“Rhythm + Color – New works in Ceramic” is a show by Japanese sculptor Kensuke Yamada now on view through August 31st. His child-like figures are alive with whimsical color and pattern. Patricia Rovzar Gallery at 1225 Second Ave. in Seattle. (206) 223-0273.
The figurative ceramic sculpture of Patti Warashina is featured in “Bodies/Beings”, an invitational exhibition focusing on figurative sculpture now on view at Abmeyer + Wood Fine Art through August 21st. 1210 2nd Ave. in Seattle. (206) 628-9501 or go to www.abmeyerwood.com.
Jack Straw resident artist Shin Yu Pai will offer a tour of her work-in-progress entitled “HEIRLOOM”, a poetry installation in the trees of Piper’s Orchard. It’s part of the outdoor art exhibition “Propagation: Heaven & Earth VII” Sections of a long poem written about the history and ecology of Piper’s Orchard are being “printed” on different heritage apple varieties ripening in the orchard, using vinyl stencils and the light of the sun. The project will be fully realized in late August or early September when all of the apples have ripened. The artist gives a guided tour speaking on the history of the land and the inspiration for her project ending with a short reading from the poem. Meet at the Environmental Learning Center at Carkeek Park and wear shoes for walking. August 29th from 2 – 4pm.
Japanese prints are part of a group show around the theme of “Defining Women” on view through August. Upcoming shows include “Gods and Monsters”, new work by Mio Asahi in September and new work by Eunice Kim in October. Asahi creates a folkloric world all her own with images of powerful women who call the wind and tame dragons. Also through Sept. is a show of etching and aquatint prints by Azumi Takeda. Her work captures the absurdity and darkness of city living in which we are surrounded by many but connected to none. A subtle humor and playfulness balances her bleak urban vison. Traditional Japanese prints have a world of their own that can seems at times a bit neat and fussy as if looking at a well manicured garden locked in a greenhouse. Gallery founder/curator Beth Cullom broke a glass pane in the roof of that greenhouse and let the sunshine in when she started showing contemporary print work by artists influenced by the Japanese tradition but not chained to it. She got her training working for Carolyn Staley, the Northwest specialist in ukiyo-e and modern Japanese woodblock prints but when she opened her own gallery, she took a more modern and refreshing approach. Since April of 2015, after receiving a cancer diagnosis, Cullom has elected to begin the process of closing her gallery in order to spend time with family and devote time to getting well. We wish her a speedy recovery. Davidson Galleries is loaning their space for her final show with studio e for an exhibit of works by Juliet Shen in Oct. Meanwhile, the gallery is hosting a special event, a 44th Anniversary auction & Beth Cullom Benefit set for Thurs., Sept. 17th from 5 – 9pm. If you appreciate what Beth Cullom has brought to the area with her gallery then please come out and support her recovery. For full info. on this event, go to davidsongalleries.com/auction. Davidson Galleries. 313 Occidental Ave. S. (206) 624-7684.
“Voices of Sumi Art” is a group show of local artists who work with Japanese sumi ink on rice paper. Artists include Fumiko Kimura, Voski Chakirian-Sprague, Selinda Sheridan and David Berger. On view through August 15th and again from Sept. 1st – 12th. Handforth Gallery on the second level of Tacoma Public Library at 1102 Tacoma Ave. S. Library hours are Tues. & Wed. from 11am – 8pm and Thurs. – Sat. from 9am – 6pm. (253) 292-2001.
The work of Keiko Hara is included in the group show entitled “From The Artist’s eye” on view now through Sept. 23rd. Curated by Kathleen Rabel and Lisa Young, the exhibition features original prints with missed media elements. Museum of Northwest Art at 121 South First St. in La Connor, WA. (360) 466-4446 or go to www.museumofnwart.org.
Legacy of Justice at Hirabayashi Place. Public art by local artists will adorn the new building at 4th & Main honoring civil rights activist Gordon Hirabayashi and the Japanese American community’s struggles for justice. One of the artists involved with the project, Roger Shimomura will do a mural telling Hirabayashi’s life story. ArtXchange Gallery artist Jonathan Wakuda Fischer is creating a series of outdoor panels for the project as well. The building is located at 220 – 2nd Ave. S. Go to interimicda.org/legacyofjustice for details on what the building will look like and when construction will be complete.
Bellevue Arts Museum brings a wonderful show of handcrafted collaboration between husband and wife in “In The Realm of Nature: Bob Stocksdale & Kay Sekimachi. Individually and together, these two artists pushed the use of wood/paper as a material to new creative heights. Stocksdale specialized in the use of woods from around the world in his bowls. Sekimachi’s work inspires as visual poetry applied to material. Not to miss.
Opening Sept. 26th, ceramics by Reid Ozaki and Matt Allison. (206) 381-3000. KOBO at Higo. 604 South Jackson. Email is hello@kobo seattle.com. Kobo has a sister shop on Capitol Hill at 814 East Roy.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. has just opened a major retrospective on the work of American artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi entitled “The Artistic Journey of Yasuo Kuniyoshi” which will be on view through August 30th, 2015. Kuniyoshi was an American modernist who taught for years at the Art Students League in New York. His work ranges from the subtle to sophisticated with traces of deadpan humor to deep tragedy. Kuniyoshi’s first arrival in the U.S. was in Seattle where he worked on the railroads as a teenager eventually making his way to New York. 8th and F Streets NW. Go to AmericanArt.si.edu for details.
The artwork of Seattle artist Ken Taya (ENFU) adorns two new traffic control boxes at the corner of 6th and Jackson. The boxes were created to draw attention to the Japantown area of the neighborhood.
Former Cornish College of the Arts student Lauren Iida’s latest body of work reflects her current experience living and working with children in rural Cambodia. She teaches art and English to the children of subsistence rice farmers in an area totally devastated by past US bombing and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime. Her new work has expanded with the use of color, multiple layers of paper and collage-like objects woven into the cut paper. Some of the work is heavily influenced by the drawings of her students. To see the work, go to www.laureniida.com/todo. And to see her recent work in-person locally, she currently has two shows up through the month of August. The work combines cut paper, aquarelle, ink and block print. One show is at Bocz Salon at 1523 6th Ave./ (206) 624-9134 and the other show is at Wheelhouse Coffee at 2113 Westlake Ave. / (206) 467-0160. Both locations are in Seattle.
The Yakima Valley Museum has the current exhibit, “Land of Joy and Sorrow – Japanese Pioneers of the Yakima Valley” up until 2018. It tells the history of Japanese families who created a community there before the war. Only 10% of families returned to re-settle there after the war. 2105 Teton Dr. (509) 248-0741. In related news, a softball from this collection that saw play at Heart Mountain internment camp and owned by George Hirahara has been given to the Smithsonian and was on display in the incarceration section of the exhibit, “The Price of Freedom – Americans at War”. (As reported in the North American Post.) In other news, Hirahara’s Oregon photographs of the Japanese American post-WWII experience in the Pacific Northwest are now available online at Densho. To see his documentation of Nikkei Oregon life in “New Partner Collection: Frank C. Hirahara Photographs From The Oregon Nikkei Endowment”, go to http://www.densho.org/new-partner-collection-frank-c-hirahara-photographs-from-the-oregon-nikkei-endowment/. Also a profile of the Washington State University Hirahara Collection of photos from Heart Mountain is now featured on the Japanese American History Not For Sale Facebook Page by going to https://www.facebook.com/japaneseamericanhistorynotforsale.
“Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Na Hulu Ali’I” presents the first exhibition of Hawaiian featherwork on the U.S. mainland developed in partnership with the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu. Around 75 rare and stunning examples of the finest featherwork capes and cloaks in existence will be shown as well as royal staffs of feathers, feather lei, helmets, feathered god images and related paintings and works on paper. Opens August 29th, 2015 and remains on view through Feb. 28th, 2016. De Young
Seattle ceramic artist Akio Takamori was a recipient of the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards given by the Portland Art Museum which will give him a show which runs from Oct. 2015 – Jan. 16th, 2016.
New work by artist Miya Ando will be shown at Winston Wachter Fine Art July 16th – Sept. 4th, 2015. Her work done in metal canvases and sculpture articulate themes of contradiction and juxtaposition of ideas. A descendant of Bizen sword makers, she was raised among sword smiths and Buddhist priests in Okayama, Japan. Ando shares the show with photographer Kim Keever. Opening reception is July 16th from 6 – 8pm. 203 Dexter Ave. N. (206) 652-5855 or go to www.winstonwachter.com.
The work of noted Northwest ceramic sculptor Patti Warashina is included in SOFA, the annual expo show of sculpture, objects, functional art and design in Chicago. Nov. 6th – 8th, 2015. Opening night on Nov. 5th at Navy Pier. Go to sofaexpo.com for details.
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – “Tales of Tails: Animals in Children’s Books has a members only opening on Sat., August 15th from 12 – 1:30pm. Refreshments served and local artist Ken “Enfu” Taya will do live sketching. A final evening of Jam Fest 2015 is a Bruce Lee Tribute on Thurs., August 20th at 5:30pm. Come to nearby Canton Alley and enjoy food & drink specials and cha cha dancing. With performances, giveaways and more. Admission to this includes access to the “Do You Know Bruce?’ exhibit in the museum. Sept. 3rd First Thursday Toddler Storytime has the free telling of the book, “Lissy’s Friends” with a fun art activity. 11am – 12pm. “CONSTRUCT/S” is a new group show that presents a diverse group of six international, national and local female artists who will transform The Wing’s art gallery into a multi-sensory, interactive exploration of identity, subjectivity, history, culture and gender. It is curated by Dr. Stacey Uradomo-Barre. It remains on view through April 17th, 2016. Artists include the following – Terry Acebo Davis from California recreates her mother’s bedroom drawing upon the fact that she is suffering from dementia. This room is a place she yearns to return to and the piece deals with a fragmented narrative of memory, loss, identity, and Filipino American culture. Kaili Chun from Hawai’I has an interactive installation of man-made steel bars that unlock to grapple with issues of subjectivity and community and reflect the continuous socio-political negotiation of Native Hawaiians with the mainstream society. Yong Soon Min from California, after a career exploring Korean American Identity and colonialism now examines her own personal struggle of pain and trauma as she tries to recover from a cerebral hemorrhage that affected her ability to form language and memories. Min has shown previously in Seattle with temporary art installations. Tamiko Thiel (Germany) & Midori Kono Thiel (Seattle) present a mother-daughter collaboration combining traditional calligraphy with mobile technology. Their augmented reality installation virtually links art and culture with physical landmarks significant to the local Japanese American community. Lynne Yamamoto from Massachusetts went to Evergreen College in Olympia as a student. She has shown here previously with an installation at Suyama Space and a show at Greg Kucera Gallery. Her new piece here was inspired by the early 20th century tent houses of Japanese immigrant farmers. This work interweaves family memories and community history, evoking the migratory nature of the Japanese American farming community. She also has a public art commission at the Seattle Public Library planned as well. A catalog for this show is available. Yamamoto makes two local appearances. She gives an Artist Workshop on Sat., Sept. 26th at 10:30pm at the Wing where she will engage the audience with an art activity based on her installation in the show Her work is rooted in stories of her family history as Japanese immigrants to Hawai’i. She also gives a free talk about her work at the Seattle Central Library on Sat., Sept. 26th at 2pm. Commissioned by the City of Seattle. Level 4, Room 2 at 1000 4th Ave. downtown. The Young Family Collection of Qing Dynasty robes opened Jan. 15th . “Who Gets To Belong?” is an exhibit that looks at the Immigration Act of 1965 that lifted the quotas for Asian Pacific Islander immigration. This exhibit which opens March 5th from 6 – 8pm will look at the cultural and political climate that pushed for this act. “Do You Know Bruce?” is a major new show on the personal, intimate story of martial arts artist and film star Bruce Lee and the significance of Seattle in his life. Opens Oct. 4th with the full support of the Lee Family. The Wing is the only museum in the world, outside of Hong Kong, to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee’s life. The Lee family has plans to eventually open a permanent museum on Bruce Lee’s life and legacy in the Chinatown-ID neighborhood. Year 1 of this ground-breaking Bruce Lee exhibition closes on Sept. 6th, 2015 so if you haven’t seen it yet, hurry! Year 2 of the exhibition opens Oct. 3rd, 2015 and digs deeper into the significance of Bruce Lee and his impact in media during a time of racial stereotypes and barriers. Includes text panels by national blogger Phil Yu (aka Angry Asian Man) plus Green Hornet toys, personal letters, behind-the-scenes photos from the sets of “Way of the Dragon” and “Enter the Dragon”, hand-written film notes, rare photos inside his early Chinatown studio and much much more. A new set of Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tours begin Oct. 6th. “BOJAGI: Unwrapping Korean American Identities”, a new show on our local Korean American community opened Nov. 13th and remains on view through the spring of 2015. 719 South King St. (206) 623-5124 or visit www.wingluke.org. Closed Mondays. Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. First Thursday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm. Third Saturday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm.
“Voices of Nisei Veterans – Permanent Exhibition and Collections” is composed of rare collections preserved by the Nisei Veterans Committee and tells the story of Japanese American veterans before, during and after WW II. Access is by pre-arranged tour only. For reservations or information, email [email protected] or [email protected]. Jointly sponsored by the NVC Memorial Hall and The Wing. 1212 South King St.The August 18th edition of Seattle Channel includes a tour of this exhibit by Josephine Cheng. Go to www.seattlechannel.org for details.
Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park – First Free Saturday family activity takes place from 11am – 2pm. “Chiho Aoshima: Rebirth of the World” looks at the work of this pivotal member of the Japanese neo-pop art movement whose work merges the sweetness of kawaii culture with the cloudy future of a post-apocalyptic world. Includes photography, drawing and an animated video installation. Remains on view through Oct. 4th. “Calligraphic Abstraction” is a group show exploring the world of calligraphy in all its’ various forms of beauty from a Mark Tobey painting to Islamic, Chinese and Japanese examples. On view until October 4th in the Tateuchi Galleries. TThe Gardner Center’s “Saturday University” Series continues with these talks. “Focus on Asia: Photography Past and Present” by Frances Terpak, Curator of Photographs at the Getty Research Institute. Sat., Sept. 26th at 9:30am.For complete information on all events, go to seattleartmuseum.org.
Seattle Japanese Garden recently celebrated its 55th anniversary. Upcoming events include the following – The Moon Viewing Festival takes place on Aug. 29th. Respect for Elders Day is on Sept. 14th. A Maple Viewing Festival is set for Oct. 11th. For more details, go to www.seattlejapanesegarden.org.
Lois Yoshida once again teaches a new series of classes entitled “Introduction to Ink and Brush Painting” on Sundays – Sept. 20, 27, Oct. 4 from 10am – 4pm. It’s just part of the many Fall Studio Art Classes held at Frye Art Museum. Register now. 704 Terry Ave. (206) 622-9250.
Tacoma Art Museum has opened a new wing to accommodate the gift of a new collection. “ART OF THE AMERICAN WEST: The Haub Family Collection at Tacoma Art Museum just opened. Included in the present show is work by contemporary Chinese American artist Mian Situ. He creates epic paintings in the European tradition but inserts Chinese American immigrants as protagonists in scenes in which they’ve previously been missing. The photography of Seattle photographer Chao-Chen Yang is included in a group show entitled “Northwest in the West: Exploring Our Roots”. This show explores the distinct identity of Northwest art and how it has adopted, adapted and reacted against its western roots. A theme particularly apt and timely since the museum is building a new wing to house their new collection of Western art. Both shows through the fall of 2015. “Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff” was last seen in a smaller edition at Seattle’s Greg Kucera Gallery. A greatly expanded touring version opens June 20th at the museum. In this series, Shimomura inserts himself as an aging Asian Everyman in various guises, both political and poignant. “Partners in NW Art: Selections from the Aloha Club Collection” is a group show of Northwest artists that were collected by the Tacoma community club from 1948 – 1971. This collection was given to the Museum by the organization. Ceramic artist Patti Warashina is represented in this collection. Opens June 27th and remains on view through Sept. 3rd. “Art AIDS America” is a groundbreaking exhibition that underscores the deep and unforgettable presence of HIV in American art from the 1980’s to the present. Co-curated by TAM Chief Curator Rock Hushka and Dr. Jonathan Katz who directs the Visual Studies Doctoral Program at the University of Buffalo. Opens Oct. 3rd and remains on view through Jan. 10th, 2016.Tacoma Art Museum is at 1701 Pacific Ave. (253) 272-4258 or go to TacomaArtMuseum.org.
Catch Tacoma artist Yuki Nakamura who is building a special installation of suspended porcelain, paper and Mylar with eerie digital projections as part of the Bellingham National 2015 Art Exhibition and Awards on view through Sept. 6th, 2015. Guest-curated by Scott Lawrimore, now at the UWs Jacob Lawrence Gallery. Whatcom Museum at the Lightcatcher Building at 250 Flora St. (360) 778-8930.
Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland has “Oregon Nikkei: Reflections of an American Community” a show that celebrates the lives and contributions of Oregon’s Nikkei community, and evokes memories of shared experiences – from early settlement through the trials and tribulations of WWII and into the 21st century. Opening on July 25th and remaining on view through Sept. 27th, 2015 is “Yosegaki Hinomaru: Souvenir, Heirloom or Art?” This exhibition explores a time seventy years ago when families sent their sons off to war carrying personal items, and neither the son or the property returned. Open Tu. – Sat. 11am – 3pm and Sundays, noon – 3pm. 121 NW 2nd Ave. (503) 224-1458 or email [email protected].
“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. At Kobo at Higo, 604 South Jackson. E-mail [email protected] or call (206) 381-3000.
KOBO Gallery at Higo in Japantown/International District always has interesting shows of new ceramic work or work that conveys an Asian aesthetic. Go to koboseattle.com for updates. 604 S. Jackson St. (206) 381-3000.
The Art History Lecture Series with Rebecca Albiani for the upcoming year includes a series of talks on “Netsuke: Minature Masterpieces of Japanese Sculpture” set for Jan. 14th at 11am and 7pm and Jan. 15th at 11am. The talk is repeated three times. To register, call (206) 432-8200.
“Off site” is the title of an installation by Mumbai-based artist Reena Saini Kallat that re-creates immigration routes around the world using electric wire, circuit boards and speakers across a giant map. On view until Oct. 12th. Vancouver Art Gallery at 750 Hornby St. in Vancouver BC, Canada. (604) 662-4719 or go to vanartgallery.bc.ca.
“Generation to Generation – History of Chinese Immigrants in British Columbia” is an ongoing exhibit of photographs from the 1800s and 1900s. Chinese Cultural Centre Museum at 555 Columbia St. in Vancouver BC, Canada. (604) 658-8880 or go to cccvan.com.
“Mingei: Japan’s Enduring Folk Arts” is on view from June 20th to Oct. 11th at the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby, BC Canada. Over 100 works gathered from all over Japan attest to the power and joy of Japan’s folk art tradition. 6688 Southoaks Crescent. (604) 777-7000.
“Buddhist Arts of Asia” is a group show tracing Buddhist art through various countries in
Asia. From the gallery’s permanent collection. Through Sept. 20th. Art Gallery of Greater Victoria at 1040 Moss St. (250) 384-4171 or go to aggv.ca.
Oakland Museum of California presents a major exhibition on historic and contemporary pacific cultures and peoples and their interactions with California. “Pacific Worlds” opens May 30th and remains on view through Jan. 3rd, 2016. The show explores the on-going connections and intersecting experiences of Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, along with Filipinos, Native Californians, and American collectors and colonists. 1000 Oak St. in Oakland, CA. For details, go to museumca.org or http://www.museumca.org/.
New work by Seattle artist Diem Chau is on exhibit through Oct. 31st, 2015 at the Philadelphia Zoo as part of “Second Nature”, an array of artist installations that ell the stories of endangered species through the use of recycled, reduced, reused, repurposed and renewed materials. Her series of carved crayons “Precious Few” take the forms of 48 animals on the endangered species list. The zoo is at 3400 W. Girad Ave. in Philadelphia. Their phone # is (215) 243-1100. Diem Chau is represented locally by G. Gibson Gallery (ggibsongallery.com) and she is open to commissions.
“Discovering Japanese Art: American Collectors and the Met” tells the story of how the Museum built its comprehensive collection of Japanese art beginning in the 1880s up to the modern era. On view until Sept. 27th, 2015. 1000 – 5th Ave. (212) 535-7710 or go to www.metmuseum.org.
Some upcoming shows at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston include the following – “Crafted Objects in Flux” is a group show that look at artists who “simultaneously blur and expand craft’s landscape.” Seattle artist Etsuko Ichikawa is included in this show and she has plans to do a live performance sometime during the run of the show. On view August 25th – January 10th, 2016. In related news, the museum has hastily pulled an event labeled “Kimono Wednesdays” scheduled to run throughout July. Visitors were invited to don museum-provided kimonos while posing for photos in front of Monet’s “La Japonaise”, a painting of the artist’s wife wearing a kimono. Protestors charged the museum with perpetuating racist stereotypes by presenting Asian culture as exotic. The museum apologized. A counter-protest by Japanese women in kimonos materialized and the new museum director has promised a community forum on the issue.465 Huntington Ave. in Boston. (617) 267-9300. An update on this. Keiko , a writer from Boston who has been covering this issue on her blog has emailed me to correct some of the above information. She says the event was not cancelled but modified and that no formal apology has been given. For her perspective on this on-going controversy, go to http://japaneseamericaninboston.blogspot.com/2015107/monets-la-japonaise-kimono-wednesdays.html.
Opening Sept. 10th and on view through Jan. 3, 2016 is “Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms”. It showcases recently excavated objects that highlight the prosperity and achievements of the little-known Philippine Kingdoms that flourished long before the Spanish discovered the region and colonized it. They affirm the unprecedented creativity, prosperity, and sophisticated metalworking tradition of the pre-colonial period. They also attest to flourishing cultural connections and maritime trade in Southeast Asia during what was an early Asian economic boom. Asia Society Museum at 725 Park Ave. in New York City. Go to AsiaSociety.org/museum for details.
“Masterpieces of Japanese Art” remains on view until Aug. 30th, 2015 at the Cincinnati Art Museum. The Museum houses one of the oldest and most extensive Japanese art collections in the U.S. Over 100 pieces from the permanent collection are on display with the history and stories of those from that city who traveled and lived in Japan. The work spans genres and come from the 12th to 20th centuries. 953 Eden Park Drive in Cincinnati, Ohio. (513) 639-2954.
“Sotatsu – Making Waves” is a major show of that Edo-period, 17th century Japanese screen painter taking place at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery this fall from Oct. 24th – Jan. 31st, 2016. Over 70 pieces of work from American, European and Japanese collections including work by later artists influenced by Sotatsu. 1050 Independence Ave. SW in Washington DC. (202) 633-1000.
In 1947, Britain partitioned India by religious belief creating Pakistan. More than a million people lost their lives during Partition as they were forced to move from ancestral homes to accommodate religious re-districting. Now, over 1,000 survivors of Partition have been interviewed on camera for the 1947 Partition Archive, a new museum dedicated to this event. It is quietly located on the upper floor of a bank building in downtown Berkeley, California. The 1947 Partition Archive founder is Guneeta Singh Bhalla. It is seen as a race against time as many of the survivors are now in their 70’s and 80’s. Bhalla reflects on her visit to the Hiroshima Memorial Museum and how the oral histories of that event stood out as so vivid. It inspired her to create an archive on the Partition, an event that was little known around the world but had tragic, long- standing consequences for generations of families. Go to http://www.1947Partition-Archive.org/
An implicit exhibition ban in place by the Chinese Government since the 2011 arrest of dissident artist Ai Weiwei seems to have been relaxed. Four solo shows of the artist’s work were allowed to open just last month. Even the artist himself seems to have been surprise by this turn of events. A new Laura Poitras film “The Art of Dissent” featuring Ai Weiwei has been released online. The government has now issued the artist a passport freeing him to visit Europe where he has planned activities in England and Berlin where his wife and son now reside.
When Korean sculptor Cody Choi first came to the U.S. in the 1980’s., he suffered from a culture shock that resulted in a stomach ailment. Unable to afford medical care, he instead used over-the-counter medicine like Pepto-Bismol as a panacea. He re-created that experience by making a sculpture in the shape of Rodin’s “The Thinker” with pink Pepto-Bismol and toilet paper. That piece and 80 other works showcase the cultural chasm between east and west in the artist’s mind and form the core of a retrospective show now at Kunsthalle Dusseldorf in Germany. After that, the show will travel throughout Europe. Taken from The Korea Herald.
“Fluxus” movement artist and pioneer of video art, Shigeko Kubota recently died in Manhattan at the age of 77. She is perhaps best remembered for her 1965 performance entitled “Vagina Painting” in which she attached a paint brush to her skirt and squatted and moved over a canvas. She was part of “Fluxus”, a New York based avant-garde art movement that she admired for its “anti-art” strategies. The late pioneer of the video art installation/performance movement Nam June Paik was her husband. Kubota also was close friends with “Dada “ artist Marcel Duchamp and found a video language that was inspired by his art and philosophy. Kubota had two major exhibitions at the Whitney Museum and the American Museum of the Moving Image. I have fond memories of her bicycle art inspired by Duchamp I once saw in Tokyo.
Over ten years ago, highly esteemed British sculptor Anish Kapoor was commissioned to create a public sculpture in Chicago. Since then, the piece titled “Cloud Gate” or “The Bean” for short has become a landmark in that city. Recently the city of Karamay, China announced it will unveil a public sculpture that looks like Kapoor’s classic piece. Kapoor expressed outrage over this display of plagiarism and asked Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel to join him in his fight for justice. Instead the Mayor remarked that “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.” Shocked by the Mayor’s casual attitude towards the controversy, he wrote an open letter which read:
“I feel myself to be an honorary citizen of your great city of Chicago. Cloud gate, nicknamed The Bean, has been a major feature of Chicago’s landscape for over a decade and has helped keep in view Chicago’s vision of itself as the most modern city in America, if not the world.
I am therefore astonished at your statements about the Chinese copy of the sculpture Cloud Gate as that of an act of flattery. I urge you to stand by my side and fight plagiarism. I feel compelled to ask what other businesses and innovators from Chicago have had their copyrighted material stolen in a similar way? Will you call this flattery, too?
Creativity in all walks of life is hard won. It is incorrect to accept that we should allow for it to be undermined or stolen and therefore give it little or no value. Chicago will lose from this thievery. We cannot let this happen.
Anish Kapoor 13, August, 2015
Excerpted from “Hyperallergic” , August 14, 2015
2012 EDGE graduate Naoko Morisawa’s work was selected to appear in the City of Kent Summer Art Juried Exhibition 2015 throuigh August 30.
SIS Productions presents Bay Area poet/playwright Ginny Lim’s “Paper Angels”, an intimate portrait of the immigrant experience as Chinese immigrants sit on Angel Island immigration station outside San Francisco (similar to New York’s Ellis Island) facing questioning as they await their fate regarding admission. From 1882 – 1943, the Chinese were prohibited from immigrating to America due to the Chinese Exclusion Act giving the Chinese the dubious distinction of being the only ethnic group to have specifically been banned from coming to America. Presented numerous times since 1980 including a televised production on PBS in 2000, the playwright also collaborated on a book about the history of the immigration station with the late H. Mark Lai and Judy Yung. This will mark its Seattle debut. Directed by David Hsieh, the play will be performed at various locations. August 20 – 23 at The LAB at INScape Center at 815 Seattle Blvd. S. on the first floor in Seattle. Thurs. – Fri at 8pm, Sat. at 4 & 8pm and Sun. at 7pm. Performances continue at The Courtyard outside INScape Arts Center at 815 Seattle Blvd. S. August 28 – 31 Fri. – Mon. at 7:30pm. It’s ironic and fitting that Seattle performances are staged at the historic United States Immigration Station and Assay Office where prison cells held detainees. Tickets at the door or online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/use/manageevent/1789709 or call (206)323-9443 or email [email protected].
Indie folk/pop singer Meiko plays the Tractor on Aug. 25th at 8pm. 5213 Ballard Ave. NW. (206) 789-3599.
BUMBERSHOOT is the end of summer party, the arts festival for the city that always signifies that autumn’s not far behind. Taking place over the Labor Day weekend of Sept. 5,6 & 7 with activities for kids, dance, music, comedy, film, performing arts, spectacles, theatre, words & ideas and visual art sprawled over the entire grounds of Seattle Center. Some acts to watch out for – New Islands United (NIU) Roots is a local high school group that perform song and dance from Tonga and Samoa, funny and wise comic Hari Kondabolu who once made Seattle his home visits his old hometown for an appearance, Kalahi is a local Philippine dance company, Northwest novelist Jamie Ford who put the Panama Hotel on the map with his “At The Corner of Bitter And Sweet” is on a author panel with Timothy Egan and Brian Doyle speaking around the topic of “Writing The Northwest.” Bamboo DNA is a company founded by artist Gerard Minakawa that specializes in the design, construction and installation of bamboo structures and environments. See his amazing bamboo environment on the Seattle Center grounds. “Battle of The Word” is a slam poetry competition. Cheers on your favorites as they compete for the title of Seattle Battle of the Word Champions. Sara Porkalob is a Seattle-based actor and director. Hear and see her one woman show “Dragon Lady” (see related article in this issue) that travels back and forth through 40 years of her Filipina grandma’s faulty memories. For information and tickets, just go to bumbershoot.com.
Bay Area classically train Korean composer/pianist JooWan Kim brings his Bay Area hip-hop orchestra Ensemble Mik Nawooj on their first Pacific Northwest tour. They make a stop at Barbozas at Neumos on Sept. 6th. They will play deconstructed and re-imagined hip hop classics like C.R.E.A.M. Gin & Juice as well as preview cuts from their forthcoming release entitled “EMN”. If you can imagine a hip symphony composed of younger players fronted by rappers and led and conducted by a composer/pianist with imaginative, fresh charts, then you can start to get the picture. 925 E. Pike St. Early 7pm show with special guests. $10 advance tickets. (206) 709-9442.
“SOUND” is a new play by Don Nguyen that explores the impassioned dispute on Martha’s Vineyard between a fiercely protective deaf father and his hearing ex-wife over the use of cochlear implants to restore their daughter’s hearing. They struggle to find common ground in a world that separates deaf and hearing cultures. In a parallel story, 130 years earlier in the same place, Alexander Graham Bell is on a quest to invent he first hearing aid and cure deafness. His devastating actions leave feelings of loss and and betrayal in the deaf community. A bi-lingual play in American sign language and spoken English with a mixed cast of deaf and hearing actors. Co-directed by Desdemona Chiang and Howie Seago. Sept. 8 – Oct. 4, 2015. Co-presented with Azeotrope at ACT Theatre’s Bullitt Cabaret. 700 Union St. (206) 292- 7676.
Noted concert pianist Michi Hirata North plays one of the most difficult piano concertos by Tchaikovsky with Julia Tai conducting the Philharmonia Northwest Orchestra in a “Michi Hirata North 75th Anniversary Piano Concert” at UW’s Meany Hall on Sept. 20th. North made her debut as an eight-year-old prodigy playing Mozart with the Shin Philharmonic Orchestra (now known as the NHK Orchestra). She still teaches and performs, flying to Taiwan several times a year to teach master classes.Ticket sales will benefit the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington. Tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets. 15th Ave. N.E. & N. E. 40th St. on the Seattle UW campus. (206) 568-7114.
The Steve Griggs Ensemble plays “Music Made from Japanese American Memories of WW II” at the Panama Hotel Tea Room at 2pm every Saturday in 2015. Free. 605 South Main St. Sponsored by 4Culture, National Park Serice, and Earshot Jazz. For details, go to panamahoteljazz.blogspot.com.
Dr. L. Subramaniam makes a rare Seattle appearance with Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad as part of the Seattle Theatre Group’s 2015/2016 season. They will appear on Sept. 10th at the Moore Theatre. Subramamiam is an acclaimed South Indian violinist, composer and conductor. He is trained in the classical Carnatic music tradition and western classical music. He is respected for his virtuoso playing and compositions in orchestral fusion. He comes from a family tradition of musicians and has released over 200 recordings. Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad come from a South Asian family that are masters of Qawwaili Sufi music. They belong to a music school founded in the 14th century that remains the best known to this day. (206) 812-1114.
Comedian/actress Ali Wong of “Comedy Central” fame tapes a TV special on Sept. 25th at the Neptune. There will be shows at 7:30pm & 10pm. On NE 45th & Brooklyn Ave. in the University District. Presented by STG. For tickets, go to stgpresents.org, call (877) 784-4849 or just buy your tickets at the machine in front of the theatre.
Jake Shimabukuro, that one man melodic ukulele army invades Seattle once again to the delight of legions of fans anxious for the soothing lilt of island songs as well as pop and classical tunes remade. Friday, Oct. 23rd at the Paramount. Tickets go on sale August 21 at 10am. Presented by STG. 9th Ave. & Pine St. downtown. (877) 784-4849 or go to stgpresents.org.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the programs Seattle Symphony has to offer under the baton of Music Director Ludovic Morlot later this year going into 2016. Seattle Symphony launches an international piano competition presented in Partnership with Young concert Artists and Washington Performing Arts. The competition seeks to recognize pianists who embrace contemporary music and creative programming and the public is invited to all three rounds sept. 15 – 18. Nine pianists from an international pool of contestants have been selected to participate. Winner gets a $30,000 cash prize and a performance with the Seattle Symphony’s Opening Night concert on Sept. 19th, 2015. Many of the contestants have Asian names including Kevin Wong Fenchung Ahfat, Han Chen, Peng-Chian Chen, Chuang-chuang “Peter” Fang, Vijay Venkatesh and Sean Yeh. Dynamic pianist Lang Lang takes on Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor” along with works by Beethoven, Respighi and Greig’s “Piano Concerto” with the Seattle Symphony on Sunday, October 11th at 2pm. Gershwin’s American masterpiece, “Rhapsody In Blue” is performed Oct. 16th – 18th with Jeff Tyzik conducting, Jon Nakamatsu on piano and Doug LaBrecque on vocals. Meeka Quan Di Lorenzo on cello, and Jessica Choe on piano join other members of the Seattle Symphony as they perform a program of chamberworks by Bernstein, Carter, Prokofiev and Shostakovich on Oct. 27th at 7:30pm in Nordstrom Recital Hall. Want comedy with your music? The duo of Ingudesman & Joo return to Seattle after their success in 2012 at Benaroya with an all new show that mixes laughs with classical music and popular culture on March 3rd at 7:30pm.If you want a preview of the music the Symphony will be playing on their upcoming tour of Asia, check out the Ravel Piano Concerto as performed with Jean-Yves Thibaudet on piano along with music by Faure and Dvorak on June 5th.
Seattle Opera has announced their 2015/16 season under new General Director Aidan Lang. It marks a return to full-year programming with a total of six operas,, new productions and a world premiere. Many productions will also highlight new Asian and Asian American performers. Coming in August is “An American Dream” (see related article in this issue) based on true stories from the Northwest. The opera tells the story of a Japanese American family forcibly removed from an island in Puget Sound during WW II. Nina Yoshida Nelsen, Adam Lau and Hae Ji Chang perform the roles of the family. Judith Yan makes her Seattle Opera debut, as conductor of the orchestra. Jonathan Lemalu, a Samoan from New Zealand makes his Seattle Opera debut singing the role of Nourabad in Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” next. Finally, Director Lang returns to stage directing Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”. Chinese-born bass-baritone Shenyang makes his Seattle Opera debut as Figaro. McCaw Hall at Seattle Center at 321 Mercer St. (206) 389-7676 or try 1-800-426-1619 or go to [email protected].
Sound Theatre Company presents a Seattle Premiere production of noted British playwright Tom Stoppard’s “Indian Ink” (see related article in this issue) done in collaboration with local South Asian theatre company Pratidhwani. The story is about a British woman poet in India who falls in love with an Indian painter and the complications that follow. August 13th – 30th. Presented at the Center Theater at the Seattle Center Armory at 305 Harrison St. Go to www.SoundTheaterCompany.org for details.
“Extraordinary Ordinary People – American Masters of Traditional Arts” is an exhibition with monthly artist performances & humanities programs on Fridays from 7:30 – 9:30pm on Sept. 25th, Oct. 2nd, Oct. 9th, Oct. 9th, Oct. 30th, Nov. 13th and Nov. 20th. Traditional artist demonstrations on Saturdays from 11am – 4pm on Sept. 12th and 26th, Oct. 3rd, Oct. 31st and Nov. 14th. The exhibit is up from Sept. 11 – Nov. 30th. Admission, opening on Fri. Sept. 11th at 7pm and demonstrations are free. Suggested $10 donation for all performances. A cross-cultural mix of music and culture from cancion music from Latin America, Croatian Americans, Finnish music, Hindustani classical music, Cowboy and Native American and Scandinavian music. Jack Straw Cultural Center at 4261 Roosevelt Way NE in Seattle’s University District. (206) 634-0919 or go to www.jackstraw.org for details.
Tea ceremony demonstrations continue at Seattle Art Museum downtown every Third Thursday at 5:30pm and every Third Sunday at 2:10pm. Free with admission. Please note there will be no tea ceremony demonstrations during the month of August.
The Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers of India present a concert entitled “Spirit of India” which presents an evening of Indian live music and dance. Featuring one of India’s greatest musical figures, Rahis Bharti. All seating is reserved. At the Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium at Benaroya Hall on Wed., Sept. 30th, 2015 at 7:30pm. For tickets, call (206) 215-4747 or go to the ticket window in-person at Benaroya Hall. 200 University St. in downtown Seattle.
Set for 5th Avenue Theatre’s 2015/2016 season is the World Premiere of “Waterfall, The Musical” based on the Thai novel “Behind the Painting” about a forbidden love affair between a young Thai student and the American wife of a Thai diplomat in 1930’s Thailand on the eve of WWII. It marks the U.S. debut of Thai music superstar Bie Sukrit Wisetkaew as the student and is directed by Tak Viravan. With book & lyrics by Richard Malty Jr. and choreography by Dan Knechtges. This is a co-production with Pasadena Playhouse and is billed as “a groundbreaking collaboration between Oscar and Tony-winning American and Asian theatrical artists”. October 1st – 25th. Subscribe by April 27th for the best seats. Go to www.thavenue.org or call (206) 625-1900.
The UW World Series season for 2015/2016 has some extraordinary performances booked from around the world. For their UW Seattle Meany Hall location. In the “World Dance Series”, Seattle favorites Sankai Juku return with the North American premiere of “Umusuna: Memories Before History” Oct 1 – 3 at 8pm (Co-presented with Seattle Theatre Group). This work by this contemporary butoh group evokes the essence of duality and unity encapsulated in the Chinese characters for “birth” and “earth” that combine to form the work’s title. The Akram Khan Company is known for fusing the classical Indian form of kathak with contemporary dance. They make their northwest debut with “Kaash” in which the theme of Hindu gods, black holes, Indian time cycles, tablas, creation and destruction all play key roles. Nov. 12 – 14th at 8pm. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center consisting of CMS Co-Artistic Director and Pianist Wu Han and violinists Sean lee and Benjamin Bellman take solo turns in music by Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn. One night only on March 19th, 2016 at 7:30pm. The Daedalus Quartet plays Friday, April 29th, 2016 at 7:30pm with work by Beethoven and the world premiere of a new work by UW Music composer Huck Hodge. In the “Special Events” category, the Peking Acrobats and sitarist Anoushka Shankar make appearances. Peking Acrobats come to perform their daring balance maneuvers with live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments on Sat., Jan. 23, 2016 at 3pm and 7:30pm. Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of the late virtuoso sitar master, Ravi Shankar brings her own genre-defying mix to the instrument with Indian music, electronica, jazz, flamenco and Western classical music all playing a part. She performs on Sat., April 9th, 2016 at 8pm. A “Special Engagement” will feature “An Evening with Yo-Yo Ma” on Tues., Dec. 8, 2015 at 7:30pm. This world – renowned cellist has recorded classical music and has never been afraid to collaborate with musicians from various genres from all over the world. This appearance is a rare opportunity to hear him in an intimate space. (206) 543-4880 or go to uwworldseries.org or get tickets in-Person at 1313 NE 4lst St. Ticket
Historic 1910 Canton Alley in Seattle’s Chinatown/ID is transformed into a relaxed setting to enjoy food and drinks, music, a night market and more. The event known as “Jamfest 2015” takes place August 20th from 5:30pm – 9:30pm. Bob Antolin’s “Soul Food” plays. Phnom Penh Noodle House at 660 S. King plus check out several other locations with live music. For tickets and more information, contact The Wing at www.wingluke.org/jamfest.
The 2015-16 Saturday Family Concerts at Town Hall Seattle are set. Traditional Japanese arts with Kabuki Academy are set for Nov. 14th. Other acts include Caspar Baby Pants, Pointed Man Band, Swil Kanim Pig Snout!!, Gustafer Yellowgold, Franchesska Berry and Frances England. Town Hall Seattle is at 1119 8th Ave. (206) 625-4255 or go to www.townhallseattle.org.
The George Saduk Group with Bob Antolin provides live music with belly dancing on Friday, August 21st at 8pm at Harissa’s at 2255 NE 65th. (206) 588-0650.
An “All Things Japanese Sale” takes place at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington on Sat. Aug. 22nd from 10 am – 4pm. 1414 S. Weller St. in seattle. Visit www.jcccw.org for details.
Japan America Society Night at Tacoma with Tay Yoshitani as featured speaker celebrates the relationship between Tacoma and Japan. Takes place before and during the Tacoma Rainiers game at Cheney Stadium. Sat., Aug. 29th at Cheney Stadium. 2502 South Tyler in Tacoma. For details, go to http://jassw.info/event-1998205.
Friends of Asian Art Association presents Seattle musician, traveler and amateur ethnomusicologist Dick Valentine who will give a talk entitled “Traditional Flutes & Flute Traditions in Asian Musical Cultures. Sunday, Sept. 27th at 1pm. Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Alvord Board Room in Volunteer Park. Free Parking. For tickets and more information, go to [email protected] or call (206) 522-5438.
Pop singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata comes to the Crocodile for a one night only show on Oct. 22nd. Got to www.monqui,com for details.
As part of Seattle Rep’s 2015/2016 new season, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Ayad Akhtar’s “Disgraced” will be performed Jan. 8th – 31st. The story is about a Pakistani-born successful New York lawyer whose life is turned upside-down when his Muslim heritage is questioned. 155 Mercer St. (206) 443-2222 for tickets.
“Caught”, a play by Christopher Chen gets a production by Seattle Public Theater as part of their 2015-16 Mainstage Season. It runs May 20th – June 12th, 2016 with a preview on May 19th. The play is a mind-bending satire about truth, art, and deception. When an art gallery hosts a retrospective of the work of a legendary Chinese dissident artist, the artist himself appears and shares with patrons the details of his ordeal that explores truth, art, social justice and cultural appropriation.7312 W. Green Lake Drive N. Go to www.seattlepublictheater.org for details.
Composer/drummer Chris Icasiano and founder of local avant-garde record label, Tables & Chairs gets a well deserved cover story in the August 2015 issue of Earshot Jazz, a local Seattle jazz publication/jazz concert presenter. In recent years, he has helped re-invigorate the local music scene with numerous groups and organizations.
“Stuck Elevator”, the news story of a Chinese immigrant restaurant delivery person found stuck in an elevator in New York for hours is turned into a striking musical theater piece by local composer Byron Au Yong and librettist Aaron Jafferis. It has had some early run-throughs in Seattle, a production at ACT in San Francisco and now another revised performance at the Dartmouth Department of Theater’s Hopkins Center for the Arts Bentley Theater on August 22, 2015 at 8pm. Directed by Ed Iskandar and Musical Direction by Jody Schum. Au Yong and Jafferis are in a NYTW Residency here August 3 – 23. Cast includes Julis Ahn, Kim Bianck, Phillppe Bowgen, Ryan-James Hatanaka and James Seol. Musicians include Shenghua Hu on violin, Shaw Wu on cello and Lee Caron on percussion.
Noted Japanese jazz pianist Masabumi Kikuchi recently died in New York at the age of 75. While still a teenager he played with Sonny Rollins and Lionel Hampton. He made his recording debut in the 1960s with Toshiko Akiyoshi. In the 70s he collaborated with Gil Evans and Elvin Jones as well as leading his own groups. In recent years he was an integral member of the late drummer/composer Paul Motian’s groups. He has a 2012 release on ECM entitled “Sunrise.” He has numerous releases in Japan and Europe. A free spirit I still remember him coaxing out beautiful notes with grunts and groans while live on stage in Japan. Rest in peace, “Poo”!
Film & Media
Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of “Beacon Hill Boys”, a then student production based on Ken Mochizuki’s book. It looks back in time as several friends cruise the night time streets of Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, and the Chinatown/ID. One of the first films to capture the Seattle Asian American youth experience. Join the filmmakers as they reminisce about the experience they had making this film using a cast of amateur locals. Sat., Sept. 19th at 3pm and 5pm. Two ticket options. You can pay $15 for access to the 3pm special screening with cast & crew followed by panel discussion and reception or just pay $5 for entry to the 5pm general screening. At the Wing. 719 South King. (206) 623-5124.
Two new Korean films screen in Puget Sound shortly. “Memories Of The Sword” written & directed by Park Heung-sik opens August 28th. Three legendary warriors lead a revolt to topple a corrupt empire and save the people. But when deceit and betrayal costs the life of a master swordsman, bad blood and feuding threatens to undermine everything. Baek Jong-Yeol’s “The Beauty Inside” is a comedy about a man whose face and body change every day and the relationship he has with his girl friend who continues to love him despite the continual change. The surprise sleeper hit of Cannes. Opens Sept. 11th. My guess is that the films will screen at AMC Loews Alderwood Mall 16 and Cinemark Federal Way. For more details on locations, email [email protected].
The Gardner Center co-presents with Tasveer as part of their Asia Films Series the following – August 27th screens “Anima State” at 6:30pm. Hammad Khan’s film presents a masked gunman who goes on a killing spree in Pakistan. Is it real or just an indie filmmaker trapped in a nightmare? Go to seattleartmuseum.org for more details.
“Kumu Hina” is an award-winning documentary film that is an intimate portrait of a proud, confident mahu (transgender) teacher passing on ancient Hawaiian culture and traditions to her students as she searches for love in her own life. Screens on August 19th at the Varsity Theatre in the University District. 4329 University Way N.E. (206) 632-2267.
“Frame by Frame” was one of the hit documentary films recently shown at SIFF 2015. Now, it returns to Seattle on the big screen for just one night only. It follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape – reframing their country for the world, and for themselves. Plays the Meridian 16 Theatre downtown on August 25th. 1501 – 7th Ave. (844) 462-7342.
Northwest Film Forum invites the public for a free public screening of “City Stories With Youth Videos And “Even The Walls – 70 Years At Yesler Terrace” on Sept. 14th and the filmmakers will be present. Catch some new young talent as they introduce and screen their short films. Also the winner of “Best Short Film” category at the recent SIFF 2015, “Even The Walls – 70 Years At Yesler Terrace” will be screened. Cinematographer for this haunting look at the multi-cultural residents of this public housing project was Canh Nguyen who himself, grew up as a child in this project. 1515 – 12th Ave. (206) 829-7863.
Grand Illusion Cinema has a nice mix of animated features and documentaries that might interest you. Japanese pop culture artist Takashi Murakami makes his directorial debut with an animated feature entitled “Jellyfish Eyes”. A boy moves to the countryside with his mother after the father’s death. He makes friends with a flying jellyfish in this fantasy post-tsunami world. Screens Aug. 21 – 27. August 28 – Sept. 3rd brings J. P. Sniadecki’s documentary film entitled “The Iron Ministry” that documents the uneasy encounters between China’s citizens and the machines that form one of the world’s largest railway networks. See what China’s economic boom has done to its railroad transportation system. “Topspin” is a documentary by Sara Newens and Mina T. Son that takes you into the world of competitive ping pong. Screens Sept. 4th – 8th. And finally if you like Japanese girl groups and “anime”, we may have found the film for you. The girls of Japanese manga come alive in Takashiko Kyogoku’s “Love Live! The School Idol Movie”. In Japanese with English subtitles. Sept. 12th and 13th. The Grand Illusion is at 1403 N.E. 50th in the University district. (206) 523-3935.
Here are some new films that will be coming to a local Landmark Theatre in Seattle soon. Patricia Clarkson plays a rich jilted New York wife and Ben Kingsley plays her Sikh Indian driving instructor in a new film entitled “Learning To Drive” which opens at the Guild 45th in Wallingford on Sept. 4th. “He Named Me Malala” is a new documentary film on the efforts of Malala Yousafzai and her father to bring education benefits to the young girls of Pakistan. Malala gained world-wide notoriety when she survived assassination attempts by the Taliban to end her efforts at educating more girls in Pakistan. This film will open on Oct. 9th either at the Guild 45th or the Seven Gables Theatre. Emmy award-winning Director Cary Fukunaga (Director & Executive Producer of HBO’s “True Detective”) brings a new movie based in Africa about boy-soldiers based on the book by Nigerian writer Uzodinma Iweala. Entitled “Beasts of No Nation”, it is Netflix’s first original film. The film stars Idris Elba who plays a warlord who takes a young boy-soldier under his wing. Set for October 16th either at the Guild 45th or Seven Gables Theatre.
Pencil in your calendars for Tasveer’s annual “Seattle South Asian Film Festival” set for Oct. 15th – 15th at various venues in Seattle, Renton, Redmond, Bellevue and Bothell. A very rare opportunity to sample new films from countries as varied as Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan. To catch up on details, go to www.tasveer.org.
The recent runaway hit at Sundance that had folks talking was “Tangerine”, a new film by Sean Baker about 24 hours in the lives of transvestite hookers on Sunset Boulevard. What got people talking was the lavish look of the film that was shot on cellphone cameras using the latest technology. The film also featured first rate performances by the principals wrapped around an arresting plot-line full of interesting characters. What went unnoticed perhaps was the abundance of Asian American talent on the set. Radium Cheung was co-dp and co-producer, responsible for the wonderful look of the film. Shih-Ching Tsou worked triple duty as producer, costume designer and actress, playing the owner of the donut shop where all the action takes place in the climatic final scene.
More news from Bay Area filmmaker/writer Arthur Dong. His recent documentary film “The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor” which recently played SIFF 2015 is getting its international Cambodian premier in a four-city tour of the country including stops in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap and Ngor’s home town of Samrong Yong in Takeo. August 21 – 28. Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy of Phnom Penh and Bophana Center. The director will introduce the film at every screening. For details, go to www.facebook.com/events/1644783909126518/ . The film also screens at the Cambodia Town Film Festival in Long Beach, CA on Sept. 6th at 6:30pm with subjects from the film and the director present. Art Theatre at 2025 East 4th St. in Long Beach. Go to http://cambodiatownfilmfestival.com for details. The filmmaker was recently honored at the Asian American International Film Festival with a tribute and screenings of his films including his latest. Also the book Dong wrote based on his documentary film entitled “Forbidden City USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936 – 70 was one of the winners of an American Book Award presented by the Before Columbus Foundation.
The Written Arts/Talks
“Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers”, a graphic novel by Lawrence Matsuda and artist Matt Sasaki that tells the story of Nisei soldiers from the Pacific Northwest proving their loyalty through battle during WW II has a “Book Release & Signing” event. Sat., Sept. 12th from 1 – 4pm. Free. In addition, a teacher workshop to accompany the book takes place on Sat., Oct. 10th from 9am – 3:30pm.All events at the Nisei Veterans Committee Hall at 1212 S. King St. in Seattle. Created in partnership with The Wing and the Nisei Veterans Committee Foundation. Their website is nvcfoundation.org.
The month of August is a somber reminder of when America entered the nuclear age by dropping the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A recent number of publications give us a chance to remember those events and reflect on their aftermath. “Evening Will Come” (Issue 56/August 2015) is the latest issue of The Volta, an online literary magazine. Go to http.//thevolta.org/ewc-mainpage56.html to access it. This powerful and thought-provoking special issue on Hiroshima/Nagasaki was guest-edited by former Northwest poet Brandon Shimoda and includes contributions by Seattle poet/translator Don Mee Choi and Portland-based, Nagasaki-born artist Yukiyo Kawano and a host of other noted national and international writers. Paul Ham, the Australian correspondent of the Sunday Times of London came out with the book “Hiroshima/Nagasaki” about a year ago. In it, he documents the events behind the scenes both in Japan and the U.S. and the important players who made the decisions that led to the bombing. Two recent books talk to the families of Japanese survivors who were directly affected by the blasts. “Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War” by Susan Southard is a frank appraisal of the enduring impact of nuclear war told through the eyes of those who survived in that city. She interviewed five people from that city who were just teenagers at the time of the bombing. Southard is the founder and artistic director of Essential Theatre, a professional ensemble that presents interactive performances for marginalized communities. An early draft of this book was a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. “The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki” by Kyoko and Mark Selden is a collection of factual reports, short stories, poems and drawings that express in a deeply personal voice the devastating effects of the bombings on both cities. As a follow-up, there is “Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History” edited by Yuki Tanaka and Marilyn B. Young. The book examines the crucial question of why did military planning in the early twentieth century shift its focus from bombing purely military targets to bombing civilians? The editors go through history from the British bombing of Iraq in the 1920’s to the most recent policies in the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East. It asks the fundamental question of how this theory justifying mass killing originated and why it was used as a military strategy for decades, both before and since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Young is a professor of history at NYU and a Guggenheim Fellow. She is the author of numerous books. She co-edited “Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam.” Yuki Tanaka is Research Professor at Hiroshima Peace Institute of Hiroshima City University specializing in war crimes. He is the author of several books including “Japan’s Comfort Women and Hidden Horrors.”
Elliott Bay Book Company has another list of readings set for spring in their store as well as at various venues around the city. All readings at the bookstore unless other wise noted. Seattle poet and artist Anita Feng retells the story of the Buddha in a contemporary setting in her illustrated novel “Sid” (Wisdom/Simon & Schuster). She reads Tues., Sept. 8 at 7pm. Salman Rushdie reads from his new novel, “Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights” (Random House) on Mon. Sept. 14th at 7:30pm at Town Hall Seattle. Nancy Singleton Hachisu author of award-winning “Japanese Farm Food” returns with a new book entitled “Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen” (Andrews McMeel). In a demonstration/talk with free samples (yum!) on Tues., Sept. 15th at 7pm. When it comes to Indonesia, probably the only writer of stature that has reached our shores in any quantity is Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Of course there are dozens of talented writers from that island country that remain unknown to us because of lack of translation. Eka Kurniawan represents that new generation and luckily for him and us, there are two new translations of his work now available. Two novels, “Beauty Is a Wound” (New Directions) translated by Annie Tucker and “Man Tiger” (Verso) translated by Labodilah Sembiring. He makes his first US tour on behalf of these books and will be in Seattle on Tues., Sept. 15 at 7pm at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Co-presented with the Gardner Center For Asian Art & Ideas. The museum is at 1400 East Prospect in Volunteer Park. Christina Lopez, Sarah Scott and Miriam Padilla are three local contributors to a new anthology entitled “Talking Back: Writers of Color” (Red Letter Press) as edited by poet/activist Nellie Wong. On Sun., Sept. 20th at 3pm. Francis Terpak appears as part of the Saturday University Focus on Asia: Photography Past and Present Lecture Series”. She will talk about “Photography in China: The First Fifty Years”. Presented by the Gardner Center For Asian Art And Ideas in partnership with UW Jackson School of Int. Studies and Elliott Bay Book Company. This reading on Sat., Sept. 26 at 9:30am at Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Stimson auditorium. Go to www.seattleartmuseum.org for details. Naomi J. Williams reads from her debut novel entitled “Landfalls” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Mon. Sept. 28 at 7pm. In this book she re-imagines the doomed French attempt to circumnavigate the world in the 1780’s with each chapter devoted to a different point of view of explorer, indigenous people, loved ones and other Europeans. The voyage went through Alaska, Siberia, the South Pacific and other locales. To give you more insight about this book, the author wrote thusly – “The book is really different from traditional novels of the sea for two reasons in particular. First, I’m a middle-aged, Asian American woman writing in a genre that generally been the preserve of white male writers. And second, each chapter is the novel is told in a different narrator, which gives space for voices not usually heard in such books. I’m really an unlikely teller for such a story. My mother is Japanese and my father was a white American. I was born and partly raised in Japan. I didn’t speak any English until I was nearly six years old. But I think my experience as a mixed-race, bi-cultural, bi-national woman who’s switched countries and languages has left me with an abiding interest in people who cross boundaries and end up where they don’t necessarily ‘belong’.” Oct. 10 brings Amitiav Ghosh who will read from his highly anticipated new novel that is the final part of the best selling Ibis Trilogy entitled “Flood of Fire” at Town Hall Seattle. Novelist Nina Revoyr reads from “Lost Canyon” (Akashic), a novel of a multi-cultural group of Angelenos on a hike in the Sierras who get more than they bargain for. Again at Town Hall will be journalist Deepa Iyer on Dec. 1 who will talk about the new war on South Asians in the US in the wake of 9/11 in “We Too Sing America” (New Press). Noted journalist Meera Subramanian tackles the complex issue of water and society in India and the activists dedicated to preserving the environment in a her first book entitled “A River Runs Again – India’s Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka” (Public Affairs). Her Northwest tour takes her first to Powells in Portland on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3rd to Elliott Bay. Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk reads from his new novel entitled “Strangeness in my Mind” at Seattle Central Public Library downtown. Nov. 7th brings novelist Isabel Allende who reads from “The Japanese Lover” at Seattle First Baptist Church. At the dawn of WWII a Polish couple sends their young daughter to the safe care of an aunt and uncle in Los Angeles. In this new environment the young woman slowly is drawn into a relationship with the son of a Japanese gardener. When WWII starts, all Japanese Americans on the West Coast are incarcerated. But through time in different circumstances, the lovers find some way to meet. Elliott Bay Book Company is on Capitol Hill at 1521 – 10th Avenue. (206) 624-6000.
Janice P. Namura reads from “Daughters of the Samurai: a Journey from East to West and Back” on Aug. 25th at 7pm. Free. 6504 20th Ave. NE in Lake Forest Park. Go to thirdplacebooks.com.
One finds it hard to keep up with the steady stream of new titles coming out even in the limited categories of works by or about Asian Americans and new titles on Asia but here’s a recent sampling:
“The Barefoot Lawyer – A Blind Man’s Fight for Justice and Freedom in China” (Henry Holt) by Chen Guangcheng tells the story of his escape in his new memoir. As a lawyer he fought for the rights of the poor, especially women who had endured forced sterilizations and abortions under the hated One Child Policy. Placed under house arrest, he escaped after two years.
In “How Chinese Are You? – Adopted Chinese Youth and Their Families Negotiate Identity and Culture” (NYU) by Andrea Louie, the author looks at how a new cultural identity is tentatively forged by adopted Chinese youth and their Caucasian and Asian American parents. A look at how culture and race reinvent themselves and change through time as well.
“The Man Who Wasn’t There – Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self” (Dutton) by Anil Ananthaswamy looks at neurological conditions to discover where in the brain, body, or mind the self is located.
The history of Asian Americans and their emergence in this country is constantly being re-invented and re-evaluated as more research comes to light. “The Making of Asian America – A History” (Simon & Schuster) by Erika Lee is the latest version to hit the stores. She tracks down immigration patterns and origins back to North and South America as well as the East and West Indies.
The Vietnamese immigrant community in Las Vegas is the setting for “dragonfish” (Norton) by Vu Tran in a “nourish” novel that explores the world of the refugee and the secrets of the past and its dead.”
Bay Area poet Tony Robles continues the work of his Uncle, Al Robles – the legendary Bay Area Filipino American activist and poet with a new book entitled “Cool Don’t Live Here Anymore: A Letter to San Francisco” which is a rallying cry for that city to serve its people. Robles has authored two children’s books but this is his first book of poetry.
L.A. Poet Amy Uyematsu was the co-editor of the widely-used UCLA anthology “Roots: An Asian American Reader” and also wrote the essay, “The Emergence of Yellow Power in America in the 1969 issue of Gidra, an Asian American newspaper. “The Yellow Door” is her fourth book of poetry and this one mirrors the perspective of the baby-boomer Sansei generation who knew their Issei immigrant grandparents, grew up in Little Tokyo and are now old enough to have grandchildren of their own. These poems celebrate her Japanese American roots.
Noted Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has a new book coming out in August on Alfred A. Knopf Books. Entitled “Wind/Pinball”, it contains the author’s first attempts at writing in the form of two short novels. His introduction also discloses the moment he decided to become a novelist at a baseball game in 1978 at a time when he was running his own jazz coffee shop in Tokyo.
“Indonesia Etc. – Exploring The Improbable Nation” (Norton) by Elizabeth Pisani is now out in a paperback edition. Considered one of the Best Books of 2014 by the Wall Street Journal and The Economist, the author traveled 26,000 miles across this multi-cultural island nation of over 300 ethnic groups and 13,500 islands to get a look.
“In The Country” is a sparkling collection of short stories by Mia Alvar that looks at Filipino characters from different fortunes and classes around the world whether in Manila, Boston or Bahrain and their dreams, motivations and desires. Published by Knopf in June.
“Letters To My Grandchildren” by David Suzuki on Greystone Books. This internationally renowned geneticist, environmentalist, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation has hosted the award-winning CBS program, “The Nature of Things” for over thirty years. This book is Suzuki at his most personal as he passes on what he can to future generations.
Hayden Herrera, famed biographer of Frida Kahlo takes on another mysterious artistic icon in her new book, “Listening To Stone – The Art And Life Of Isamu Noguchi” just out on Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
In the science fiction category, more titles are published. Wesley Chu, author of the award-winning “The Lives of Tao” has a new time travel work entitled “Time Salvager” (Tor). Seattle writer Ramez Naam has the third book in his Nexus Trilogy entitled “Apex” (Angry Robot) just released.
South Asian authors show no signs of slowing down. Canadian author Auswa Zehanat Khan makes a sparkling debut with a thriller ripped from yesterday’s news headlines in “The Unquiet Dead”. Indian author Aatish Taseer’s tome of a novel brims with philosophical insights amongst the characters in “The Way Things Were.” Salman Rushdie is back with a new novel entitled “Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eighth Nights” (Random House). He is scheduled to read on Mon., Sept. 14th at 7:30pm at Town Hall Seattle co-sponsored by Elliott Bay Book Company. Tickets are $35 and includes admission and one copy of the book. $40 admits two people to the event and includes one copy of the book. Town Hall is at 1119 8th Ave. (at Seneca) and doors open at 6:30pm. Tickets go on sale July 31st from Elliott Bay Book Company in person by by calling (206) 624-6600 or online from www.BoldTypeTickets.com.
“The Lams Of Ludlow Street” (Kehrer) is a new book by photographer Thomas Holton that is an in-depth look at a family living in New York’s Chinatown. Born to a Chinese mother and American father, Holton had close relatives in Chinatown but always felt disconnected. What started out as a documentary project on the streets and daily rituals of that community developed into a much more intimate exploration of a single family’s life spanning a decade.
The Frye Art Museum has a full slate of Summer Studio Art Classes from June to August 2015 as well as a Kids Camp in Dramatic Arts. Artist Lois Yoshida teaches an Introduction to Ink and Brush Painting. For details on classes and registration, call (206) 622 – 9250.
Friends of Asian Art Association is an all-volunteer organization that connects its members and the community to educations, cultural and social events tied to Asia and its diverse art forms and culture. Enjoy year-round activities and meet new friends who share similar interests by becoming a member. All are welcome to the activities but members get special discounts and perks. Go to FriendsOfAsianArt@earthlink or call (206) 522-5438. Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Alvord Board Room. (206) 522-5438 or email Friends [email protected] to make reservations and buy tickets.
Hing Hay Coworks is a collaborative work space centrally located in the Bush Hotel in the heart of Seattle’s ID/Chinatown neighborhood. It is open to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and start-ups or small businesses and is animated by a community of business leaders who value meaningful partnership, creative exploration, and bringing ideas to market. The space will be open for monthly memberships in April. Space is limited, so please contact them if you want to become a member. Please refer all inquires to Quang Nguyen, Hing Hay Coworks Manager at [email protected].
Recipients of Mayor’s Arts Awards this year include ceramic artist Akio Takamori for “Arts & Innovation”, the Japanese oral history organization Densho for “Cultural Preservation”, Dr. Robin Wright for “Cultural Ambassador”, Seattle JazzED for “Future Focus” and Daniel Brown for “Creative Industries”. Awardees will accept their awards from the Mayor in a special Bumbershoot-kickoff ceremony at Seattle Center on Sept. 4th at the Mural Amphitheater. The visual arts exhibits will be open at 3pm. The Mayor’s Arts Awards will be given out at 4pm. A reception takes place at 5:15 pm. At 7:30pm, come party with the Funky Congregation at TheVera Project. Come out and congratulate all the well deserving winners! Please RSVP (two per person) by August 28th, 2015 at MAA2015.EVENTBRITE.COM if you are going to attend.
Asian Arts Initiative is a community-based, multi-disciplinary arts center located in Chinatown North, Philadelphia. They are now looking for guest curators to coordinate some of their exhibitions. Please go to www.asianartsinitiative.org for details.
Congratulations to Seattle poet/educator Emily Lawsin who received a 2015 Edge Professional Development Award in the “Literary” category.
The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities will purchase artworks that represent the experience of communities of color, and of immigrant and refugee communities for SPU’s Portable Works Collection. Artists are invited to submit images of available work for direct purchase. Call is open to professional artists residing in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Montana, Idaho or Alaska. Deadline is August 28th at 11pm (Pacific Daylight Time.) For an application, go to https://www.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=2716. If you have questions, contact Deborah Paine at [email protected] or call (206) 684-7132.
“Best Methods: The How-To’s of Presenting Your Art” is a presentation by co-founders of METHOD Gallery on what makes for a strong and successful application for a solo art show. This event is exclusive to Pilchuck and Artist Trust members only. Takes place Sept. 17 from 5 – 6:30pm at the Seattle Office of Pilchuck Glass School. Please RSVP through Brown Paper Tickets in order to attend this event. Light snacks and refreshments are provided. Email [email protected] to join that non-profit arts organization.
The Gar LaSalle Storyteller Award gives $10,000 out to a Washington State artist who is engaged in storytelling through their work in various artistic disciplines. The discipline focus for this year’s award will be Literature (fiction). Future awards will focus on different disciplines to be announced each year. Deadline is Sept. 9th, 2015. Go to gerardlasalle.com/gar-lasalle-storyteller-award/ for details.
“I Am An Artist” is an intensive workshop that prepares you for an art career. This two-day interactive workshop for artists of all disciplines shows you how to prepare work samples, write an artist statement, resume & cover letter, find and pursue funding, promoting & marketing etc. Instructor is Nichole DeMent. Takes place Oct. 3 & 4 from 9am – 4pm at 12th Ave. Arts. Go to www.brownpapertickets.com to buy tickets.