“Thread It Together: Sewing and Quilting Workshop” takes place on Sat., June 25 from 12 – 3:30pm at Wing Luke Museum. In this workshop you can take a tour of the new exhibition “Everything Has Been Material for Scissors to Shape” and then contribute a quilt square to display in the upcoming exhibition, “stars Above: Wrapped in Lullabies”. Participates will decorate qult squares with words or images inspired by lullabies and their own childhood memories. They will learn how to sew by hand and with a sewing machine. Registration is required. Materials fee is $20 general and $10 for museum members. Participants get a take-home kit with needles, embroidery thread, fabric squares and embroidery hoop. For details call 206-623-5124×104 or email [email protected]
“Monkey Way” is the title of a catchy multi-media installation by Seattle artist Saya Moriyasu. It’s in the walkway window just past Starbuck’s as you transition from Chinatown/ID to the street across that leads to the trains that take commuters to Everett and Tacoma. In a lot of ways, this transition between cultures/places parallel’s the artist’s work as well. Her statement reads, “The current political situation is awkward in that it seeps into the work via monkeys and lots of shelves that are not functional. This moment of instability in US politics leads to inspirations from moments in history in France and China. Putting all these elements all together is a visual mash-up that comes from my life in a family mixed both in class and culture.” History, culture and identity mixed with whimsy comes from this display and grabs the attention of passersby. The work is up until October, 2016. For information on the artist, go to SayaMoriyasu.com. for information about the work, go to GGibsonGallery.com.
Kalsang Dawa teaches a four-day, two-weekend class entitled “Tibetan Painting Workshop” in which participants will learn how to create personal mandalas. June 4/5 and June 11/12 from 10 – 4pm. You will learn how to grind rocks, semi-precious minerals, and organic materials into powder. You will learn how to extract color from stones and to create mineral paint for your own mandala. Participants should bring brushes – sizes 1, 3 & 6. Buy tickets online. $380 for students/seniors and $360 for SAM members. 206-654-3210.
The work of craft artists Adam Chau and Tammy Young Eun Kim is included in the group show entitled “Atoms + Bytes – Redefining Craft in the Digital Age” now on view through June 26, 2016 at Bellevue Arts Museum. Organized by Bellevue Arts Museum and curated by Jennifer-Navva Milliken. 510 Bellevue Way NE. 425-519-0770 or go to bellevuearts.org.
“Unsettled/Resettled: Seattle’s Hunt Hotel” is a new exhibit that tells the story of the Hunt Hotel’s role in the resettling of the Japanese community in Seattle after WW II. Within the walls of the present-day historic buildings at 1414 S. Weller St. now known as the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington, the site served as temporary housing for Seattle Japanese and Japanese Americans during resettlement. Most residents were returning from the Minidoka Incarceration Camp in Hunt, Idaho. In the wake of WWII, over thirty families began to rebuild their lives. Here, children were raised and loved ones were lost until gradually the rooms were vacated to give way to community organizations and classroom as families moved out and resettled. This exhibit will help raise awareness of the long-lasting consequences of Executive Order 9066. Organized by Elisa Law, there will be a traveling exhibit and book coming as well. Free. Open M – F from 10 am – 5pm. For details, go to www.jcccw.org.
In anticipation of “Seeing The Light: Four Decades in Chinatown”, a new book of essays and photos by Seattle Chinatown/ID photographer/writer Dean Wong due soon from local publisher Chin Music Press, catch some of the dynamic new work he’s been doing in Chinatowns up and down the West Coast at Jack Straw Cultural Center now through Sept. 1. “New Street Photography” features work from Chinatowns in Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco. Wong will do a reading and book signing on Fri., June 17 at 7pm. 4261 Roosevelt Way NE. Go to www.jackstraw.org for more details.
The Cascadia Art Museum is a new museum in Edmonds dedicated to the legacy of the Northwest from the late 19th century to the mid-modernist period of the 1960’s. Coming in May are two shows – “Northwest Photography at Mid-Century” which includes the work of Yoshio Noma & Chao-Chen Yang and “Against The Moon:The Art of John Matsudaira (1922-2007)”, one of the forgotten members of the “Northwest School”. Through August 23, 2016. 190 Sunset Ave. #E in Edmonds. Hours are Wed. – Sun. from 11am – 6pm and Artwalk Edmonds Third Thursdays from 5 – 8pm. 425-336-4809.
Local paper-cut artist Lauren Iida has a busy schedule of shows throughout the area. Her work can always be seen at ArtXchange Gallery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. In addition, more shows include the following. “Strange Coupling” is a group show that pairs artists and art students in collaboration. Opens the evening of June 10 and runs over the weekend at the new art space at King Street Station. A new retail/gallery space in Ballard called Venue will also carry her work starting June 9. She has five works on view at The Gallery at Shoreline City Hall from June 9 – August 9. Her first public art project will be paper cutaways laser cut from metal and hung as banners along aurora between 175th and 205th. Sponsored by the city of Shoreline. She also has work at Make Shift Gallery in downtown Bellingham through June.Go to www.laureniida.com for full details.
“MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture” is the largest exhibition ever attempted at Vancouver Art Gallery and it will trace the evolution and development of art production known as “mashup”, collage or remix. Includes found images, objects, sound work from the turn of the twentieth century and examines how it has become a dominant force in our world today. With work by dozens of world artists working in a broad range of media including video, architecture, film sculpture, graphic design, industrial design, drawing, music, digital media, illustration and fashion design. Remains on view until June 12, 2016. 750 Hornby St. in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Go to www.vanartgallery.bc.ca for details.
Until June 15, 2016 you can view Naoko Morisawa’s public art piece entitled “Liberated Octopus” at Frances Anderson Center at 700 Main St. in Edmonds. For details, go to www.edmondswa.gov/arts-commission. Her work is included in the Poet Garden, a Seattle Center art installation on view through August 1. Her work is also part of the “Morse Code Project” as selected by the City of Seattle/Seattle Center. For details, email [email protected].
In “Running Race Ragged” artist Yoona Lee uses mixed media and collage to discuss contemporary race relations. Through June 5. Ghost Gallery at 504 E. Denny Way. 206-832-6063 or go to ghostgalleryart.com. Open daily.
“Project 562” is a series by Matika Wilbur that looks to document the lives of Native Americans today. Through June 11. The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve at 6410 23rd Ave. NE in Tulalip. 360-716-2600 or go to hibulbculturalcenter.org.
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.
An exhibit entitled “Beyond the Gate: A Tale of Portland’s Historic Chinatowns” remains on view through June 21, 2016. Free. Oregon Historical Society Museum. 1200 AW Park Ave. 503-222-1741 or visit www.ohs.org or go to www.chineseamerican.nyhistory.org.
The Portland Japanese Garden recently reopened after a six-month closure for construction on the Garden’s Cultural Crossing expansion project. For details, go to japanesegarden.com.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has the following upcoming shows. “Nanga – Literati Painting of Old Japan” through June 26, 2016. “Modernization in Meiji Japan (1868-1912) – Images of Changing Architecture, Transportation and War” through August 28, 2016. “China’s Favourite Pottery for Tea, Yixing Ware” from July 1 – Oct. 18, 2016. 1040 Moss St. in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Call 1-250-384-4171.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art located on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene has the following –Remaining on view until July 24, 2016 is “‘True’ Korean Landscapes & Virtuous Scholars” and “Benevolence & Loyalty: Filial Piety in Chinese Art” up until July 31, 2016. 1430 Johnson Lane. (541) 346-3027.
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – “Everything Has Been Material For Scissors To Shape” is a new group exhibition on textiles and how they move through history and myth, commodity culture and art, linking women’s hands and machines to Asian American identities.” It features the work of Surabhi Ghosh, Stephanie Syjuco and Aram Han Sifuentes. This show is on display through April 16, 2017. “New Years All Year Round” opens on Sat., Jan. 16. See how the New Year is celebrated in Japanese, Vietnamese, and Hmong cultures in this interactive and kid-friendly exhibit. Opening March 3 from 6 – 8pm is “Seeds of Change, Roots of Power: The Danny Woo Community Garden”, an exhibit that celebrates this neighborhood resource which preserves culture, tradition and identity. Tatau/Tattoo: Embodying Resistance. Explores the practices and cultural significance of tattoos, highlighting the unique perspectives of the South Pacific communities in the Pacific Northwest. “Khmer American: Naga Sheds Its Skin”. War has had a huge impact on Khmer culture and identity. Despite these challenges, the community continues to shape the US and Cambodia. “Spean Rajana: Khmer Community Mixer” is a chance to join local Khmer community activists as they walk through the exhibit and discuss issues facing their community and honor their elders. Takes place on Sat., June 18 from 1 – 3pm. To register for this free program, call 206-623-5124×104. “Tales of Tails: Animals in Children’s Books is a recent show to open at the museum. “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 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. The Museum is located at 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.
“Pacific Voices” is an ongoing exhibit that celebrates the language, teachings, art, and cultural ceremonies of seventeen cultures from the Pacific Rim. Burke Museum at the University of Washington. 17th Ave. NE & E 45th Streets. (206) 543-5590 or try Washington.edu/burkemuseum.
Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park – “Journey to Dunhuang – Buddhist Art of the Silk Road Caves” opens March 5 and stays on view through June 12, 2016 in the Foster Galleries. Discovered in 1943 and now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the caves are a treasure trove of Buddhist sculptures, manuscripts, painted scrolls, and wall paintings. The photographs of James and Lucy Lo, the couple who first discovered the caves will be on view as well as ancient manuscripts and artist renderings. To complement the show, there will be an installation of Buddhist art drawn from the SAM collection. Organized in cooperation with the Princeton University Art Museum and the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art. For details on this show, go to visitsam.org/dunhuang. First Free Saturday family activity takes place from 11am – 2pm. Opening April 9 and staying on view through Oct. 9, 2016 in the Tateuchi Galleries is “Mood Indigo: Textiles from Around the World.” The show looks at how the color blue creates so many moods in cloth around the world. Drawn primarily from SAM’s global textile collection, the show illuminates the historic scope of this vibrant pigment. On view will be tapestries from Belgium, a Chinese silk court robe, kimonos from Japan, batiks and ikats from Indonesia and Africa, and ancient fragments from Peru and Egypt. An immersive contemporary installation devoted to indigo by Rowland Ricketts with a soundtrack by sound artist Nobert Herber will also be on view. A related activity for this show on June 2 features artist/researcher Donald Fels who will talk about the history of indigo as it pertains to the show. Seattle Asian Art Museum is at 1400 Prospect St. in Volunteer Park. 206-442-8480 or go to seattleartmuseum.org/gardnercenter or [email protected].
The work of Humaira Abid, Lauren Iida, Paul Komada, Mark Takamichi Miller, Yuki Nakamura & others is included in a group show presented by Seattle Public Utilities entitled “Cultural Perspectives, Part 1” now on view through June 29, 2016. Parts 2 & 3 to follow with artworks from all genres represented. Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery at 700 Fifth Avenue, Level Three Concourse. Open during business hours. 206-684-7171.
The work of Malpina Chan, Julie Chen, Carletta Carrington Wilson and many others is included in “Just One Look”, a group show on view through July 29, 2016. Includes 32 newly commissioned art books by artists from across the country and the region inspired by a text proposed by faculty from the UW Humanities departments. Created as a component of the “Feminism and Classics Conference VII,” hosted by the Department of Classics and sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities. On view in the Allen Library in Special Collections in the Allen Library South Basement on the UW Seattle campus.
Congratulations to local multi-media artist Jason Hirata who won the Brink Award from Henry Art Gallery in 2015. Established in 2008, the award goes to a younger artist on “the brink” of an outstanding professional career. The winner receives $12,500, a solo exhibition at the Henry and an accompanying publication. The Henry will also buy a piece from the artist for their permanent collection. The award comes from Seattle philanthropists John and Shari Behnke. Hirata’s solo show at the Henry entitled “The Brink: Jason Hirata” explores the dynamics of the corporate state and food industry that shapes contemporary life. On view now through Sept. 11, 2016. The School of Art + Art History + Design has a thesis exhibition for graduating students May 28 – June 26. Some of the students whose work will be on display include MFA candidate Ellen (Jing) Xu and MDes candidates Jaewon Hwang and Catherine Lim. Email Merith at [email protected] if you have questions. 15th Ave. NE & NE 41st St. 206-543-2280 or go to www.henryart.org
Akio Takamori has been experimenting with larger-than-life ceramic figures, so large that he’ll bake them in the kiln section by section and then re-assemble them in pieces. He’s also interested in adding a more abstract spin to his work. Expect to see his new work Feb./March of 2017 at James Harris Gallery. 604 – 2nd Ave. 206-903-6220.
Northwest Art [email protected] 2016 is a juried group show of new contemporary art in the area. On view through August 21. Includes the work of artists like Humaira Abid, Paul Komada, Asia Tail and Lily Martina Lee. Tacoma Art Museum. 1701 Pacific Ave. 253-272-4258 or go to tacomaartmuseum.org.
Seattle artist Natalie St. Martin currently lives in Yongin City, a town south of Seoul South Korea. Currently teaching at Yongin University, the art she has done in her new surroundings is part of an exhibition entitled “Making Home – Finding my New Home in Korea” on view through June, 2016 at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center in Tacoma. For details, go to www.asiapacificculturalcenter.org or call Patsy Surh O’Connell at 253-226-2742.
Artist Lois Yoshida teaches a class entitled “Introduction to Ink and Brush Painting” at Frye Art Museum on July 5 – 8 from 10am – 4pm. 704 Terry. 206-622-9250.
Seattle artist Junko Yamamoto who studied at Pratt was recently interviewed in a Pratt Catalog. They offer a wide range of art classes/workshops. To find out about member benefits, go to www.pratt.org/engage/membership.
George Lee is a Seattle-based artist specializing in site-specific sculpture and social practice art. Last summer when he had to run from two random shootings in his neighborhood, he decided to create an art intervention with neighborhood youth mixing them up with nature and sculpture. The project called “City of Faces” is a sculpture of 30 birdhouses with fronts the cast faces of local youth, where birds enter through their mouths. It will be installed in Angel Morgan P-Patch in Seattle’s Brighton neighborhood on May 15 through October 15, 2016. Over 100 youth took part in workshops and learned about birds. The ceramic birdhouses are hug from organically curving posts of red cedar, a wood associated with life and ancestry in local tribes. Each birdhouse matches specific bird habitat needs. The piece explores themes of refuge/home, fertility/life/youth, and interconnection between human and non-human life. Lee is working with many Asian American youth at four local organizations in the Rainer Valley. A project with the Office of Arts & Culture, City of Seattle. For more information, go to www.georgeleestudio.com/city-of-faces/.
The East-West Center Arts Program presents “China Through The Lens of John Thomson 1869-1872”. In 1868 the Scottish photographer and travel writer spent four years in Hong Kong and China documenting the people and landscape. The range, depth and aesthetic quality of his photographic vision makes him stand out as one of the pioneers of travel photography. Grand opening on Sunday, June 5 from 2 – 3pm. On Sunday, June 26, Douglas D. L. Chang will give an illustrated talk entitled “Reflections of the Early Chinese in Hawai’i” – Images from Traditional to Transitional”. June 5 – Sept. 11, 2016. East-West Gallery is located in the John A. Burns Hall at 1601 East-West Rd. in Honolulu. Hours are weekdays 8 – 5pm and Sundays noon – 4pm. 808-944-7177. Go to http://arts.EastWestCenter.org for details.
Four years ago, Greg Kimura of Alaska was appointed president and chief executive of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles in an effort to boast attendance and reach a wider audience for the institution. As of the end of June, he will be stepping down to pursue other possibilities. Kimura was the first hapa or person of mixed race to run the museum. He was hired in the aftermath of a recession. He had goals to make the museum more sustainable, expose the Japanese American story to a wider audience and to reach out to a younger generation of Japanese Americans. He told the L.A. Times, “I came in with a pretty bold agenda, and for the most part I feel I’ve accomplished that.” “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” which also showed in Seattle at EMP broke every record at the museum in terms of attendance and museum store sales. Kimura was also proud of the show entitled “Before They Were Heroes: Sus Ito’s World War II Images,” an exhibition of photography taken while Ito served the decorated 442nd Regiment during WWII. Kimura was formerly CEO of the Alaska Humanities Forum and has a master’s in divinity from Harvard and a Phd in philosophy of religion from Cambridge. He gave no hint of future plans.
The San Diego Museum of Art has opened a new exhibit entitled “Brush And Ink: Chinese Paintings from The San Diego Museum of Art Selected by Pan Gongkai”. On view now through Sept. 4, 2016. The show has works spanning over 500 years of Chinese ink paintings. Along with the classic paintings from the tradition, the show is graced with new work by guest curator/ink painter Pan Gongkai. 1450 El Prado in Balboa Park. 619-232-7931 or go to http://www.sdmart.org.
“Narcissus Garden” was an installation created by the grande dame of contemporary Japanese art, Yayoi Kusama for the 33rd Venice Biennale back in 1966. She re-creates that piece consisting of over 1,000 mirrored spheres at the famed American architect Phillip Johnson’s historic glazed building in New Canaan, Connecticut known as the Glasshouse Museum. Kusama floats a landscape of metallic orbs that sweep across the meadow and forest of the grounds on the way to the building. Also as an added bonus during the month of September, visitors can see how she has turned the interior of the Glasshouse into a colorful polka-dot infinity room. “Narcissus Garden” is on view through November, 2016. For tickets for a tour, go to [email protected].
The noted Chinese artist Cai Quo-Qiang has curated a massive group show entitled “What About the Art? Contemporary Art from China” for the Quatar Museum. Highlights include a large sculptural sea monster part-octopus and part-squid by Huang Yong meant to symbolize the quick demise of the ocean by human pollution. Liu Wei has turned his rooms into a sculptural city make out of the synthetic material used to make rawhide dog chews. On view until mid-July, 2016. The Franco-Chinese sculptor Huang Yong has also just completed “Monumenta”, a new installation in Paris that rises off the ground in a green grid-like splendor.
The demise of industry in China’s Rust Belt has turned Harbin, a city founded by Russian colonists in the late 19th century and once known as “the Paris of the East” into a shadow of its former self. City officials are banking on the new Harbin Opera House designed by architect Ma Yansong and other architectural wonders such as a new museum to bring the city back into the world spotlight much like architect Frank Gehry did for Spain’s Bilbao Guggenheim Museum. From an article by Jacob Dreyer in The Atlantic Citylab link.
Tender Buttons is a Bay Area group composed of Tania Chen (pieano/electronic/toys), Gino Robair (modular electronics) and Tom Djill (modular/circuit-bent electronics) that rewinds classic electronic musics in a swarm of devices and languages. They play Sat. June 4 at 8pm with Syrinx Effects. At the Chapel Perforance Space at Good Shepherd Center on the 4th floor at 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. Go to [email protected] for details.
“To Savor Tomorrow” is noted Seattle food theatre artist group Café Nordo’s latest presentation. A comedy of international intrigue in the style of the classic James Bond films. The Nordo’s Culinarium in Pioneer Square will be transformed into the retro cabin of a Boeing 707 where global superpowers will fight over the food of the 21st century. The cast includes Sara Porkalob and Richard Nguyen Sloniker and is directed by Keira McDonald. Cuisine inspired by the food of 50 years ago will be served. Music by Annastasia Workman inspired by Henry Mancini. Through June 11. Go to www.cafenordo.com or call 1-800-838-3006. Tickets at brownpapertickets.com.
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 2016/2017. Bass vocalist Jonathan Lemalu is part of the choir performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Ludovic Morlot conducting January 5 and 7. Kevin Ahfat is featured pianist during the Symphony’s “Shostakovich Concerto Festival”. He’s perform with Pablo Rus Broseta conducting the following. On Thurs., Januanry 19 – Piano Concerto No. 1, Violin Concerto No. 2 and Cello Concerto No. 1. On Friday, January 20 – Cello Concerto No. 2, Piano Concerto No. 2 and Violin Concerto No. 1. Cellist Yo Yo Ma makes what seems to be one of annual Seattle visits when he performs a program of Bartok, Mozart and Haydn with Seattle Pymphony under the baton of Pablo Rus Broseta on Friday, October 14 at 8pm. On Sunday, March 26 at 4pm, the annual “Celebrate Asia” concert returns featuring movie music by famous Chinese and Indian composers including Grammy and Academy Award winners Tan Dun and A. R. Rahman. Finally on Friday, February 10 at 8pm, catch violinist Leonidas Kavakos & pianist Yuja Wang in a program featuring Medtner’s “Two Canzonas with Dances for Violin and Piano and other works by Schubert, Debussy and Bartok. For details on tickets, go to seattlesymphony.org or call (206) 215-4747.
“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. Stars Kevin Lin, Rebecca Olson, Daniel Wood, Keiko Green and Kathy Hsieh. Directed by Jon Kretzu. Art on display includes the work of local artists like MalPena Chan. 7312 W. Green Lake Drive N. Go to www.seattlepublictheater.org for details.
Lerner & Lowe’s musical, “Paint Your Wagon” receives a dusting off in a new revival spearheaded by 5th Avenue Theatre as directed by David Armstrong. The new book adaptation by Jon Marans tries to give the story of the settling of the American West a more nuanced, multi-cultural perspective besides the typical white man’s “manifest destiny” philosophy we’ve come to expect in the past. Stars Robert Cuccioli, Kendra Kassebaum and Justin Gregory Lopez. Rounding out the cast are Asian American actors Steven Eng, Mikko Juan and Ulyber Mangune and many others. On stage from June 2 – 25. Go to www.5thavenue.org, call 206-625-1900 or go direct to the 5th Avenue box office downtown for tickets.
“Ethnomusicology Visiting Artists Concert: Ade Suparman; Sudanese Music of Indonesia” takes place on June 2, 2016 at 7:30pm at Meany Hall on the Seattle UW campus. Go to www.music.washington.edu or call Arts UW Ticket Office at (206) 543-4880.
Pagdiriwang is the annual celebration of Filipino culture, history and heritage. This free event includes live performances, cultural displays, hands-on children’s activities, food and a film festival. June 4 & 5 from 11am – 7pm. Seattle Center at 305 Harrison St. 206-684-7200 or visit www.seattlecenter.org or www.festalpagdiriwang.com.
T42, a modern dance duo composed of Misato Inoue (Japan) and Felix Dumeril (Switzerland) take Madam Butterfly as a point of departure, using the famous opera to examine ideas around orientalism and identity and false binaries between East, West, male, and female. Raisbeck Hall Theater at 2015 Boren Ave. June 10-12 as part of the Inter/National Series section of the Seattle International Dance Festival which runs June 10-25 at various venues around town. For tickets, call 888-377-4510 or go to http://seattleidf.strangertickets.com.
Aerialist Rui Ling performs in Teatro ZinZanni’s romantic production of “Hotel L’Amore” staring Lilliane Montevecchi. June 16 – Sept. 25. 222 Mercer St. in Seattle. 206-802-0015 for details.
16 legendary Kung Fu masters from China and around the world visit the area for a “Shaolin Kung Fu Performance” on June 18 at 2:30pm and June 19 at 6:30pm. At Newport High School Performing Arts Center at 4333 Factoria Blvd. SE in Bellevue. Organized by Seattle Shaolin Kung Fu Academy. 425-241-9286.
“Citizen Min” is a new play about civil rights activist Min Yasui who challenged the right of the US government to intern Japanese Americans during WWII. A reading of this play takes place on Sun., June 26 at 2pm. Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church at 3001 – 24th Ave. So. Sponsored by the local chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. 805-225-3169.
The Seattle Chamber Music Society 2016 Summer Music Festival takes place July 5 – 20 at Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya downtown. Some leading soloists scheduled to perform in recital and concert include Violinist Andrew Wan, violist Richard O’Neill, cellist Bion Tsang, pianist Jee Won Park and pianist George Li. 206-283-8710 or go to [email protected].
ARC Dance Summer Dance at the Center presents a program of modern dance July 21 – 23 at Leo K. Theater in Seattle. The program includes the world premiere of a new work by Daniel Ojeda and other works by Edwaard Liang, Kirk Midtskog, Alex Ketley, Elizabeth Cooper and ARC Director Marie Chong. Seating is reserved and tickets can be purchased online at www.arcdance.org Group discounts available. 206-948-6506.
Chan Centre, the performing arts theatre space for the University of British Columbia in Vancouver B.C. presents Anda Union, a nine-member band that unites tribal and musical traditions from all over Inner Mongolia. A wide range of traditional instruments and vocal throat singing styles are used. They are part of the new season and will perform on March 26, 2017 at 8pm. Go to http://chancentre.com/subscribe/ for details on their complete season. Single tickets on sale on June 14, 2016 from noon on.
Local theatre director Desdemona Chiang nabbed a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise which is given each year to emerging artists and biomedical scientists from immigrant backgrounds. Locally she is co-founder of the theatre company Azeotrope with actor Richard Nguyen Sloniker. She directs the season opener for Book-It Repertory Theatre entitled “A Tale for the Time Being” this fall. She is profiled in the May 2016 issue of CityArts.
Seattle composer/performer Byron Au Yong recently participated in “asian stARTup”, a new creative incubator for Asian artists and tech professionals to develop partnerships at the intersection of art and technology sponsored by San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. Au Yong joined with playwright Christopher Chen to discuss Port City, a commission by A.C. T. which was recently awarded a MAP Fund Grant. Au Yong will also perform locally at the opening for the group show collaboration called “Strange Coupling” on Fri., June 10 from 6 – 9pm at King Street Station in Seattle.
Ukulele whiz Jake Shimabukuro’s new tour includes a stop at Pantages Theater in Tacoma on Sept. 7, 2016. The musician’s new set up for his electric ukulele will give him “access to new sounds and timbers that I never incorporated before.” Go to http://www.jakeshimabukuro.com/ for details.
Ayana Tsuji of Japan won first prize at the 2016 Montreal International Musical competition. Bonsori Kim from South Korea came in second and Minami Ogoshima from Japan placed third.
Bay Area raised playwright Laureen Yee won the 2015 Will Glickman Playwright Award for “In a Word”, a missing-child drama that debuted at San Francisco Playhouse’s Sandbox series. It’s since been produced in Cleveland, San Diego and Chicago as well. Her play “Hookman” was recently given a reading in Seattle as part of Forward Flux Productions directed by Wesley Fruge.
Xian Zhang was selected as the first female director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Born in China, she started her career conducting “The Marriage of Figaro” at age 20. Her career gained traction when she shared first prize in the Maazel-Vilar Conductor’s Competition” in 2002. She will juggle her duties in New Jersey with guest conducting jobs in Europe where she is in much demand.
New York-based playwright Alvin Eng has a staged reading of his new play “33 & 1/3 Cornelia Street” on June 6th at 9pm. The play explores the conflicts of spiritual vs. commercial ownership of art and personal stories and includes characters such as painter Alice Neel, Beat poet Joe Gould and New Yorker journalist Joseph Mitchell. Howl! Gallery at 6 E. 1st in New York’s East Village. Free. 917-475-1294.
Artists at Play is a new theatre group in L.A. that produces shows by Asian American playwrights featuring mostly Asian American casts. The group is composed of director Peter J. Kuo, actress Julia Cho, and producers Stefanie Wong Lau and Marie-Reine Velez. Their sixth main-stage production this fall and their first world premiere will be “The Two Kids That Blow (Stuff) Up” by Carla Ching. They also plan a spring reading series as a way to introduce Asian American playwrights to the community without the cost of a full production. Their Summer Salon series takes known plays usually cast with white actors and replaces them with all Asian American actors. For more information, go to artistsatplayla.blogspot.com.
Noted young Korean American saxophonist & singer/songwriter Grace Kelly has recently joined Jon Batiste’s big band called Stay Human who serve as house band for CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Her latest album entitled “Trying to Figure It Out” includes standards and some of her originals.
The EastWest Players at David Henry Hwang Theatre conclude their 50th season with a revival of “La Cage Aux Folles” staring Jon Jon Briones and Gedde Watanabe. This is the final staging by departing artistic director Tim Dang. Ends June 26. 120 Judge John Aioi St. in Los Angeles. 213-625-7000 or go to www.eastwestplayers.org.
Hong Kong-born Elim Chan, winner of the 2014 Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition has been named music director at Norrlands Operan in Umea, Sweden.
Famed Japanese theater director Yukio Ninagawa died in May at age 80 in Tokyo. Ninagawa was known for fusing Japanese theatrical traditions with Western realism to mount productions of classic Greek and Shakespearean plays in Europe and the US. It was his way of making the stories understood to a Japanese audience.
Gene Chang, Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra & Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, Ankush Kumar Bahl, Assistant Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, Keitaro Harada, Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Arizona Opera & Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and Sameer Patel, Assistant Conductor of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra all were recipients of Solti Awards for Young US Conductors.
Countertenor Brian Asawa, one of the most talented voices to ever come out of San Francisco Opera’s Merola and Adler programs died after a long, unidentified illness recently at the age of 49. He was the first countertenor ever to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. His voice was in demand in recitals all over Europe and the United States. He specialized in Baroque and contemporary music.
Lu Wang (China/US) was a recent recipient of a Civatella Ranieri Foundation residency in the category of music.
Congratulations to Jen Shyu and Aparna Ramaswamy, both recipients of the prestigious 2016 Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards.
Cleveland Symphony’s long-time Assistant Concertmaster Yoko Moore recently retired after a distinguished career with the orchestra.
L.A. based Dohee Lee is a composer/performer trained in dance, drumming, singing and Korean shamanic music. Her post-modern multi-media performances are rituals that change perception. She is a 2016 recipient of a Herb Alpert Arts Award.
Chinese-born violinist Shenghua “Simon” Hu was recently selected to be the new principal second violin for New York’s Metropolitan Orhestra.
Film & Media
“WE ARE X” is a new rock documentary film that played at Sundance and SXSW. Directed by Stephen Kijak, it chronicles the rise and fall of Japan super band X JAPAN and the drummer/band leader Yoshiki who while facing demons of his own loses band members to suicide and cults. Screens on June 5 at 8:30pm at Ark Lodge Cinemas (4816 Rainier Ave. S. – 206-721-3156) and again on June 8 at SIFF Cinema Egyptian at 9:30pm (808 E. Pine – 206-324-9996). For details, email [email protected]
Diwa Filipino Film Showcase of Seattle is a small community film festival made in cooperation with the annual Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival held June 4 & 5 at Seattle Center’s Armory. Every year they screen new films from the Philippines as well as entries from local filmmakers. This year’s headline feature films include the following – “The Woman Behind the Tattoo Artist” is a documentary film by Lauren Faustino that profiles a 93 year old woman known as ‘the last tattoo artist of Kalinga’. “Bantok, Rapeless” by Lester Vallee and Carla Ocampo follow two Filipino women who are victims of sexual abuse as they look for a society where they can live without sexual harassment. They discover the Bontoc culture of the Philippine Cordilleras have no term or concept of rape. Through investigation, they try and verify if this is true. Besides these films, over a dozen more will be screened from the Philippines as well as entries from local filmmakers as well. For more details, go to www.adrianalarilla.com.
“Minoru Yasui Commemoration” is the title of an event in honor of the late civil rights activist who protested the military curfew laws on Japanese Americans during WW II. After a pre-screening of the film, “Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice” co-director/daughter Holly Yasui will lead a discussion. A monologue reading & panel discussion will follow. 1916 marks the centennial celebration of Yasui’s birth. Free. Sat., June 25 from 7 – 9pm. At the Wing. Go to wingluke.org for details.
Get ready for the 42nd annual Seattle International Film Festival which begins on May 19 all over the Puget Sound. More than 450 films from over 90 countries in 25 days. Go to siff.net for complete schedule.
The Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, an annual event showcasing the best in Lesbian/Gay cinema world-wide has a name change. Now it is called “TWIST-Seattle Queer Film Festival”. It screens Oct. 13 – 23 later this year.
Three films by South Korean directors screened at Cannes this year. Park Chan-Wook’s (“Old Boy”) period drama “The Handmaiden” adapted from British writer Sarah Waters’ crime novel “Fingersmith” was shown. Also screening was Na Hong-Jin’s police drama, “The Wailing” and Yeon Sang-Ho’s zombie-virus thriller, “Train to Busan”.
“The Empty Chair” is a documentary film by filmmaker Greg Chaney that looks at Juneau’s Japanese American community who were unjustly incarcerated during WW II.
Opening June 17 in Seattle is “Gurukulam”, a film by Jillian Elizabeth & Neil Dalal. This documentary looks at a way of life rooted in ancient texts and wisdom as it follows a group of students and their teacher in a remote forest ashram in southern India as they confront questions about the nature of reality and self-identity. Email [email protected] for more details.
Moyoung Jin’s new documentary film entitled “My Love, Don’t Cross That River” looks at the day-to-day lives of two “100-year old lovebirds” who have been inseparable companions for the past 70 years. Set to open in theatres on June 17, 2016.
Other new films with dates not yet set for release but probably due by 2016 are the following – Jia Zhangke of all of China’s directors seems to have his pulse on a China evolving so quickly that its own people can barely keep up. “Mountains May Depart” is a dark portrait of a capitalist-era family through the decades as they struggle to survive in China and abroad. Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees” opened at Cannes and was picked up by Roadside/Lionsgate for distribution. The film stars Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe who meet on Mr. Fuji bent on suicide. Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s newest entitled “Journey to the Shore” has a piano teacher going on a second honeymoon with her missing husband who returns as a ghost. Adapted from the novel by Kazumi Yumoto Stars Eri Fukatsu and Tadanobu Asano. Due out next year is the long-awaited new project by Martin Scorsese in which he adapts Shusaku Endo’s historical novel on Christians in Japan in a period when Christianity was not allowed. A priest played by Andrew Garfield travels to Japan to confront rumors that his mentor has abandoned the church. Shot on location in Taiwan. The director remarked that “The subject matter presented by Endo was in my life since I was very, very young.” Kazuhiro Soda’s 21/2 hour documentary entitled “Oyster Factory” was a Locarno Film Festival Official Selection and takes a close look as globalization comes to a small Japanese village whose sole industry is the harvesting of oysters. July Jung’s “A Girl at My Door” played the Cannes Film Festival and has received numerous awards on the festival circuit. Donna Bae plays a police officer removed from her post in Seoul following a sex-related scandal. She is re-assigned to a remote seaside town until the controversy dies down. The quiet town is struggling economically and run by an exploitive owner of the local fishing industry. When the police officer assists his shy stepdaughter who is being bullied at school and abused at home, things began to erupt. “A documentary film with the working titled of “Honokaa Hero: The Story of Katsu Goto” is busy trying to raise funds to complete production. Goto was an early Japanese immigrant who came to Hawai’i in 1885. He worked as a laborer along the Hamakua coast of Hawai’i island and then became a successful businessman and labor leader. He was lynched and killed in Honoka’a in 1889 while helping Japanese sugar plantation workers. Project Lead and Executive Producer is Patsy Iwasaki. “Afternoon” is the title of a new documentary film by noted Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang in which the director engages actor Lee Kang-sheng in a lengthy conversation. Mr. Tsai has appeared in nearly every film the director has made including “Goodbye Dragon Inn” and “What Time Is It There?”. The topics range from family, sexuality and art-making. New to the Honolulu International Film Festival are these recent entries from Asia – “Chongqing Hotpop” looks at how three high school students efforts to open a restaurant in an old bomb shelter turns into more than just a financial fiasco. “Mr. Six”, based on a true story, looks at a crime-filled underworld in Beijing and how a retired gangster returns to bring justice to the streets. Directed by Guan Hu and stars writer-director Feng Xiaogang. “Something Or Something Like It” is a new Japanese comedy. Vietnam’s blockbuster hit “Sweet 20” is an adaptation of the Korean comedy, “Miss Grannie.” “Yayoi Kusama: I Love Me” is a documentary film on the famed Japanese artist and designer who lives in a mental institution and whose manic, obsessive work has made her an icon. The Hong Kong Film Awards gave “Ten Years”, a controversial film depicting a bleak future for that city under Chinese control their “Best Film Prize.” The film cost only $70,000 and many of the staff worked for free. Set in 2025, it shows authorities persecuting locals for speaking Cantonese and not Mandarin. China’s state-controlled newspaper called the film as “thought virus” and it has not been shown in that country and many theatres in Hong Kong have stopped showing it.
Noted documentary filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura has started a kickstarter campaign to help complete and distribute his latest project entitled “Mele Murals.” The film is a portrait of the transformative power of modern graffiti art and ancient Hawaiian culture for a new generation of Native Hawaiians. It is seen through the eyes of two street artists who return to their community and use graffiti and mural art as a way to help the youth. The film shows how public art rooted in underground graffiti combines with Native Hawaiian traditions and contemporary life to impact not only the students but rural Hawai’i and most of all, the artists themselves. To see a trailer for the film, go to https://vimeo.com/155597960. To help support the film by a donation, go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2042394643/mele-murals-a-documentary-on-native-hawaiian-ident.
“Margarita With A Straw” by writer/director Shonali Bose and starring Bollywood star Kalki Koechlin as a young Indian woman with cerebral palsy who explores her sexuality and independence after moving to New York was a hit at last year’s SIFF. Now it’s being released on DVD/VOD by Wolfe Video on June 14. To see the trailer, go to https://vimeo.com/161981001.
Lu Chuan, Chinese director of such well-received international documentary films such as “Kekexili: Mountain Patrol” (a favorite of a past SIFF) and “Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe” will direct and produce an adaptation of New York Times best-selling author Peter Hessler’s first book “River Town”. Jamie Gordon and Courtney Potts of Fugitive Films will also help produce the film and Tristine Skyler will do the script. The book is a memoir of an American and his years teaching English literature to Chinese college students at a time when China was on the brink of unprecedented change. Lu is finishing up postproduction on his English-language debut, the documentary film “Born in China” for Disneynature which will be released this summer in China and in April 2017 in the U.S.
Breaking Glass Pictures is releasing the Indian “Noir” thriller “Sunrise” written and directed by Partho Sen-Gupta in theatres and On Demand June 21, 2016. Starring Adil Hussain (Life of Pi) as a lonely man on a quest for justice through the rain-soaked alleys of Mumbai. For more information on this film, contact [email protected]
Asian American representation in film has gone from bad to worse. Roles has always been scarce for Asian American actors but now even roles with Asian characters are being written out and replaced by white actors that Hollywood assumes will be a better draw. Examples include the following. The planned adaptation of the Japanese manga series Death Note has for a hero a boy with dark powers named Light Yagami. That character has been renamed Light and will by played by white actor Nat Wolff. The film entitled “The Martian” coming this fall with the role of NASA employee Mindy Park conceived as Korean American in the original novel will now be played by white actress Mackenzie Davis. A Christmas film entitled “Absolutely Fabulous” has Scottish actress Janette Tough dressed as an Asian character. Marvel Studios “Doctor Strange” with a character of a Tibetan monk in the original comic has been remade as a Celtic mystic played by Tilda Swinton. The classic Japanese manga series “Ghost in the Shell” with the original lead character, Mayor Motoko Kusanagi will be changed to Major and be played by Scarlett Johansson in the American live-action film adaptation. Many Asian American actors are criticizing the white-washing of roles but whether Hollywood is listening is anybody’s guess.
A recent television commercial by Qiaobi detergent in China has sparked protests for being racist. A cute young Chinese woman doing laundry sees a young black man in the doorway, face and t-shirt smudged with paint. He gives her a wolf whistle and she winks back. As he approaches, leaning in for a kiss, she pops a detergent pod in his mouth and shoves him in the washing machine. Seconds later he emerges as a fair-skinned Chinese man. “Change, it all starts from Qiaobi laundry detergent pod” says the voiceover. The company has apologized and pulled the commercial but contends that critics had blown things out of proportion as the ad was meant to highlight the product itself and they didn’t notice the racial angle.
The Written Arts
Elliott Bay Book Company presents a series of readings and events. All are at the bookstore unless noted otherwise. Northwest writer Ruth Ozeki returns to Seattle to talk about her latest book in “The Face” series, a personal exploration of how the author’s face has been shaped by her life. Other writers in this volume include Chris Albani and Tash Aw. Free on June 5 at 3pm. One of South Korea’s foremost experimental fiction writers is Jung Young Moon who appears on behalf of his first novel translated into English by Yewon Jung entitled “Vaseline Buddha” (Deep Vellum) on Tues., June 7 at 7pm. Co-presented with the Gardner Center For Asian Art & Ideas, this particular reading takes place at the Seattle Asian Art Museum at 1400 E. Prospect in Seattle’s Volunteer Park. For more information, go to www.seattleartmuseum.org. On Sunday, June 12 at 3pm at the bookstore, award-winning poet Don Mee Choi reads from her new book of poems on the Vietnam War entitled “War Hardly” (Wave Books). She will be joined by poet John Levy , artist Donald Cole and composer/musician Stuart Dempster in an afternoon of art, poetry and music. Hosted by Alan Chong Lau. Robert Millis conveys his love for turn of the century Indian music found on old 78 rpm shellac records in his combination book/CD package entitled “Indian Talking Medicine” (Sublime Frequencies). This talk is at also at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park on Thurs., June 16 at 7pm. Go to www.seattleartmuseum.org for details. Co-sponsored by Gardner Center for Asian art & Ideas. On Wed., June 22 at 7:30pm in a talk co-presented by Town Hall Civics at Seattle Town Hall, Saru Jayaraman talks about “Forked: A New Standard for American Dining” (Oxford) and how wages and working conditions for American workers in restaurants are changing. 1119 Eighth at Seneca is the address. Go to www.TownHallSeattle.org for details. Elliott Bay Book Company is at 1521 Tenth Ave. in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. 206-624-6600.
Kinokuniya Books in Uwajimaya Village presents in their Kino Event Series the Seattle author Sanae Ishida who will be interviewed by Tamiko Nimura about her new book entitled “Sewing Happiness” (Sasquatch) on Sat., June 11 at 2pm. Ishida will also show people how to put together a simple Sashiko project of their own with materials provided. Free. 523 South Weller. 206-587-2477.
Congratulations to Seattle poet Koon Woon who has received a grant from the CityArtist Program to complete “Paper-Son Poet” (Gold Fish Press), a memoir in multi-genre format of four generations of a Chinese immigrant family living in Seattle’s Chinatown/ID neighborhood. After publication, Woon will do a series of four public readings.
Those book lovers with burning, seemingly unanswerable questions need not consult Dear Abby any longer – now there’s Hugo House’s program “Ask the Oracle” where a panel of writers will light the proverbial path using passages from their respective books. Beginning in February and continuing monthly, Hugo House, Seattle’s place for writers, will partner with Hotel Sorrento to present this series taking place in the hotel’s cozy Hunt Club fireside room. Participating writers include Imani Sims, Ramon Isao, Sonora Jha, Jane Wong and many others. Last date is June 6 at 7pm. For details, contact Kristen Steenbeeke at [email protected]. In related news, Hugo House has announced its temporary re-location during construction of its new building across from Cal Anderson Park. Beginning in mid-2016, Hugo House’s public programs and offices will be based in a building owned by, and adjacent to, the Frye Art museum at Boren Avenue and Columbia Street on First Hill. Hugo House will operate a full schedule of readings, classes, book launches, workshops, teen programs, and more at the Frye while its new building is being constructed. Events will take place here and in the Frye’s auditorium as well at the nearby Elliott Bay Book Company and Sorrento Hotel. Beginning May 21, classes continue at Hugo House’s temporary home at 1021 Columbia near Frye Art Museum. May 20 is the last literary series at the old location. By 2018, Hugo House will return to its original site and occupy a ground-floor space in a new six-story, mixed-use building. In related news, Hugo House has produced “The Writer’s Welcome Kit”, an exclusive e-course that combines guidance on the writing craft and resources to help the writer excel. Go to hugohouse.org for details.
St. Paul first-generation Filipino American poet Chris Santiago has won the fifth annual Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry from Milkweed Editions. Competition judge A. Van Jordan called the manuscript entitled “Tula”, “a hypnotic blend of languages and land.” Santiago who teaches at the University of St. Thomas said that he is fascinated by the mystique of language. “Tula” will be published in December.
Restless Books has issued the names of finalists for their Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. Winner gets $10,000 and publication of a book of fiction by a first-time, first generation American author. The all immigrant jury has selected five finalists. The winner will be announced any day and the winning book comes out in Spring, 2017. Some titles on the list include Thirii Myint’s “The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, A Haven”, Yong Takahashi’s “Intersections” and Deepak Unnikrishnan’s “Temporary People”.
Stanford University Libraries has announced the shortlist for the seventh William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Some of the titles in the “Fiction” category include Anjali Mitter Duva’s “Faint Promise of Rain”, Patty Enrado’s “A Village in the Fields” and Lauren Francis-Sharma’s “’Til the Well Runs Dry.” In the “Non-Fiction” category, titles included Angie Chuang’s “The Four Words for Home: A Memoir of Two Families”, Rohini Mohan’s “The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War” and Susan Southard’s “Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War.” Winners and finalists will be announced this summer. For more information, email [email protected].
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s debut novel entitled “The Sympathizer”, a story that explores the Vietnam war and its legacy from the perspective of a Vietnamese spy won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Since then, Nguyen has written a non-fiction title giving us another perspective on the War in Vietnam entitled “ Nothing Ever Dies – Vietnam and the Memory of War ”(Harvard University Press).
The Civitella Ranieri Foundation opens the doors of its 15th century castle in rural Umbria annually for four six-week residency sessions of self-directed studio and work time and brings together a group of accomplished international artists, composers, and writers at emerging and established moments in their careers. They are joined by invited guests to foster a community dialogue that transcends disciplines and geography. Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Inc is a 501 © private operating foundation with administrative offices in New York City. Some of the writers participating this year include Kim Insuk of South Korea and Gai-Bao Tran & Ocean Vuong of the US. Another UW graduate, poet/screenwriter Hannah Sanghee Park was also a resident here. Congratulations also go out to Seattle-raised poet Paisley Rekdal who will be in residency here in the spring of 2017. She has a new book of poetry entitled “Imaginary Vessels” due out in November from Port Townsend-based poetry publisher, Copper Canyon Press.
South Korean novelist Han Kang won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for her new book recently translated into English entitled “The Vegetarian”.
Chinese American poet Jane Yeh’s poem “The Rhinos” appears in the May 26, 2016 issue of The New York Review of Books. She currently lives and teaches in England and is the author of “Marabou” and “The Ninjas” both on Carcanet Books. She was named Next Generation Poet by the Poetry Book Society in 2014.
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. Please contact me if anyone is interested in reviewing any of the below titles for the International Examiner. Thanks! –
“Japanese Prostitutes in the North American West, 1887-1920” (UW Press) by Kazuhiro Oharazeki sheds light on a little known chapter of Japanese American history.
“Yayoi Kusama -Inventing The Singular” (MIT Press) by Midori Yamamura grounds this internationally known Japanese artist within the fabric of pre and post WW II history from which she emerged to engage the world with her artistic visions from Pop Art to Minimalism.
“Alien Capital – Asian Racialization And The Logic Of Settler Colonial Capitalism” (Duke University) by Iyko Day explores what the dynamic of the Asian workforce brought to the American economy at the turn of the century.
The Global Music Series from Oxford University Press has interesting volumes which all come with music CD inserts. Recent titles include Gavin Douglas’s “Music in Mainland Southeast Asia” and “Music in Pacific Island Cultures” by Brian Diettrich, Jane Freeman Moulin and Michael Webb.
William Wei’s “Asians in Colorado – A History of Persecution And Perseverance in the Centennial State” (UW Press) by William Wei gives breath and depth to the history and contributions of that immigrant population to that state.
Noriko Manabe’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Protest Music After Fukushima” (Oxford University Press) is a vital new contribution to the way music plays such a vital part in protest and social movements.
Terayama Shuji’s surrealistic theatre works rose out of the ashes of WWII to bring forth a ribald humor and energy and that may be what he’s best known for in the West. But Terayama was also a writer of fiction. In “The Crimsom Thread of Abandon” (MerwinAsia), translator Elizabeth L. Armstrong has done us all a favor by collecting his stories that read like thought-provoking fairy tales for adults.
“The Face” (Restless Books) is a new series of personal non-fiction in which well known authors are asked to write essays about their face and its place in race, culture and identity. March 2016 has essays by Ruth Ozeki, Chris Abani and Tash Aw. Other volumes will follow.
“Diamond Head” (Harper Perrenial) is a new paperback edition of the debut novel by Cecily Wong that tells the story of a Chinese family’s immigration to Hawai’i and how a tragic sense of fate and history haunt them wherever they go.
Two Sylvias Press, a small local publisher in Kingston, WA has over the years been bringing out some fine poetry titles. Some recent titles of note by Asian American writers include the following. “The Cardiologist’s Daughter” by Natasha Kochicheril Moni explores her dual Indian/Dutch heritage with tender poems that explore the mysteries of the human condition in and out of the operating room. “Blood Poems” is the debut collection by West Seattle poet Michael Schmeltzer that embraces our shared humanity, imperfect as it is with poems of redemption and compassion. And “Naming The No-Name Woman” is an homage to silver screen icon Anna May Wong and the trials and tribulations of Asian American women in a society that would rather stereotype rather than confront the real. Written by third-generation Chinese American poet Jasmine An who won the 2015 Two Sylvia’s Press Chapbook Prize. Go to www.twosylviaspress.com for details.
“Tropical Renditions – Making Musical Scenes in Filipino America” (Duke) by Christine Bacareza Balance continues the tradition of Filipino American scholars looking deep into their own contemporary musical traditions and culture.
“Radicalism in the Wilderness – International Contemporary and 1960s Art in Japan” (MIT) by Reiko Tomii explores the burst of energy in Japanese modern art in the 60’s and how it related to the world.
“Global Asian American Popular Cultures” (UH Press) edited by Shilpa Dave, Leilani Nishime and Tasha Oren expands the field of Asian American cultural studies with some insightful essays addressing a variety of topics.
“The Fortunes” (HMH) by Peter Ho Davies due this fall is a new sly and witty collection of short stories exploring the lives of Chinese Americans throughout our tumultuous history here on Gold Mountain and beyond.
“Islands of Protest – Japanese Literature From Okinawa” (UH Press) is a crucial and much needed collection edited by Davinder L. Bhowmik and Steve Rabson that offers literary riches from that island nation in various forms such as poetry, fiction and drama showing what a vital and distinct culture it really is.
Sean Michael Wilson continues his exploration of Japanese classics by re-telling stories in the graphic novel form. “Cold Mountain –The Legend of Han Shan and Shih Te” (Shambhala) with illustrations by Akiko Shimojima tells the tales of famous Chinese zen monks whose spiritual poems have resonated through the years. In “Lafcadio Hearn’s The Faceless Ghost And Other Macabre Tales from Japan” (Shambhala), Wilson collaborates with graphic artist Michiru Morikawa to re-tell these chilling ghost tales discovered by Hearn.
“Ancestral Places – Understanding Kanak Geographies” (OSU Press) by Katrina-Ann R. Kapa’anaokalaokeola Nakoa Oliveira explores the deep connections native Hawaiians have with their environment.
NYRB Books continues to re-print and find classics that have gone out of print. Two recent Chinese masters of modern fiction have re-surfaced thanks to their efforts. The late Taiwanese writer Qiu Miaojin’s last book “Last Words From Montmarte” as translated by Ari Larissa Heinrich explores her impassioned letters to the world that are part-love letter, part-fiction, part-memoir and part-suicide note. “Naked Earth” brings back to print the much loved Hong Kong writer Eileen Chang. Perry Link’s translation tells the story of two young people during the early years of Mao’s China and uncovers the dark corners of human experience where idealism is replaced by repression.
“Ruined City” (Oklahoma) by Jia Pingwa as translated by Howard Goldblatt looks at the rapid transformation of today’s China through the eyes of a Chinese writer who goes through a myriad of sexual and legal difficulties. Originally banned in China for its sexual content, it is now considered a classic.
“Postcards from Stanland – Journey in Central Asia” (Ohio University Press) by David H. Mould explores the complex issues at hand in this forgotten intersection of cultures in the world.
“A Good Time For The Truth – Race in Minnesota” (Minnesota Historical Society Press) is a fascinating anthology of first-hand essays edited by Sun Yung Shin that goes way beyond the Vikings and Lake Wobegon to get at the real ethnic strands of that state’s diversity and how, in some ways, it has failed many of its citizens.
Janice Y. K. Lee, bestselling author of “The Piano Teacher” is back with “The Expatriates” (Viking) that tells the story of three American women living in an expatriate community in Hong Kong struggling with demons of the past, trying to move on.
A Chinese teenager lures his best friend into a trap, kills her and moves on in A Yi’s “A Perfect Crime” (Point Blank), winner of the English Pen Award.
Bamboo Ridge Press continues in its mission to publish the freshest and best writing by writers in Hawai’i. Their latest issue (#106) of the magazine features Editors’ Choice Awards with new work by Rajiv Mohabir, K.L. Quilantang, Jr. and Joseph Han. Also an Artist Portfolio by Joy Enomoto and the usual evocative variety of Island talent. Guest edited by Gail N. Harada and Lisa Linn Kanae. Also two new titles. Brenda Kwon’s “The Sum of Breathing” mixes genres as the author ventures to find an identity she can call her own moving from Hawai’i to Korea and L.A. and dealing with issues of memory, loss, feminism, racism and place. D. Carreira Ching’s “Between Sky and Sea – A Family’s Struggle” is a powerful debut novel about three Hawaiian brothers and how love, loss, addiction, violence set against the backdrop of a colonial past keep their lives churning through waves of doubt while still trying to find a way back home.
“Red Juice: Poems 1998-2008” (Wave ) collects a decade of poems culled from handmade chapbooks, journals and out-of-print books by Hoa Nguyen, co- editor of the important literary magazine, Skanky Possum with Dale Smith. Her use of language remains funny and refreshingly honest.
Local author Sharon H. Chang is the author of “Raising Mixed Race – Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World” (Routledge). It is one of the first books to look at the difficulties of raising mixed-race Asian children in a system that neither embraces or welcomes their participation.
“Everything Begins Elsewhere” (Copper Canyon) is the new poetry title by Tishani Doshi, poems real and written with a beautiful simplicity that resonates across borders of migration and cross-cultural context.
The dark consequence of China’s “one child” policy is deeply explored in two new titles. “One Child – The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment”(HMH) by Mei Fong and “China’s Hidden Children – Abandonment, Adoption, and the Human Costs of the One-Child Policy” (University of Chicago Press) by Kay Ann Johnson.
“The Future of Silence – Fiction by Korean Women” (Zephyr) is the latest translation by Seattle couple Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton that spans generations of writers from the 1970’s to the present as they grapple with day to day complex issues in Korean life and literature. Includes important writers such as O Chong-hui, the late Pak Wan-so and younger ones like Kim Sagwa, Han Yujkoo and Ch’on Un-yong. Again, another crucial contribution to the life of women in today’s Korea.
“Apricot’s Revenge” (Minotaur) is a new crime novel by Song Ying translated from the Chinese by the prolific Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-Chun Lin. Not just an ordinary mystery but a in-depth look at human relationships and the complexities of social issues in today’s China.
“Here Come the Dogs” (The New Press) is a new novel by Malaysian Australian performance poet, &hip hop artist Omar Musa that looks at the world of suburban, multicultural youth in Australia dealing with issues of powerlessness, ethnicity and masculinity.
“What Lies Between Us” (St. Martin’s) by Nayomi Munaweera looks at the struggles a daughter and mother must go through leaving war-town Sri Lanka for the promise of America. The author’s first novel won the Commonwealth Book Prize in 2013.
“Hard Love Province” (Norton) is the new and powerful book of love poems by Marilyn Chin that can’t stay still, fueled by a passion that crosses borders, cultures and snatching bits of victory from the hands of defeat.
In Alexander Chee’s “The Queen of the Night” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a sprawling epic of a novel looks at the career of a true diva – an opera singer that through continual self-reinvention ascends to the role of a lifetime.
Local poet/translator gives us another powerful slice of the powerful Korean poet Kim Hyesoon with “Poor Love Machine” (Action Books) where myth, politics and the everyday engage in a stimulating conversation.
“A Girl on the Shore” (Vertical) is a book of yearning and teenage romance by Inio Asano. Asano is the author of “Solanin” and “Nijigahara Holography” and has been nominated for the Eisner Award.
“Standing Water” (FS&G) is the powerful debut of poet Eleanor Chai who looks at Little Hanako, the bust of a head by Rodin and weaves a tale of loss and longing and the separation of mother and child across time.
Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri sets the bar even higher by writing “In Other Words” (Knopf) in Italian. She bumps up the limitations of a newly acquired language and takes us along in her search for those words that can express what she has to say. Translated into English by Ann Goldstein.
“Wild Grass on the Riverbank” (Action Books) by Japanese poet Hiromi Ito as translated by Jeffrey Angles in which she explores the fecund yet hazy border between the living and the dead in a wasteland of our own making.
The New York Times bestseller “Without You, There Is No Us – My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite” (Broadway Books) is a memoir by Suki Kim now in a new paperback edition.
“Speak Now, Marriage Equality On Trail – The Story of Hollingsworth v. Perry” (Crown) by Kenji Yoshino details the personal and legal aspects of the struggle for marriage equality and the real meaning of same-sex marriage.
Chinese fiction writer Yan Lianke, winner of the Franz Kafka Prize has a new novel translated by Carlos Rojas. The Four Books (Grove/Atlantic) is a mythical tale that portrays the absurd and grotesque oppression of the Great Leap Forward.
“Midnight in Broad Daylight – A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds” (Harper) by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto looks at the war-time agony of a family struggling to maintain their American loyalty while simultaneously facing discrimination with one son in the US Army and two other sons in the Japanese Imperial Army.
In “We Too Sing America” (The New Press), journalist Deepa Iyer looks at the effects of post-911 racism and violence on South Asian, Arab and Muslim American communities.
- Henry Prize-winning author Viet Dinh’s new novel “After Disasters” (Little A) looks at four characters in the aftermath of an earthquake in India and what they do to impose order in a chaotic city.
“Picture Man – The Legacy of Southeast Alaska Photographer Shoki Kayamori” (Snowy Owl Books – University of Alaska Press) by local Olympia writer Margaret Thomas tells the little known tale of this Japanese photographer who made his home amongst a native population in southeast Alaska at the turn of the century. His images document the changes in their lives at a crucial period. But the book also gives us much more, delving into immigration policies, the cannery trade and anti-Japanese hysteria after Pearl Harbor leading to the suicide of Kayamori himself.
The latest book by Jeff Chang (“Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History Of The Hip-Hop Generation”) entitled “Who We Be – A Cultural History Of Race In Post Civil Rights America” (Picador) is now out in a new paperback edition.
“The End of Karma – Hope And Fury Among India’s Young” (Norton) by award-winning New York Times reporter Somini Sengupta. Returning to India after thirty years, Sengupta looks at the India of today through the lens of today’s youth from every class and every situation and finds the illusion of possibility blocked by structures of sex and class.
Ji Xianlin’s “The Cowshed – Memories Of The Cultural Revolution” (NYRB) was a bestseller in China that calls attention to the injustices of Mao-era violence during that tumultuous time. Translated by Chenxin Jiang.
“The Wages Of Guilt – Memoirs Of War In Germany And Japan’ (NYRB) is another insightful look at the borders of history by Ian Buruma.
“Shelter” (Picador) by Jung Yun is a debut novel with a story about a dysfunctional mixed-race family caught in the vice-grip of today’s times.
“Viewpoint – Telling the Story of Diversity at the University of Washington” is a publication by the UW Alumni Association. Their latest Spring 2016 issue is a special guest editor issue entitled “Then & Now – Alumni share their stories with current students.” Included in the issue are interviews with photojournalist Rod Mar and Senior User Experience Designer at Microsoft, Mike Gilmore.
In the Spring 2016 issue of Rain Taxi Review of Books, poet Sun Young-Shin is interviewed. She has a prose collection forthcoming from Coffee House Press entitled “Unbearable Splendor” and has edited an anthology of essays entitled “A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota” (Minnesota Historical Society Press).
Poet/editor Ravi Shankar has edited a new collection entitled “What Else Could It Be: Ekphrastics and Collaborations” (Carolina Wren Press) which features the voices of contemporary painters and contemporary poets divided into three sections like dance steps. Local fiction writer Donna Miscolta explores the Mexican cultural side of her heritage in a new book of short stories due out from Carolina Wren Press in Nov., 2016.
Susan Southard is an author, actress and artistic director of a theater group in Tempe, Arizona. In March, she was awarded the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for “Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War.” Judges cited “her unflinching historical narrative of the bombing of Nagasaki and the aftermath as told through the lives of those who survived it.”
Hmong American poet Mai Der Vang won the Walt Whitman Award for outstanding debut book by the Academy of American Poets. Her book entitled “Afterland” will be published by Graywolf Press in 2017.
Congratulations too go out to Sjohnna McCray whose title “Rapture” was the winner of The Walt Whitman Award Of The Academy Of American Poets for 2015 as selected by Tracy K. Smith. In this award-winning debut, Mc Cray movingly recounts a life born out of wartime to a Korean mother and an American father serving during the Vietnam War. Go to www.graywolfpress.org for more details.
Ocean Vuong’s “Night Sky With Exit Wounds” makes her poetic debut with a new book from Copper Canyon Press. She appears in a recent video by the press enlisting donations to continue their goal of publishing new books of poetry.
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 [email protected] or call (206) 522-5438.
Want to take classes in the arts in an idyll setting? Sitka Center For Art And Ecology on the Oregon Coast has their 2016 catalog of workshops & events now out. Go to www.sitkacenter.org for details. Learn the traditional Japanese art of gyotaku (fish printing), learn about the history and design concepts of bonsai (Japanese miniature trees), katazome (Japanese stencil dyeing), Japanese water-based woodcut printing, shibori & indigo, Islamic world papermaking and so much more.
Social media marketing svengali Melenie Yap gets covered in the may 2016 issue of CityArts.
Congratulations to Byron Au Yong (music), Ramon Isao (literary), Michelle Penaloza (literary) and Che Sehyun (music) who all won 2016 Fellowships from Artist Trust. Artist Trust has announced their winners for their grants this year. Go to www.artisttrust.org for more details or call 206-487-8734×25.
Washington 129 is a projected anthology of poems to be written by Washingtonians. Deadline is Jan. 31, 2017. Go to http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/03/28/23877586/submissions-are-now-open-for-washington-129-an-anthology-of-poetry-from-citizens-of-washington-state for details.
Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics has issued a catalog for “Indra’s Net Poetics – Summer Writing Program” set from June 12 – July 9, 2016.To explore the whole schedule of classes, go to naropa.edu/swp. Scholarships are available. Some interesting classes and teachers include the following. Poet Srikanth Reddy investigates alternative methods of mapping a literary cosmology in “Cartographies of Erasure. Letterpress printer Julia Seko teaches “Lines of Symmetry: Building Texts Into the Architecture of the Book.” Professor Dorothy Wang teaches a class entitled “Rethinking Poetic Genealogies” looking at the work of poets Amiri Baraka and Ed Dorn and their aesthetic and political sympathies.