The world of printmaking in Japan has been dominated by men but after World War II, all that would change. “Breaking Barriers – Japanese Women Print Artists 1950 – 2000” focuses on the work of five exceptional women who were pioneers of printmaking in the postwar decades. Features the work by Minami Keiko, Shinoda Toko, Yoshida Chizuko, Matsubara Naoko and Oda Mayumi. Curated by Maribeth Graybill. On view through April 12, 2015. Portland Art Museum. 1219 SW Park Ave. (503) 226-2811.
“IN-Between” is the title of an installation of the work by the Seattle architectural firm of Suyama, Peterson Deguchi. This inaugural exhibit is at the Gould Court in the UW College of Built Environments. Remains on view through Feb. 22nd. Free and open to the public. Presented by The College of Built Environments’s Gould Pavillion. 224 Gould Hall on the Seattle UW campus. (206) 543-7679 or [email protected].
“@ Large: Ai Wei Wei on Alcatraz” is the name of a new series of installations that this Chinese artist and political activist has put together. For someone who has been under house arrest for years and unable to leave the country, this artist has been amazingly busy producing work through the tools of the internet. This latest installation has seven pieces in four locations, offering a new cultural lens through which to experience the notorious military and federal penitentiary turned national park. Presented by the FOR-SITE Foundation in partnership with the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the exhibition explores urgent questions about human rights and freedom of expression and responds to the potent and layered history of Alcatraz as a place of detainment and protest. To order advance tickets, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/large-. For more information about the project, visit http://www.for-site.org/. On view through April 26th.
“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 has a stunning new show of work entitled “EROS” at the Swiss gallery Kunstforum/Solothurn. Comes with a lovely catalogue. As ever, his juicy figures breathe life and the immediacy of emotion. For information, email [email protected].
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – On Feb. 21st at noon, a children’s storytime about Sydney the lamb and learn about defining qualities of a sheep in Oliver Chin’s “Year of the Sheep”. Free. 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 Isander immigration . This exhibit which opens March 5th from 6 – 8pm will look at the cultural and political climate that pushed for this act. Free. Sat., March 14th “Commemorating Wing Chong Luke” looks at the Museum’s namesake as friends evoke the memories of this progressive Chinese American local politician. 1pm. $9 suggested donation. Moderated by former Museum Executive Director Ron Chew. Story Time for Sat., March 21st will be around Oliver Chin’s “Julie Black Belt and the Belt of Fire”. Free at noon. Family Fun Day for March 21st at 1pm asks viewers to see the new “Who Gets to Belong?” exhibit and create a mixed media collage that honors your own family. Led by local artist Romson Bustillo. Free. “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. This show will make for a good initial introduction. “RESIST – Asian American Acts of Struggle” remains on view through Jan. 18th, 2015. Wing Luke also co-sponsors a new exhibition “Voices of Nisei Veterans” at the Nisei Veterans Committee (NVC) Hall. Oral history testimonies and rare collections tell the story of Japanese American veterans before, during and after World War II. “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. A new exhibit entitled “Puppet Power! Asian Traditions Come to Life” opened on July 19th. See innovative creations from Asian American puppet artists, video performances and hands-on puppet play. Created in partnership with the Northwest Puppet Center and the Valentinetti Puppet Museum. Still on view is “ART IN MOTION: The Evolution of Board Culture” From surf board to skate board, learn how Asian Americans have contributed to this thriving culture. Curated by Gabriel Goldman of Platform Inc. Includes the work of Wally Inouye, Nhon Nguyen, Nin Truong, Junichi Tsuneoka and Mike Yoshida. Free Fa- Still on view is “#iconic: Power and Pop Culture” which explores how Asian American pop icons are made and what it means to look up to – or challenge – these figures. “Hometown Desi: South Asian Culture in the Pacific Northwest” is a semi-permanent display that opened Oct. 3. It will explore the history of South Asians in this area up to the present. Family Fun Day on Sat. Feb. 21st from 1 – 3pm features Mizu Sugimura who will show you how to craft traditional Japanese plates of celebration. Free. A “Dumpling Tour” centered around restaurants in the local neighborhood is available in Feb. and March. If interested, contact the tour coordinator at (206) 623-5124×133.719 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.
Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park – “Colored Vases” is the first work by Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei acquired by Seattle Art Museum. The artist took ancient earthenware vases and dipped them in buckets of industrial paint allowing them to drip dry. By covering the surfaces with a new paint, what is underneath – like history itself – is “no longer visible, but is still there.” The irony is that they play on the question and question authenticity issues that the artist likes to raise in today’s market for Chinese Art. First Free Saturday family activity takes place from 11am – 2pm. March 7th is a celebration of Girls Day, a Japanese holiday with family activities. April 4th create a spring-inspired collage of cherry blossoms. May 2nd make watercolor landscapes and a collage frame. Each activity is complimented with a children’s film.For complete information on all events, go to seattleartmuseum.org.
“Nature and Pattern in Japanese Design” is a related exhibition to “Deco Japan” in two parts that will be shown at Seattle Art Museum downtown. Part 2 begins August 16th, 2014 and continues till April 19th, 2015. Coming August 30th is “City Dwellers: Contemporary Art from India” which looks at the shift towards urban centers and the culture and arts of the city. Organized by SAM from the collection of Sanjay Parthasarathy and Malini Balakrishnan. “Visual Vertigo” is an intriguing new group exhibit of twelve Australian aboriginal artists whose canvases mesmerize you with their density of pattern. On view through July 6th, 2015. Visit sam.org or call (206) 654-3100.
Washington-based painter Lynda Lowe whose work is heavily influenced by both the scientific and metaphysical has her first solo exhibit in Seattle at Abmeyer & Wood Fine Art through Feb. 1210 Second Ave. (206) 628-9501.
“BAM Biennial 2014: Knock On Wood”, a group show of artists working with wood on view through March 29th, 2015. Includes work by Humaira Abid and June Sekiguchi. Bellevue Arts Museum. 510 Bellevue Way NE. Go to www.bellevuearts.org.
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. “Photographic Presence and Contemporary Indians: Matika Wilbur’s Project 562” is the first installment of Matika Wilbur’s ambitious project to capture contemporary Native American life by documenting people from all 562 federally recognized tribes in the US. 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. Tacoma Art Museum is at 1701 Pacific Ave. (253) 272-4258 or go to TacomaArtMuseum.org.
Chinese painting by Ann Gan is on view at Parkland Gallery at 130 Park Lane in Kirkland through February. (425) 827-1462.
Juliet Shen will be in a group show entitled “Duwamish Artist Residency” set for March 5th – 26th, 2015 at Gallery4Culture. The show sheds light on the activities of twelve studio artists who gather every summer to work together for a week at various spots along the river. For details on their work, go to duwamishresidency2012.wordpress.com. Please note that as of 2015, Gallery4Culture will no longer have shows during the months of December and August. Shows continue during the other ten months.
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. Upcoming exhibit is “Before Memories Fade: Uncovering the Story of the Kida Family of White Salmon” tentatively scheduled to Open Nov. 8 and remain on view through Feb. 22, 2015. Open Tu. – Sat. 11am – 3pm and Sundays, noon – 3pm. 121 NW 2nd Ave. (503) 224-1458 or email [email protected].
The Museum of Contemporary Craft. Upcoming April 17th – August 16th in 2015 is “The New Frontier: Young Designer-Makers in the Pacific NW”. 724 NW Davis St. in Portland. (503) 223-2654 or go to mocc.pnca.edu.
The Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver BC, Canada has the following. On view until April 6th is “Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art” which looks at how Chinese artists today view their tradition. Re-working traditional aesthetics in conceptual ways, artists use new forms and media – such as digital animations and site-specific installations-to provide a myriad of means to understand and examine traditions influence on visual culture in present-day China. Work by Ai Weiwei, Xu Bing, Yunfei Ji, Sun Xun, Chen Shaoxiong, Zhang Enli, Madein Company, Liu Jianhua, Qiu Shihua and Jennifer Wen Ma. In related news, VAC will launch a new Institute of Asian Art expanding its exhibitions, collections, programs and create a new endowed Senior Curator of Asian Art. Future exhibitions planned include a project with Tsang Kinwah, a major exhibition of contemporary art from India and the continued growth of the museum’s permanent collection of contemporary Asian Art. 750 Hornby St. (604) 662-4719 or go to vanartgallery.bc.ca.
“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.
In conjunction with the Henry Art Gallery’s current exhibition by Ann Hamilton entitled “the common S E N S E” on view through April 26th, 2015, the museum presents a series entitled “ARTBREAKS” in which artists, scholars, and community members present different ways to think about and relate to the materials and ideas in the art on view. On Sat., March 21st at 2:30pm, musician and sound artist Susie Kozawa will speak. All events take place at the Henry unless otherwise noted. Visit henryart.org for tickets and more information.
ARTSWEST Gallery in West Seattle. Trung Pham and Edward Lee are part of a group show entitled “On Capturing Transient Bodies” that also includes the work of Patty Haller, and Ingrid Lahti. Opens Jan. 15th and remains on view until March 7th. 4711 California Ave. N.W. (206) 938-0339 or go to artswest.org. Open Thurs. – Sat.
“Hand and Wheel – Contemporary Japanese Clay” looks at the long-standing ceramic tradition in Japan and surveys the work of modern ceramic artists working from the traditional to the contemporary. Organized by the Portland Art Museum and curated by Maribeth Graybill, Ph.D., The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Asian Art. On view through June 21, 2015. 1219 S.W. Park Ave. (503) 226-2811.
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.
“Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop” (see related article in this issue) – The disaster of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and nuclear accident came as both a shock and inspiration for Japanese Neo-Pop artist Mr. In response he created a massive installation composed of everyday objects from Japanese life. It forms the centerpiece for this show with a series of new paintings and other work. Organized by SAM, this retrospective is his first solo exhibition in a U.S. museum. A protégé of Takashi Murakami, the icon of Japanese Pop art and a member of the otaku subculture, Mr.’s work is marked by an obsessive interests in anime and manga. This exhibition is organized by SAM in collaboration with Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd., Galerie Perrotin and Lehmann Maupin Gallery. In the Tateuchi Galleries of the Seattle Asian Art Museum and remains on view until April 5th, 2015. A arts event connected to the Mr. exhibition is “Manga, Music & Japanese Fusions: Art Globally”. Shodo expert Frenchy Lunning, art historian Melanie King and Seattle artist Maki Tamura tackle the touchy subject of girl imagery in Mr.’s work. Explore contemporary Japanese art and architecture fusions with architect Rob Hutchison. Enjoy globally-infused tunes by local band, Comfort Food with Bob Antolin. Happy hour from 5:30pm – 6:30pm with a cash bar. Tickets are $15 and $10 for SAM members. Includes complimentary small bites. “Conceal/Reveal: Making Meaning in Chinese Art” is a show that features a collection of Chinese Art curated with the intent of drawing a thematic line of “layered meaning” between all pieces. Opens Dec. 20th and remains on view through June 21st, 2015. 1400E. Prospect St. in Volunteer Park. (206) 654-3100 or go to seattleartmuseum.org.
Curator/sculptor/installation artist June Sekiguchi unleashes a whirlwind of activity by showing the fruits of her creative labors in various guises/projects/exhibitions and we are the richer for it. Her massive piece entitled “Pineal Canopy” comprised of 36,000 hand tied knots dipped in wax and threaded through 368 router pinecone disks is included in the BAM Biennial “Knock on Wood” on view through March 29th, 2015. 510 Bellevue Way NE. (425) 519-0770. “Taki” (waterfall in Japanese) is a site specific piece to be permanently placed in the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery of Seattle Municipal Tower inspired by the famous woodblock print by Hokusai entitled “A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces”. 700 5th Ave. in downtown Seattle on the 6th floor. This piece can be seen from Oct. 23rd, 2014 on along with other pieces by Marita Dingus, Humaira Abid and Gustavo Martinez as curated by Preston Hampton. Finally Sekiguchi will be involved in a group show entitled “The Incredible Intensity of Just Being Human” which intends to examine the stigma and silence surrounding mental illness. A variety of people, from mental health advocates to community leaders/organizations will come together to speak about mental illness and its effects on our society. Sekiguchi’s son, Quin Breeland has created QR code links to the artists’ works and will have an audio/visual experiential multi-media piece. Opening reception for this show is Jan. 9th, 2015 from 4 – 6pm. Tours by artists paired with mental health professionals are scheduled throughout the exhibition. Sekiguchi tours with Eli Hastings, marriage and family counselor and assistant director of Pongo Teen Writing on Jan. 13th at 12pm. At Seattle City Hall at 600 4th Ave. in the 4th floor lobby and Anne Focke Gallery.
Seattle photographer/educator Carina del Rosario has the following events now up or upcoming. Starting from March 2015, a selection from Carina’s “Passport Series” will be included in Wing Luke Museum’s upcoming post-1965 Immigration Act exhibition. For complete details on all these events, contact the artist direct at [email protected].
ArtXchange Gallery presents the following – Painter William Song has his first solo show exhibiting his non-representational paintings that range from pure color fields to patchy swaths that use several hues spread by the deft strokes of a painter’s knife. Remains on view through March 28th. 512 First Ave. S. (206) 839-0377 or go to artxchange.org. Open Tues. – Sat.
“Silent Scream” is a textile art exhibit that honors and memorializes the experiences of Korean “comfort women” – young women who were recruited and forced into sexual slavery in Japan’s military brothels in Asia. The artist Eun-Kyung Suh uses silk organza to create boxes printed with photo images of the victims and their journal entires. Through Feb. 19th at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus Gallery in Terrell Hall Room 102. 705 N. Killingworth St. in Portland, Oregon. Open M – F from 9am – 5pm. (971) 722-5326 or go to www.pcc.edu/about/galleries/cascade.
“What I am seeking (now) is an expression of anguish, but not something depressing that ends in self-pity…not to show off my anguished feelings but a form of humor that laughs off such emotions. It is close to nonsense.” So would write the late Japanese artist Tetsuya Ishida (1973-2005). A melancholy man opens his shirt to reveal a detailed map drawn or tattooed upon his torso. Behind him, a line of bright fire stretches across a blue stream. Later, a remarkably similar face appears in the seat of a baby’s stroller, a toddler in red overalls guiding it through the grass. Next, the head is transported into the cab of a backhoe, an open beer tilled from the bucket, filling a glass extended by someone out of frame. This is the world of Tetsuya Ishida. “Tetsuya Ishida: Saving the World with a Brushstroke” is the first U.S. exhibition of paintings by this artist, who died in 2005. Ishida blended dreamlike realities with everyday life and melancholy isolation with bizarre wit, producing a body of work that triggers strong emotions but actively resists easy explanation. Now on view until Feb. 22nd at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco at 200 Larkin St. downtown. (415) 581-3500 or go to.
On view till June 7, 2015 is “Elegance & Nobility: Modern & Contemporary Korean Literati Taste”. And finally “Vistas of a World Beyond: Traditional Gardens in Chinese Material Culture” is on view until July 5, 2015.University of Oregon Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. 1430 Johnson Lane in Eugene. (541) 346-3027 or visit jsma.uoregon.edu.
“Xu Bing: Writing Between Heaven And Earth” opens Feb. 21st and remains on view through May 24th . This epic installation is rarely exhibited in its entirety. The work challenges viewer’s perceptions of cultural identity and language. Trained in China as a master printmaker, Bing grew up in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution. A core tenet of his work is the preservation of Chinese culture and traditions. Chinese characters and traditional landscapes feature prominently in his work. Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at 10975 South 17th St. in Miami, Florida. Go to thefrost.fiu.edu or call (305) 910-7762.
South Korean ceramic artist Jae Yong Kim, presently based in New York where he teaches at Montclair State University is profiled in TWELV Magazine out of New York City. Email [email protected] for details.
“Takahiro Iwasaki: In Focus” is the Japanese artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States. The exhibition comprises a newly commissioned work by the artist known for creating detailed miniature landscapes using found and recycled materials. The transformation of these objects from trash into sublime sculpture underscores the artist’s belief in the “duality of chaos and order imprinted on everyday life.” For this show, the artist selected as his inspiration a pair of seventeenth-century Japanese folding screens from the Asia Society Museum Collection, titled “Flowers and Grasses of the Four Seasons” His newly crated work will be shown alongside the six-panel screens which are part of the Rockefeller Collection. On view January 27th – April 26th, 2015. “Buddhist Art of Myanmar” is the first exhibition in the West devoted solely to this country. Around 70 works on loan from collections in Myanmar and the U.S. from the fifth to the early twentieth century . Feb. 10th – May 10th. Asia Society Museum at 725 Park Ave. in New York City. Go to AsiaSociety.org/museum for details.
SURFACE is a New York-based magazine that focuses on contemporary design and fashion but their latest issue (Dec/Jan.) is their annual art issue which in this case, looks at China. Stories covered include an interview with artist/restauranter Michael Chow about the divide between China and the West, Ink Studio in Beijing which features work by artists doing contemporary work within the brush painting tradition, the mirage-like paintings of Cui Jie, Curator Wang Chunchen’s exhibition on China’s cultural changes and its relationship with the future at Michigan State University, one of the world’s most comprehensive Chinese photography exhibitions on view at Stavanger Art Museum in Norway and multi-media artist Wang Jianwei’s solo show at the Guggenheim. Go to surfacemag.com for details.
The Springtime Art Foundation of the Netherlands presents “North Korean Hidden Treasures Revealed”, an exhibition of paintings by North Korean artists, some of whom are international award-winners. This marks the first exhibition of North Korean artists held in South Korea. This show has already toured Europe. Jan. 29th – March 6th. At Kintex Hall 6A in Seoul. O31-995-8183 for information.
The Shenzhen Symphony (see related article elsewhere in this issue) make their Seattle/North American debut in a 2015 Chinese New Year Concert set for Feb. 25th at 7:30pm at Benaroya Hall. Conducted by Jindong Lai with virtuoso pianist Yin Chengzong and the legendary Zhao Cong on pipa. Call (866) 833-4747.
EMP’s Sound Off! is an annual competition that lets musicians 21 and under strut their stuff in a public showcase. Three semi-final rounds lead to a winner in the finals. Emma Lee Toyoda competes in the third semi-finals on Fri., Feb. 27th. At EMP’s Skychurch. 120 Sixth Ave. N. (206)770-2700 or go to empmuseum.org for details.
“The Kanaka Legacy” is a concert celebration tracing the historical migration of the earliest Hawai’ians to the Pacific Northwest. With a film preview show and concert with Charles Brotman and Charlie Recaido of Kuhala. With hula, music, stories and food of the islands. Feb. 25th at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and Feb. 28th at Asia Pacific Cultural Center in Tacoma. March 1st at Open Space Arts & Community Center on Vashon Island. Go to http://www.alohaislandtreasures.net for details.
“Smile for Japan” is a fundraising evening of art and music commemorating the 4th anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Arts & crafts, food & drinks and a raffle drawing. Suggested donation of $10. Set for March 8th at 4pm at Oddfellows Hall at 1706 Market St. in Seattle. Go to www.smileforjapanseattle.com for details.
Lyric Opera Northwest presents their production of “Madame Butterfly” set for March 13th at 7pm and March 15th at 3pm. This production features a lot of local talent including Grace Eun and Dohee Kim in the female leads and Mark Mariko Ohno as part of a Kabuki dance part. In addition, Eduardo Villa who is a regular guest at the Metropolitan Opera in New York comes to Seattle to play the male lead. Atll performances at the Moore Theatre at 2nd & Virginia in downtown Seattle. Tickets available at the Paramount Theatre Box Office at 9th & Pine open M – F from 10 – 6pm and the Moore Theatre 90 minutes prior to the show. Also you can get tickets 24/7 at Tickets.com kiosks just outside the Moore, Paramount and Neptune Theatres or by calling (877) 784-4849.
Northwest Children’s Theater in Portland present an original adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic “The Jungle Book” through March 1st. It was created in partnership with Anita Menon’s Anjali School of Dance. 1819 NW Everett St. (503) 222-4480 or visit www.nwcts.org.
Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in Tacoma. On May 16th, Northwest Sinfonietta presents “The Taiwanese Connection”, a classical concert highlighting Taiwanese contemporary composer Gordon Chin’s premiere of his composition dedicated to Taiwan. Also Taiwanese violinist Mae Lin plays Mendelssohn’s Violin concerto.7:30 pm at the Rialto. 901 Broadway in Tacoma.
Seattle Symphony plays host to a full season of events. Here are some highlights. “Celebrate Asia!” is the annual East meets West signature Seattle Symphony event set for March 1st. Carolyn Kuan conducts the orchestra in a program of music by A. R. Rahman, Yugo Kanno in a Seattle Symphony Commission U.S. Premiere and music by Tan Dun. Musical guests include Chiaki Endo on koto, Dozan Fujiwara on shakuhachi and Meeka Quan DiLorenzo on cello. Yuja Wang returns as piano soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas in a program of Britten, Gershwin and Shostakovich on April 1st. April 21st brings the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra to town under the baton of Myung-Whun Chung with Sunwook Kim on piano. Yo Yo Ma, cello virtuoso plays one afternoon only with the Symphony on May 3rd at 2pm. On May 26th, violinist Pinchas Zukerman performs with pianist Angela Cheng. Visit Seattlesymphony.org or call (206)215-4747.
Stuart Dempster, Professor Emeritus at the UW School of Music leads his Bull Roarchestra (including sound artist Susie Kozawa and percussionist/composer Paul Kikuchi) in performance in the exhibition room for the current exhibit “Ann Hamilton: THE COMMON SENSE” on Fri., Feb. 20th at 7pm. Visit henryart.org for tickets and more information.
Book-It Repertory’s adaptation of David Guterson’s “Snow Falling on Cedars” plays the Bainbridge Performing Arts Center March 13th – 28th, 2015. (206) 842-8569.
Soprano Haeran Hong sings in the Seattle Opera production of Richard Strauss’ “Aradauf Naxos” set for May 2 – 6th, 2015. Go to http://seattleopera.org for details.
Town Hall Seattle “Global Rhythms” series has the following. The Hamsaz Ensemble play a concert entitled “Iran Through the Centuries” on Thurs., March 26, 2015 at 7pm. Rounding off the “Global Rhythms” Series is Saigon’s Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre featuring Rup Tung Cack on Fri., May 15th at 8pm. This is a 1,000 year-old folk art form. 1119 Eighth Ave. (206) 652-4255 or email [email protected] or go to townhall.org for details.
ACT Young Playwrights Program presents a “Young Playwrights Festival” set for March 5th – 7th. Features eight award-winning plays from ACT’s Fall-in-school Young Playwrights Program in which young playwrights from 12 – 18 years old work with adult actors and directors from Seattle and participate in rehearsals to bring their plays from the page to the stage. One of the playwrights is Madeleine Lo from Seattle Academy whose play entitled “The Doctor in the Aoi Dai” will be performed in Program B. For details call (206) 292-7676 or go to acttheatre.org.
Zakir Hussein, Indian table virtuoso is always exploring new ways of presenting his music. In his latest venture, he blends Indian and Celtic traditions trying to find a musical thread that connects. March 20th at the Moore Theatre.1932 – 2nd Ave. (206) 487-5510 or go to www.stgpresents.org.
UW Music collaborates with the student-led Improvised Music Project for a series of concerts for IMPFEST VII with a house band of UW instructors and visiting faculty and jazz studies students. Hard to go wrong with a band consisting of Steve Swallow, Chris Cheek, Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu and Ted Poor. May 1st – 3rd, 2015. All performances at the Ethnic Cultural Center on 3931 Brooklyn Ave. NE in Seattle. $20 general and $12 students. (206) 543-4880.
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” 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].
Cirque Du Soleil’s latest production entitled “KURIOS – Cabinet Of Curiosities” appears under the big top Jan. 29th – March 22nd at Marymoor Park. For details, go to cirquedusoleil.com/kurios.
Srivani Jade, Indian vocalist is the UW Winter Quarter Ethnomusicology Visiting Artist. She gives a recital with her students on “Hindustani Khyal Music from India” on tues. , March 10th at 7:30pm in Brechemin Auditorium in the Music Building on the Seattle UW campus. (206) 543-4880. $5 tickets. (206) 543-4880.
UW School of Music alumna Wendy Yamashita, now a faculty member at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa returns to UW Seattle to give a “Master Class and Recital” on April 28th and 29th, 2015. Expect a program of Mozart and Chopin for the 28th recital at 7:30pm with $15 tickets. The April 29rd Master class is free and starts at 4:30pm. Brechemin Auditorium in the Music Building on the Seattle UW campus. (206) 543-4880.
Noted award-winning jazz pianist Vjay Iyer will be one of the many highlights of the Portland Jazz Festival set for Feb. 18th – March 11th. Tickets available at PDXJazz.com or call (503) 328-5299. Also Korean American jazz saxophonist/singer Grace Kelly headlines the 48th Annual University of Idaho Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival from Feb. 25th – 28th. More at (208) 885-7212 or go to uidaho.edu/jazzfest.
Emerald City Comicon takes place March 27 – 29th at Washington State Convention Center. Many stars from the comics world will be there. Go to emeraldcitycomicon.com for details. Also the ever-popular Sakura Con will have their annual convention of everything anime, manga, cosplay, activities and dances. Get your costume ready. Set for April 3rd – 5th. Washington State Convention Center. Got to www.SakuraCon.org for details.
ACT Theatre celebrates their 50th anniversary with their 2015 Season. Some highlights include the following –“Threesome” by Seattle playwright Yussef El Guindi is a world premiere co-production with Portland Center Stage set for June 5th – 28th. Jeanne Sakata’s “Hold These Truths” based on the true story of UW student Gordon Hirabayashi who confronts the government over their orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast During WW II was a sold-out hit in a short run last year. Now it returns for a multi-week run July 17th – August 16th.700 Union St. (206) 292-7676 or go to acttheatre.org.
Seattle composer/musician/performance artist Byron Au Yong remains busy as always. He is working on “TRIGGER” with writer Aaron Jafferis prompted by the April 16th tragedy at Virginia Tech, where a Korean American student shot 32 people and then killed himself. He is also working on a performance piece entitled “TURBINE” for over 88 singers and nine dancers set for May at the Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia. Current compositions are for a piano trio entitled “Lost Fireflies” and Mo Sheng: Ink Sound for string quartet.
Bay Area performing arts couple “First Voice” consisting of performance artist/storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki and composer/musician/jazz bassist Mark Izu has a lot of creative irons in the fire. Their new project entitled “SUITE J-TOWN – The Art Of Resilience” has its world premier in the May of 2015 in San Francisco’s Japantown community. It pays tribute to the 100-year history of Japantown through music, dance, visual art, story, sound collage, video and site-specific installations performed in different historic sites. Created by First Voice with the collaboration of the next generation ‘hapa’ artists, “the project will rediscover and strengthen the soul of a community in an effort to continue our presence in today’s rapidly changing San Francisco landscape.” Other projects include a new commission with conductor Kent Nagano based in Montreal. Locally we can expect to see Brenda and Mark come to Seattle with a production entitled “Uncle Gunjiro’s Girlfriend” August 12th, 2015, a tale from Brenda’s family history. For booking information you can contact calartists.com or the artists direct at www.aokizu.com.
Film & Media
Last chance to catch former comedian/now film director Hitoshi Matsumoto’s “R100” which ends Feb. 19th at the Grand Illusion. A man raises his son and tends to his wife in a coma. He signs up for an unusual escort service in which a dominatrix visits him at irregular hours. 1403 NE 50th St. (206) 523-3935.
“Big in Japan” is a Seattle produced film about a Seattle band who go to Japan to try and jumpstart their sagging career. Feb. 20th – 26th. Northwest Film Forum. 1515 – 12th Ave. (206) 329-2629.
Rinko Kikuchi (“Babel”) stars in “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter”, a film about a Japanese woman who travels to Minnesota to look for a fortune that may or may not exist after seeing the movie, “Fargo”. Played last year’s SIFF. Opens March 20th at SIFF Film Center in Seattle Center.
“Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien” is Taiwan’s leading filmmaker. This series samples his filmography, presenting five films that span fifteen years of his career. March 20th – 28th and jointly presented by Northwest Film Forum and Grand Illusion Cinema which means all films are shown once at each location. I remember when I first saw “A Time to Live and a Time to Die” and what an eye-opener it was in kicking out the windows of the government revisionist version of Taiwan history, showing the real struggles of the local people before Chiang Kai-shek got there. Films to be shown include “A Time to Live and a Time to Die”, “Dust in the Wind”, “Good Men, Good Women”, “Flowers of Shanghai” and “Millenium Mambo”. Go to http://nwfilmforum.org/live/page/series/3446 for details.
“Gangs of Wasseypur” by director/writer/producer Anurag Kashyap brings the “Godfather” to India as he traces seventy years in the lives of two mafis-like families fighting for control of the coal-mining town of Wasseypur, India. Opens for a week on Feb. 20th at SIFF Film Center. Near the corner of Warren Ave. N. and Republican St. on the Seattle Center campus. For tickets and info., go to Siff.net or call (206) 324-9996.
Opening March 9th is “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, a sequel to the successful first film about British seniors who find a new home in an Indian hotel. With Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Richard Gere. Opens at several Seattle theatres.
Eddie Huang’s new TV comedy “Fresh Off the Boat” premieres on ABC on Feb. 10th with a pilot directed by Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton. The series is based on Huang’s original memoir of the Huang family and young Eddie as they relocate from D.C. to Orlando in the early 1990’s.
The Written Arts/Talks
Indigenous Asian hunter-gatherers of ancient ancestry, once defined as a separate “Negrito race” due to their African appearance still survive in the Philippines, Malaysia and India’s remote Andaman Islands. Author/activist Edith Mirante reveals their contemporary lives in a slide show based on her new book “The Wind in the Bamboo”. Presented by Southeast Asia Center, Center for Human Rights and Center for Global Studies. Feb. 24th at 6:30pm in Room 101 of Thomson Hall on the University of Washington Seattle campus. For details, go to humanrights.washington.edu.
Seattle poet Michelle Penaloza was in the January 2015 issue of CityArts in the cover story “2015 Future List – Meet the artists and innovators who will shape the year to come”. Her latest project “landscape/heartbreak” are poems inspired by walks with people who volunteered to discuss personal trauma in the context of landscape.That book is available now in bookstores across the city. Penaloza will read with Washington Poet-Laureate Elizabeth Austin on the theme of public and private landscapes as part of the WordsWest Literary Series curated by West Seattle writers Katy E. Ellis, Susan Rich and Harold Taw. The series appears every third Wednesday at C & P Coffee Company. March 18th at 7pm. 5612 California Ave. S.W.
Gardner Center For Asian Art And Ideas presents Saturday University in partnership with the University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies and Elliott Bay Book Company a new series of lectures entitled “Crossing the Indian Ocean: Asia/Africa Connections. Every Saturday at 9:30am at Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Stimson Auditorium. Topics include the following – Feb. 21st is “African Rulers, Generals, Sufi Saints and Court Elite”, Feb. 28th is “A Moveable Feast: Sufi Festivals from the Silk Road Indian Ocean”, March 7th is “Decorative Arts in the Age of Slavery”, March 14th is “Calligraphic Abstraction: Modern Art in Asia and Africa”, March 21st is “A Global Health View:China and Africa”, March 28th is “Everybody Was Kung Fiu Fighting: Afro-Asian World” and finally on April 4th, “Understanding China’s Booming Relations with Africa-Historical perspectives”.1400 E. Prospect St. in Volunteer Park. For more information, please go to www.seattleartmuseum.org.
Also just out is Hugo House’s schedule of “Creative Writing Classes – January – April, Winter 2015. This Seattle institution is a haven for writers seeking to hone their craft through workshops, classes and readings by local and nationally known writers. Some highlights include the following –Poet, translator and author EJ Koh teaches a class entitled “The Novel You Want To Write VS. The Novel You Need To Write” Feb. 25th to April lst. Seattle author Bharti Kirchner teaches a class entitled “The Everyday Personal Essay” on Jan. 24th. Seattle poet and recent Jack Straw Writing Fellow Michelle Penaloza teaches a class entitled “Let’s Get Poetical: Poetry Calisthenics” Jan. 13th – Feb. 17th. Western University Professor and Award-winning poet Oliver De La Paz teaches “Your Poetic Obsessions” on Feb. 28th. UW graduate student and published poet Jane Wong teaches a class entitled “Short But Not Sweet: Writing Short Poems” on Feb. 28th and March 7th. Schedules are available around town or go to hugohouse.org for details. Hugo House is located at 1634 – 11th Ave. on Capitol Hill. (206) 322-7030 or go to hugohouse.org.
“Author, Poet, and Worker: The World of Carlos Bulosan” is a new exhibit on view from through March 13, 2015 at the Allen Library Basement – Special Collections Lobby and Reference Room. In commemoration of the centennial of poet and author Carlos Bulosan’s birth, the exhibit draws on the papers of Bulosan, the cannery workers union, and various Filipino American labor leaders and community members within the broader context of Seattle’s Filipino American community and the progressive political culture in which he participated.
Seattle paper cut artist/activist Lauren Iida and her Antipodes Collective is currently in Cambodia distributing donated books for their children’s library in Prasot village in Cambodia. Donations fund things like pre-class meals for students, library construction and materials. For details on this project, or their first book entitled “In My Village” by Lauren Iida & Carolyn R. Hall, go to www.theantipodescollective.org.
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:
Frank Chin’s long-lost novel, “The Confessions of a Number One Son” (once entitled “Charlie Chan On Maui”) written during the 1970’s when he was stranded on the islands is finally seeing the light of day. It will be published by the University of Hawai’i as edited by Calvin McMillin. Set for March, 2015 publication. Chunks of the book were seen in a different format as the play-in-progress “Gee Pop!” back in the 70’s. Chin was recently in town to be interviewed for a filmed segment on his take on Asian American Theatre for the Theatre Communications Group. A tour with readings is planned for the book by McMillin at times in tandem with Chin.
“Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye” is a memoir by Marie Mutsuki Mockett that is part evocative travelogue and part lyrical meditation of grief in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan that affected her family in different ways.
Anne Elizabeth Moore’s books on her experience in Cambodia continues with “New Girl Law: Drafting a Future for Cambodia” (Cantankerous Titles). Moore works with young Cambodian girls in a year-long process to re -write the staunchly traditional and repressive Chbap Srei, a 17th century book intended to establish a code of conduct for young women. The book details that experience and how it affected the women involved. Go to cantankeroustitles.com for more information.
The late Ming Cho Lee was one of the most respected set designers in the history of American theatre. His new approaches radically altered the direction of American set design in the 20th century. “Ming Cho Lee – A Life In Design” (TCG) by Arnold Aronson is a book that looks at his life, his influences and lays out pictorially and in text, his major set designs for theatre productions across the country during his entire career.
“A Map of Betrayal” (Pantheon), the new novel by Ha Jin looks at the complex loyalties of a Chinese American spy who considers himself a patriotic citizen of both countries and the tragic results of those beliefs.
One of Chinese literature translator Howard Goldblatt’s projects was his translation of “Market Street – A Chinese Woman in Harbin” (UW Press) by Xiao Hong. Originally published in 1936, the then 20 year old author recounts two years of her life in Harbin from 1932-34. Hong is best known for “Field of Life and Death” and “Tales of Hulan River”. Comes with a new preface by the translator.
“The Seventh Day” (Pantheon) is the latest novel by Chinese writer Yu Hua. What happens to a young Chinese man who meets an accidental death and must roam the after world aimlessly, lacking the money for a burial plot. Hua tells his story as he encounters the souls of the people he’s lost.
“Soundtracks Of Asian America – Navigating Race Through Musical Performance” (Duke) is a new book by Grace Wang. In it she explores how Asian Americans use music to construct narratives of self, race, class, and belonging in national and transnational spaces.
Wave Books publishes poetry books but also has a pamphlet series. Each pamphlet is usually sent out to subscribers but a few copies of the latest Wave Pamphlet: Nine by local poet/writer Don Mee Choi entitled “Freely Frayed,ᄏ=q, & Race=Nation” is currently available for sale at local all-poetry bookstore, Open Books located in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. Essays consist of lectures Choi gave at AWP 2014 and a “Race & Creative Writing Conference 2014” at the University of Montana, Missoula on Korean poet Kim Hyesoon, the Korean language and a talk entitled “Reading Race”. 2414 N. 45th St. (206) 633-0811 or email [email protected].
“Meltdown in Tibet – China’s Reckless Destruction of Ecosystems From The Highlands of Tibet to The Deltas of Asia” (Palgrave Macmillan) by Michael Buckley chronicles the ecological abuses inflicted on this country by the Chinese government in the way of large-scale mining and hydropower projects.
Mariko Tamaki and jillian Tamaki’s graphic novel “This One Summer” (First Second Books) has won the Caldecott Honor, an award given to the most distinguished American picture book for children published each year. A coming-of-age story of a couple mixed-race Canadian girls in a small town.
Artist Trust At Large provides information for artists across the state. Help Artist Trust out by attending or donating art for their 2015 Benefit Art Auction set for March 7, 2015 at Fisher Pavillion Seattle Center. For details, go to artisttrust.org. Also writers may wish to apply for the 2015 EDGE Professional Development Program for Literary Artists with a deadline of Jan. 27th. 2015. There is a Feb. 17th, 2015 deadline for the Irving & Yvonne Twining Humber Award of $10,000 given annually to a female artist age 60 or over who has dedicated over 20 years or more to creating art. For details on this grant and how you can nominate someone, you can call (206) 467-8734×11 or 1-866-218-7878 or email [email protected]. Go to www.artisttrust.org for details.
The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation seeks to recognize innovative American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian artists and cultures across the country with their 2015 NACF Artist Fellowships. $20,000 per artist. Awards will be made in the categories of performing arts, filmmaking, literature, music, traditional arts and visual arts. Deadline of April 6th, 2015. Go to www.nativeartsandcultures.org to learn more or call (360) 314-2421.
Hugo House, the literary center that promotes Northwest writing has a few openings including Business & Operations Manager and internships in their youth programs. Go to hugohouse.org for details.
Congratulations to local percussionist/composer Paul Kikuchi and nationally known fiction writer Monique Truong who were among five finalists to receive U.S.-Japan Creative Artist Fellowships for 2015. Each recipient will spend a total of three months doing research in Japan.
It’s with sadness we note the passing of a contemporary cultural landmark in the city of Kyoto, Japan. The counter-culture café Honyarado recently burned down. It was started by photographer/community organizer Kai Fusayoshi in 1972 with his folk singer, poet and therapist friends and quickly became a center for community activism for local, national and international causes. Early causes were a movement to support a folk singer friend being prosecuted for obscenity and a “Campaign for the Release of South Vietnamese Political Prisoners”. For years it supplied coffee and cheap meals to nearby Doshisa University students. During the radical years of the peace movement, the café was known as a “Folk Mecca” of Kyoto because of the musicians who gathered there not to mention the many readings by local and internationally known poets such as Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, Garrett Hongo and the Japanese “Oral-Ha” group. I myself, have warm memories of reading poetry there and giving talks on Asian American artists. Gathering places like Honyarado are important centers for community activism and the arts that comes out of such activity. Rest in peace, Honyarado.