. 603 S. Main St. (206) 919-8278 or go to cullomgallery.com.

Dorothy Cheng is in a group show entitled “Catch and Release” that features jewelry that is sharp, hairy or too small or too big to actually wear. Through March 30. Lxwxh Gallery. 6007 – 12th Ave. S. Open by appointment. Go to lengthbywidthbyheight.com for details.

Seattle Asian Art Museum has a new exhibit entitled “Legends, Tales, Poetry: Visual Narrative in Japanese Art” which includes scrolls, screens and photos from the 13th century to modern times. Through July 21. Go to seattleartmuseum.org for details.

Sculptor Kanetaka Ikeda has a show of new work entitled “Tree of Life for All Seasons” a series of mixed media assemblages that consist of branches of wood and cloth with leaves of cotton fabric and blooming flowers of ‘petal faces’. The artist has worked on this series for over 20 years and it is not only a visual manifestation of the tree of life in myths and scriptures, but also represents the whole universe with its consciousness. On view till March 30th. 420 NW 9th Ave. (503) 224-2634 or go to www.blackfish.com.

The work of Paul Horiuchi and George Tsutakawa is included in a group show entitled “Spring Salon : 52nd Annual Exhibition” through April 13 which is a nutshell look at important Northwest art from the last 60 years. Woodside/Braseth Gallery at 2101 Ninth Ave. (206) 622-7243 or go to woodside-brasethgallery.com for details.

“Then is Also Now Lecture Series: D.I.Y. – The Shape of Punk To Come” – Artist/curator/arts administrator Norie Sato participates in a panel discussion about the golden age of alternative spaces, art centers, studio & gallery cooperatives and independent arts publishing during the Seattle of the 1970’s and 80’s with Frye Art Museum Deputy Curator Scott Lawrimore, Anne Focke, writer/editor/arts administrator and artist Ries Niemi.  March 21 at 6:30pm.  $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Frye Art Museum at 704 Terry Ave. (206) 622-9250 or go to http://www.fryemuseum.org.

“One in a Million” is a show about the genocides and humanitarian crises in Sudan, the Democratic  Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Burma. April 4 – 28 at {Storefront} Olson Kundig Architects at 406 Occidental Ave. S. Go to olsonkundigarchitects.com for details.

“Tohoku: Through the Eyes of Japanese Photographers” is a show that takes a look at the remote northern region of Japan known for its harsh climate and tsunami. April 16- May 6. At Seattle Center Pavillion at 350 Harrison St. (206) 684-7200 for details.

Kathy Liao whose work is currently  on view in a group show at ArtXchange Gallery has a solo show of new oil paintings at Blindfold Gallery at 1718 E. Olive Way, Suite A in Seattle coming May 8 – June 7. (206) 328-5100 or go to blindfoldgallery.com for details.

If your travels take you to the Bay Area and you like Chinese ink painting, then don’t miss this – “The Moment for Ink” is a massive group show designed to promote the awareness of the ink painting tradition in America. One of the curators was struck by a remark made by noted Chinese art historian Michael Sullivan that many of the greatest Chinese painters in the latter half of the 20th century lived in the U.S. Thus the genesis for this show that looks at the history of ink painting in this country as it grew and blossomed and changed. It represents one of the first times so many institutions of art have collaborated on presenting one show. On view through March 23 at the Fine Arts Gallery at San Francisco State University  (415-338-6535 or creativestate.sfsu.edu/node/4616) at 1600 Holloway Ave. On view through March 20 at the Silicon Valley Asian Center  (408-248-2698 or www.artshu.com) at 3777 Stevens Creek Blvd. in Santa Clara.  On view through Oct. 27  at Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (415-581-3500 or www.asianart.org) at 200 Larkin St.  On view through June 22 at Chinese Culture Center San Francisco (415-986-1822 or www.c-c-c.org) at 750 Kearny St.

Naiza Khan is one of Pakistan’s most influential contemporary artists. Her work captures the experience of living and working in Karachi, where everyday life is affected by natural disaster, urban migration and political struggle.  Working in painting, sculpture, wall drawings, performance and video, the art is informed by her surroundings. Now ArtAsiaPacific Magazine has published the first major monograph on this artist that examiners over 25 years of her work and accompanies her first US solo exhibition on view now at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University through May 26, 2013. For details, go to artasiapacific.com.

“My Minidoka” is a series of photographs by Johnny Valdez y Uno that reflects his deep emotional connection to the incarceration camp in Idaho, where his grandparents were held during WW II. The artist first learned about the   Japanese American internment experience after  losing his grandfather and relatives in a tragic car accident as they were returning from a Minidoka pilgrimage. The show came about from conversations with family and his own personal pilgrimage to Minidoka. On view through July 17 at the Northwest Nikkei Museum at the Japanese Cultural Community Center at 1414 S. Weller St. in Seattle. Go to www.jccw.org for details. The show will also be exhibited as part of the Minidoka Pilgrimage in Twin Falls, Idaho June 20 – 23.

Seattle artist Saya Moriyasu’s work is featured in the following places. A group entitled “[email protected]” at SeaTac Airport’s Concourse A (ongoing). The group show entitled “Japan’s Beckoning Cats – From Talisman to Pop Icon” at Bellevue Arts Museum opening Feb. 22 and on view till August 4, 2013.

Ceramics by Haruko Nakazato and Betsey Williams as well as sculpture by Nicky Falkenhayn on view. Also“Meet Me at Higo” permanent exhibit- Part Two” presented and sponsored by the Wing  is a multi-media presentation and self-guided tour that tells the origins and history of the store as a Japanese American five and dime. All at Kobo at Higo, 604 South Jackson. E-mail [email protected] or call (206) 381-3000.

The Wing has   the following shows and activities. “Paper Unbound: Horiuchi and Beyond”  – the show celebrates Northwest artist and master of collage, Paul Horiuchi and shows his works along side the work of 7 contemporary paper artists  including Romson Bustillo, Etsuko Ichikawa, Yuri Kinoshita, Bovey Lee, Taiko Suzuki and Jeong Hay Yun/Choon Hyang Yun.  On view through July 14, 2013. “Fashion: Workroom to Runway” is on view till April 21, 2013. It shows how the fashion world has been touched by Asian Pacific Americans.Work and contributions by local and nationally known designers.  An on-going exhibit “I Am Filipino” continues and offers a gateway of history through the telling of personal stories from Filipino American local families.  Also small exhibits examine the identity and culture of Sikhs in America and the history of the “Killing Fields” in Cambodia. “Vietnam in the Rear View Mirror” explores the complex, interwoven identity of Vietnamese Americans as seen through the eyes of a younger generation.   A YouthCAN exhibit entitled “Ghosts in The Field”.  “HomeLessness” continues through August 18, 2013. “New Years ALL YEAR ROUND” remains on view till June 30, 2013. Family Fun Day activity on Sat., from 1 – 3pm will  be “” with . Free in the Community Hall. For information on all of the above, go to www.wingluke.org or call (206) 623-5124.

Maria T. D. Inocencio’s new installation “Fold Here” will be on view in the Nine Gallery room of Blue Sky Gallery at 122 NW 8th Ave. in Portland’s Pearl District. The artist will be collecting clothes, sheets, towels and other domestic  fabrics which will be donated to Innovative Housing Incorporated after the show. Show is up until March 31. To contact the artist about donating items, go to [email protected]. Call (503) 225-0210 for details.

Taiko Suzuki whose work can be seen in “Paper Unbound: Horiuchi and Beyond” currently at the Wing will be teaching a class at Seattle Central Community College entitled “Introduction To Papermaking” in two sessions starting April 6. For details, go to www.learnatcentral.org or call (2060 934-5448.

Performing Arts

Highlights

Seattle is blessed to have two amazing modern jazz guitarists visit town with great bands within the same week –  The Rez Abbasi Trio plays PONCHO Concert Hall at Cornish College of the Arts on Fri., March 29 at 8pm. Born in Pakistan, raised in Southern California and now based in New York, the guitarist has recorded with progressive figures of jazz, Indian and world fusion music.  He is married to noted Indian vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia. The South Asian musical tradition is in his blood but he also grew up with rock and roll, jazz, classical , blues and gospel. Expect anything from this guitarist who has shown unusual imagination in mixing cultures, ancient and modern into a potent hybrid brew that signals to the past yet harks to the future. With a powerful unit consisting of master improvising bassist Mark Dresser and the always swinging Satoshi Takeshi on drums. 710 Roy St. just off Broadway on Capitol Hill.  Buy tickets online at Cornish.edu/musicseries or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 1 (800) 838-3006. Tickets should also be available at the door.

Noted composer/trumpet player /UW music professor Cuong Vu lends his musical skills to yet another visiting jazz guitarist – Joel Harrison’s Spirit House. With another killer band consisting of Brian Blade on drums, Kermit Driscoll on bass and Paul Hanson on electric bassoon. Harrison’s music has global elements and dips into everything from pop to classical, ethnic, blues and points-in-between. Tues., April 2 at 8pm. Seattle Art Museum downtown at 1300 First Ave. Buy tickets at earshot.org of Brown Paper Tickets at 1(800) 838-3006. Tickets should also be available at the door.

What happens to two teenage Filipino siblings abandoned by their father and forced to confront an adult world? Find out in A. Rey Pamatmat’s play entitled “Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them” on stage through April 21 at Seattle Public Theater at Bathhouse Theater at 7312 W. Green Lake Dr. N. (206) 524-1300 or go to seattlepublictheater.org.

“The Magic Teakettle” is a play based on a Japanese folktale about a tea kettle that comes to life. Performed by Thistle Theatre using Bunraku-style puppets. Through March 24 with shows at 1 & 3pm on Sat. & Sun. Magnuson Auditorium, Building 47. 7400 Sand Point Way N.E. in Seattle. (206) 524-3388 or go to www.thistletheatre.org.

Portland Taiko unveil some new work in their concert entitled “Insatiable” set for March 29 – 30 in Portland. For details, call (503) 288-2456 or go to portlandtaiko.dreamhisters.com.

A  show about gender politics that has no words?  Leave it up to Young Jean Lee’s Theatre Company from New York (though Lee herself grew up in Eastern Washington) when they present “Untitled Feminist Show” (see related article in this issue) at On The Boards April 4 – 7. 100 W. Roy. (206) 217-9888 or go to ontheboards.org for details.

The Seattle Chinese Orchestra is the only traditional Chinese orchestra in the Northwest. Hear them with Warren Chang on erhu and Roger Nelson conducting with special guest artists in a program of traditional and contemporary works from China and the US. March 24 .  “Jessica Kenny and Friends” presents a concert of Javanese court music with this Seattle vocalist and Gamelan Pacifica and Eyvind Kang. April 7. Kiran Ahluwalia is an Indo-Canadian singer who performs her own arrangements of ancient Persian and Punjabi Ghazal poetry  on April 21. All at Cornish College of The Arts’ Poncho Concert Hall at 710 E. Roy St. Call (800) 838-3006 or go to Cornish.edu/news/events for details.

Catch the legendary Tokyo String Quartet on a final goodbye tour as they perform impeccable chamber music by Mozart, Auerbach and Ravel for one last time. April 17 at 7:30pm. Part of the UW World Series at Meany Hall on the Seattle UW campus. (206) 543-4880 or go to uwworldseries.org.

Chinese American composer Austin Huang, Seattle Asian Choir and musicians from Canada, China, South Korea and the US participate in a concert entitled “A Colorful Musical Journey” set for April 21 at 7pm. Benaroya Hall at 3rd and Union. Go to (206) 215-4747 or ChineseCulturalFestival.org for details.

San Francisco’s ACT Theater presents the world premiere of the musical, “Stuck Elevator” with music by Seattle composer/musician Byron Au Yong and librettist Aaron Jafferis. Staged by noted playwright/director Chay Yew, the musical tells the true story of a Chinese deliveryman stuck in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours. April 4 – 28. 415 Geary St. in San Francisco. Tickets online at act-sf.org or call 415-749-2228.

Bay Area-based jazz drummer Akira Tana leads his group Otonawa on a series of concerts for tsunami/earthquake relief in Japan from March 26 – 30. The group consists of Asian American musicians as well as Japanese musicians presently living in the U.S. The group consists of Saki Kono on vocals, Masaru Koga on woodwinds, Ken Okada on bass, Art Hirahara on piano and Akira Tana on drums. For complete details, go to www.otonowa-usa.com.

Early warning: Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival comes to Seattle Center April 26 – 28. (206) 684-7200 or go to seattlecenter.com/festal.

“Celebrate World Music!” is a world premiere event that features original music by 8 West Coast composers performed by 11 soloists and instruments from around the world. With Northwest Sinfonia conducted by David Sabee. March 24 at 2pm. Benaroya Hall. (206) 215-4747 or go to www.celebrateworldmusic.com.

Tacoma Little Theatre presents Amy Tan’s “The Joy Luck Club” adapted and directed by David Hsieh of React Theatre.  Until April 7.  7:30pm on Fri. & Sat. and 2pm on Sun. (253) 272-2281 or go to www.tacomalittletheatre.com. 210 N. 1 St. in the Historic Stadium District.

Catch 5,000 years of Chinese music and dance when Shen Yun ensemble performs March 28 – 31 at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. Go to Ticketmaster.com or 888-998-9961. Tickets in-person at KeyArena Box Office at 312 1st Ave. N. as well.

Can Can Cabaret presents their current show entitled “Tune in Tokyo” that tries to catch the energy of today’s Japan pop dance. Through March 30 at 94 Pike St. (206) 652-0832×2 or go to thecancan.com.

“ASIA CROSSINGS – Travel Accounts Through Asia’s History” is the title for the upcoming Saturday University Lecture Series set for Seattle Asia Art Museum on Saturdays from 9:30 – 11am through April 13. Ross Dunn speaks about “Ibn Battuta and the World of the 14th Century” on March 23. Christina Laffin speaks on “Women on the Road: Pilgrims, Puppeteers, and Prostitutes from 11th to 14th Century Japan” on March 30. Catherine Becker speaks on “Pathways to Bliss: Reinventing Buddhist Pilgrimage in Andhra Pradesh” on April 6. The series concludes on April 13 with Ellen Widmer speaking on “Gentility on the Move: Travelogues and Fictions of Foreign Travel by Chinese Women Circa 1900”.Presented in partnership with UW’s Jackson School of International Studies and Elliott Bay Book Company. For more details, go to [email protected].

Sakura-Con is the Northwest’s largest anime. Comics, gaming and Asian culture convention. Takes place March 29 – 31 at Washington State Convention and Trade Center. For details, go to www.sakuracon.org.

Jayanthi Raman Dance Company present a concert of new work entitled “Gurubyo Namaha: Salutation To The Guru” on April 21 in Portland. (503) 690-5906 or go to jayanthiraman.com for details.

Some new releases in the music world include the following –

Jazz guitarist Miles Okazaki grew up in Port Townsend. Based in New York, he was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk competition. His latest offering on Sunnyside is “Figurations” which is his third and final installment of a compositional cycle that is meant to mirror the method by which improvising musicians approach their music from conception to performance. Go to www.sunnysiderecords.com for details.

Japanese jazz piano prodigy Hiromi is out with a new release entitled “MOVE” (Telarc) with Anthony Jackson and the powerhouse rock drummer Simon Phillips. A dramatic energy pervades this release.

Rudresh Mahanthappa, jazz saxophonist who invokes the musical forms and traditions of his Indian heritage not as superficial gimmick but as a vital piece of his wide-open approach to music describes his new release “GAMAK”(ACT) thusly, “it incorporates Western forms of jazz, progressive rock, heavy metal, country, American folk, go-go and ambient, while simultaneously engaging the rich traditions of Indian, Chinese, African and Indonesian music.”

Jazz singer Seung-Lee in “Sketches On The Sky” (Sorien) is not afraid of challenges. She fits Korean lyrics to a lyrical tune by jazz bassist/composer Charlie Haden without missing a step and in the title tune in two parts, takes the purity of her voice and just wordlessly skates out notes that haunt and dart through the open spaces.

Violinist/composer Jason Kao Hwang has been a mainstay of the New York Jazz avant-garde scene for years. His new release “Burning Bridge” (Innova) is a five part work that uses elements of jazz, classical and traditional Chinese music in effective fashion.

Film/Media

Highlights

The latest film from Japan’s famed Ghibli Studios “Up On Poppy Hill” opens March 29 at the Harvard Exit for an extended run. This feature-length animated film has a script by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa and is directed by the Miyazaki’s son, Goro Miyazaki (“Tales From Earthsea”). Based on the Japanese comic of the same name, the movie set in 1960’s Kobe during the time of the Olympics tells the story of the blooming relationship between two teenagers who vow to save their school’s clubhouse from demolition. In other studio news, Hayao Miyazaki is reportedly working on a new project entitled “Kaze Ta Chinu” (The Wind Rises) which tells the story of the man who designed the Zero fighter plane for Japan based on a Japanese comic book in which all the characters are portrayed as pigs much like the director did in his film, “Porco Rosso”. Isao Takahata is reportedly working on a new film project entitled “Kaguya-Hime No Monogatari (Princess Kaguya Story) based on the Japanese folk tale, “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”. Takahata’s classic “Grave of the Fireflies” that tells the heartbreaking tale of a brother and sister struggling to survive in the aftermath of WW II is also scheduled for re-release this year by GKIDS.

No doubt you’ve heard the worries about sustainability and how the world is fishing our oceans into extinction just to supply restaurants around the world. For an update, see the documentary film entitled “Sushi: The Global Catch” March 29 – April 4 at Grand Illusion Cinema. 1403 NE 50th St. (206) 523-3935 or go to grandillusioncinema.org for details.

The Japanese Cultural & Community Center presents a Japanese film series entitled “Matinee Eiga” every Sunday at 2pm. $5 for non-members and $3 for JCCCW members. Yasujiro Ozu’s “Tokyo Story” that may be bland by today’s standards as nothing much happens yet everything happens in the moments of stillness between words. An aging couple visits their grown children in the big city but everyone is too busy to pay them much attention. Only the widow of their late son treats them with kindness as time passes by. Always on the top ten lists of critics. Screens March 24. Before Tarentino, that Japanese “bad boy” of kitch and excess, Takashi Miike took this “spaghetti western” and drenched it in MSG and shoyu. “Sukiyaki Western Django” puts two rival gangs and a lone mysterious gunman and plops them all down in ancient Japan. Screens March 31. April 7 and the screen turns to horror as the angry spirit of a murdered child haunts a young couple in Takashi Shimizu’s “Ju-On: The Grudge”.  April 14 brings us a Hayao Miyazaki feature-length animated classic, “Princess Momonoke” as humans and animal gods of the forest do battle as the earth burns. April 21 is a re-make of a classic samurai film entitled “13 Assassins” with Yakusho Koji doing a masterful job as the leader of a bunch of wandering samurai brought together to battle corruption and greed. This time Takeshi Miike leaves the kitsch at home and plays it serious in a respectful nod to the great sword fighting tradition of Japanese cinema. 1414 S. Weller St. (206) 568-7114 or go to www.jcccw.org.

“Emperor” about the relationship between General Douglas McArthur and the deposed Emperor Hirohito after WWII is a Hollywood production starring Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox. Now showing at the Guild 45th. (206) 547-2127.

“Free First Saturdays” is a children’s program that connects with the arts and culture of Asian on the first Saturday of each month from 11am – 2pm.. Free and open to the public. No registration required. “Cherry Blossoms” on April 6 celebrates the newly arrived spring and the Japanese love of cherry blossom viewing. Explore the Japanese  art collection in the museum and create your own artwork inspired by artworks that celebrate cherry blossom season. Then at 1:30pm, see the animated feature film entitled “The Tales of Beatrix Potter”.  On May 4, “Shadow Puppets” is a program that gets you to design your own shadown puppoets with inspiration from the gods and goddesses in the Asian art collection. Then at 1:30pm see the film,  “The Adventures of Prince Achmed”. Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park at 1400 E. Prospect St.  Go to seattleartmuseum.org for details.

Join local director and cinematographer  Nandan Rao (“Men Of Dodge City”) as he does a show and tell, exploring cinematic images and collaborations all in a talk entitled “A Cinematographer’s Frame of Mind” on Sat., March 23 from 12 – 3pm.  $15 for members and $20 general admission. His latest film, “Men of Dodge City” tells the story of three young men struggling to define themselves as they join together to transform an aging church in Detroit into an arts center. Northwest Film Forum on Capitol Hill. Go to http://www.nwfilmforum.org for details.

Congratulations to Masanobu Takayanagi whose crisp, jabbing cinematography perfectly captures the frenetic rhythm of a working class Philadelphia family in David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro. Now playing at select Seattle theatres.

Master Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (“Taste of Cherry”) returns with a new project filmed abroad. “Like Someone in Love” is a romantic drama set in Japan. The story revolves a brief encounter between an elderly professor (Tadashi Okuno) and a beautiful sociology student (Rin Takanashi) who moonlights as a high-end escort. What’s on his mind is not so much sex as cooking her soup and playing her his Ella Fitzgerald records. Screens at a Landmark Theatre in Seattle for one week starting on March 15. Go to www.ifcfilms.com/films/like-someone-in-love for details.

Some new films bound to surface in Seattle eventually include the following – “The Taste of Money” by noted South Korean director Im Sang-soo (“The President’s Last Bang”, “The Housemaid”) looks at the lap of luxury and an indulgence in sex and power  through  the eyes of a powerhouse family. “Vishwaroopam” is a new film by Indian actor/director Kamal Haasan. Recently the film has faced controversy  in India over how he was distributing the film.  His goal is to break the Bollywood mold and make more mainstream films and to bring the films to everyone in India and the world. The film premieres in Los Angeles on Jan. 24th. For more details, go to http://tribune.com.pk/story/490576/dth-face-off-deepens-kamal-to-premier-vishwaroop-in-la/   Acclaimed South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook (“oldboy”, “Lady Vengeance”, “Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance”) presents his first English-language psychological thriller “Stoker” which tells the story of a young woman who loses both father and best friend in a car accident and how she finds herself drawn to her father’s long-lost brother when arrives for the funeral. Stars Mia Wiasikowska,  Dermont Mulroney, Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman.  On local screens now such as Meridian 16 Sundance Cinemas and Lincoln Square.“Our Homeland” directed by Yong-hi Yang is an unusual film in that it details the experience of life in North Korea as contrasted by life in Japan. The director was born in Japan of a North Korean family and the film is  said to be based on her own experience. Recently played the 36th Annual Portland International Film Festival.  “Seeking Asian Female” is a new film by Debbie Lum that tells the story of a aging white American man obsessed with the idea of marrying an Asian woman. Lum has assisted Bay Area documentary filmmaker Spenser Nakasako on a number of projects but this film marks her feature film debut. The film will air on the Independent Lens Series hosted by Stanley Tucci on PBS in early May. Check your local listings for exact schedule.

“Memory of Forgotten War” conveys the human costs of military conflict through deeply personal accounts of the Korean war by four Korean American survivors. It will screen as part of the Association for Asian Americans Conference on April 20 at 1pm in the Baker Room of Seattle’s Westin hotel. The film is produced by Ramsay Liem and Deann Borshay Liem. For information on the film, go to www.mufilms.org. For details on the conference, go to www.aaastudies.org/content/index.php/conference.

 

The Written Arts

Highlights

“Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest” (UW Press)  edited by Dr. Nalini Iyer and Dr. Amy Bhatt based on the  South Asian Oral  History Project coordinated by South Asian Studies Librarian Deepa Banerjee of  UW Libraries is a major project that finally sheds light on the long history of South Asians living in the Northwest drawing on direct oral history, archival material and popular cultural representations. A photo exhibit entitled “Journeys Ashore: South Asian Immigrants in the Pacific Northwest” in the Allen North Lobby  has images complementing what is in the book. On view through March 31. (206) 685-1433.

“Yokohama Yankee: My Family’s Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan” (ChinMusic Press) by Seattle writer Leslie Helm tells a family history but also touches on the political, cultural, economic and racial interactions between our two countries for over a century. Helm reads and talks about the book at the following places – March 30 at 2:30pm at Magnolia Bookstore at 3206 W. McGraw St. (206) 283-1062, April 3 at 6pm at Seattle Town Hall at 1119 – 8th Ave. (206) 652-4255. April 26 at 7pm at Elliott Bay Book Company at 1521 – 10th Ave. (206) 624-6600.

“MIGHTY SILENCE: IMAGES OF DESTRUCTION”  (Rizzoli New York) is the title of a powerful new book published on the second anniversary of the tsunami in Japan by photographer Yasushi Handa.

“Tohoku” (Hatje Cantz) is a new book by photographer Hans-Christian Schink that looks at the area in Japan hardest hit by the tsunami and compares familiar still shots of the area before the catastrophe and images he has taken a year after the event. The startling contrast is dramatic.

Elliott Bay Book Company sponsors and co-presents fascinating readings by authors in venues across the city and in their own bookstore as well.  Elliott Bay Book Company is at 1521 Tenth Avenue in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. (206) 624-6600 or visit www.elliottbaybook.com. Early warning- Coming to the store in the spring are the following authors and new books. Noted novelist Gish Jen (“Typical American”, “Mona in the Promised Land”, “World and Town”) will have her fist non-fiction book published by Harvard University Press entitled “Tiger Writing: Art, Culture and the Interdependent Self”. Drawing on a rich array of sources, including her father’s account of childhood in China, “Tiger Writing” explores the aesthetic and psychic roots of the independent and interdependent self- each mode yielding a distinct way of observing, remembering and narrating the world. April 19 at 7pm.

Lawrence Fong, Associate Director and Curator of Regional Art at Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon joins Seattle independent curator/writer Vicki Halper as they discuss a book they co-edited entitled “Morris Graves -Selected Letters” (UW Press). This book sheds new light on this late Northwest artist through his written exchanges with friends, colleagues and museum/gallery staff throughout his whole life.  March 24 at 2pm in the WaMu Room on the 4th floor of Seattle Public Central Library downtown. Co-presented by the Northwest Room, the Seattle Public Library, UW Press and Elliott Bay Book Company. Free. 1000 Fourth Ave. (206) 386-4636 or go to www.spl.org.

Kaya Press is a small press that publishes new titles and re-prints of books by contemporary Asian American and Asian authors. For years, they have consistently released a variety of fascinating titles out of New York.  After a brief hiatus, they have re-located to the West Coast . Under the sponsorship of the University of Southern California, they are back with several new titles released in the fall of 2012 and  spring  of 2013.  Last year saw the release of “Lament in the Night” by first generation Japanese American fiction writer Shoson Nagahara published originally in Japanese at the turn of the century for the first generation. In two novellas he captures the raw pulse of immigrants struggling to survive in a strange new land. This year brings the release of “Magnetic Refrain” by Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut  and “Water Chasing Water” by Seattle poet Koon Woon.  Schildkraut, a Korean adoptee digs deep in the space between two cultures with unflinching honesty, giving voice to so many souls lost to history. Woon’s work has a mathematical clarity to see behind the faces of the homeless , the mentally ill and disenfranchised immigrants living on the margins of life and rescue for us their stories shaped by hardship and a real American blues borne by experience. Both of the latter two writers will be reading at the upcoming Association for Asian American Studies Conference scheduled for Seattle in April. For details on these titles and more, go to www.kaya.com.

“Southern Cross The Dog” (Amistad) is the debut novel by Bill Cheng who blends his love of the blues with a young black character  set adrift in the deep South of the 1920’s. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the blues, particularly country/delta blues, and I thought my first full-length work should be a tribute to that kind of music, those stories, those people. I wanted to capture the sense of a country and people that was unsure of itself, that was tenuous about the future. I think that has some resonance with how I think America is today.”

Edgar Award-winning author Naomi Hirahara returns with her by now familiar Gardena gardener/detective Mas Arai in “Strawberry Yellow” (Prospect Park Books), the fifth and latest volume in the series. This mystery  brings Mas back to the agricultural roots of his younger days as he sets out to solve the death of a good friend in the strawberry fields of Watsonville.

“The Treasures of Bruce Lee – The Official Story of the Legendary Martial Artist” (Applause) by Paul Bowman with a Foreword by Shannon Lee serves as the catalog of sorts for a Bruce Lee Museum set to be built in Seattle’s Chinatown/ID neighborhood. The book is chock full of photos, ephemera and memorabilia designed in the style of a fancy scrapbook with replicas of token souvenirs resembling similar books done for music icons like B. B. King and Jimi Hendrix.

“Abductions” (Writ Large Press) is the latest book of poems by L.A.-based poet Chiwan Choi. His first book, “The Flood” was the impressive debut of a new poetic voice. This new volume is full of longer experimental prose poems. Choi expects to return to Seattle to read from this new book the end of April.

“The Nanjing Massacre: Poems” (Bamboo Ridge) by noted Hawai’i-based poet Wing Tek Lum has been a long work-in-progress that captures the notorious Japanese occupation of Nanjing, China in 1937 from different perspectives and gives a time in history very human faces and personal voices.

News/Opportunities

Suyama Space is one of the few alternative spaces in Seattle where you can see  interesting site-specific art installations by  talented local, national  and internationally known artists wonderfully curated by Beth Sellars. To keep the space going and the art flowing, come to the “Suyama Space 2013 Benefit Garage Sale” March 22 – 24 .  All sales cash only.  Featuring furniture, vintage goods, household items, textiles, art items, antiques and much, much more. 9 – 5pm on Friday and 10am – 4pm on Sat. & Sun. 2324 Second Ave. (206) 256-0809 or go to www.suyamaspace.org.

Seattle Art Museum has appointed Dr. Xiaojin Wu as its’ new Associate Curator of Japanese and Korean Art. Wu grew up in Hangzhou, China and is a specialist in Japanese painting with a Ph.D from Princeton University. Her first SAM installation  on view now is a reinstalling of the Japanese art galleries at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park.

Seattle Kokon Taiko is holding an open audition for new apprentice members. Previous taiko experience is a plus but not a necessity. Group audition session takes place April 15. Go to www.seattlekokontaiko.org and then click on “classes/auditions” for complete details.

Blackfish Gallery is one of the oldest galleries in Portland and is an artists cooperative. It is now seeking new members. Artists accepted must sit at the gallery on a monthly basis, attend meetings and pay dues. Deadline is April 15, 2013 to apply. If interested, go to http://bit.ly/Xd4dyp for details.

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