Advance warning—Noted architect/sculptor/installation artist Maya Lin who designed the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. will give a talk as part of the “SAM TALKS” series on June 29th at Seattle Art Museum. Go to seattleartmuseum.org and look for “tickets”.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. has just opened a major retrospective on the work of American artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi entitled “The Artistic Journey of Yasuo Kuniyoshi” which will be on view through August 30th, 2015. Kuniyoshi was an American modernist who taught for years at the Art Students League in New York. His work ranges from the subtle to sophisticated with traces of deadpan humor to deep tragedy. Kuniyoshi’s first arrival in the U.S. was in Seattle where he worked on the railroads as a teenager eventually making his way to New York. 8th and F Streets NW. Go to AmericanArt.si.edu for details.
Currently on view until May 16th is a group show entitled “Scissors + Paper – Lauren Iida, Ann Leda Shapiro and Alisa Lahti”. Coming in June is the Gallery’s “20th Anniversary Show” featuring work by gallery artists. ArtXchange Gallery at 512 1st Ave. S.
“HAKONIWA Project—to touch & to be touched” is a new show by artist Etsuko Ichikawa which explores the notion of not only a boxed garden but Sandplay therapy developed by Koa Kalff, a Jungian therapist. The artist explores the personal significance that hands play in our lives and our interactions with others. In this exhibit, narrow sandboxes are placed in the middle of the gallery and miniature hand figures are displayed on shelves on the walls. Visitors are encouraged to take the hand figures displayed and bring them to the sandbox to arrange. On view through June 14th. A group show from the permanent collection entitled “Study In Green” features the work of Boyd Sugiki and other Northwest artists. On view also through June 14th. Museum of Northwest Art at 121 South First St. in La Connor, WA. (360) 466-4446 or go to www.museumofnwart.org for details.
The group show of “Contemporary Japanese Printmakers is being held over through May 30th with new work on exhibition. New this month is a show entitled “Unmentionables” is a show by South Korean printmaker Sohee Kim up until May 30th.. There is a whimsy and at times, a dark humor at play here as she looks at the objects that humans fill their lives with and the objectification of humans as they go about their day to day activities. Chinese woodcut artist Zha Sai lives in Hubei Province surrounded by water and trees which provide inspiration for her finely detailed work. Opens June 2nd and remains on view until June 27th. Davidson Galleries in Pioneer Square. 313 Occidental Ave. S. (206) 624-1324 for details.
“Change-Seed: Art from Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution” is a group show of work generated by protests in Hong Kong last fall/winter against the Chinese Government for elections and democratic rule. Through May 15th. CoCA Georgetown at 5701 Sixth Ave. S. in Suite 158. (206) 728-1980 or go to cocaseattle.org. Open Mon. – Fri.
Aaliyah Gupta shows abstract compositions April 29th – May 30th. CORE Gallery. 117 Prefontaine Place S. (206) 467-4444 or go to coregallery.org. Open Wed. – Sat.
The work of April Higashi is included in a group show entitled “So Fine” which highlights works by nine contemporary jewelry artists who push the boundaries of what we know conventionally as jewelry with their experimentation. April 22nd – May 12th. Facere Jewelry Art Gallery at 420 Fifth Ave., Suite 108. (206) 624-6768 or go to facerejewelryart.com. Open Mon. – Sat.
The whimsical, funky charm of Saya Moriyasu’s ceramic installations will be on display in a show of new work entitled “Parlour” at G. Gibson Gallery April 24th – June 6th. Artist’s talk on May 9th at 1pm with Moriyasu and Linda Davidson. Open Wed. – Sat. from 11am – 5pm and Tues. by appointment. The artist will be at the gallery during both “First Thursdays” on May 7th and June 4th from 6 – 8pm. Coming to the gallery June 19th – August 15th is a group show entitled “DWELL” which includes drawing, painting and photography of architectural themes. The work of Thuy-van Vu is included in this show. 303 South Washington St. (206) 587-4033 or go to ggibsongallery.com. Also the artist has a ceramic piece originally commissioned by Safeco that depicts the artist’s house with 2 apple trees and 2 cats in the show “Magic Windows/ Framing Place” up until May 17th, 2015 at Whatcom Museum. The piece is now part of the museum’s collection. 121 Prospect St. in Bellingham.
“Woven Woods” is the title of a show by local Japanese artist Naoko Morisawa. She uses hundreds of slices of natural and oil- dyed wood chips on board to create an unusual mosaic/textural feel. April 30th – July 14th. Artist’s reception is on May 7th from noon – 1:30pm. Ethnic Heritage Gallery at Seattle Municipal Tower at 700 Fifth Ave. on the third floor. (206) 684-7132. Go to seattle.gov/arts for details. Open Mon. – Fri.
The artwork of Seattle artist Ken Taya (ENFU) adorns two new traffic control boxes at the corner of 6th and Jackson. The boxes were created to draw attention to the Japantown area of the neighborhood.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL named Chinese artist Ai Weiwei as a recipient of their Ambassador of Conscience Award which recognizes lifetime human-rights leadership. The other award went to folksinger Joan Baez.
“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 been traveling. A solo show entitled “Eros” in Switzerland and residencies where he worked out his skills in printmaking/drawing. So let’s see what new work he has produced since his UW retirement at this show of new work at James Harris Gallery set for May 14th – June 20th. 604 Second Ave. (206) 903-6220 or go to jamesharrisgallery.com for details. Open Wed. – Sat.
L.A. based sound and installation artist Joel Ong installs a piece entitled “Tuning Calibration of Tonal Awareness II” which is based on the theme of analog-digital exchanges, consisting of a grid of slectronic string resonators triggered by Seattle wind data. Opening reception is Thurs., May 21st at 7pm. Artist talk on Fri., June 19th at 7pm. On view May 21st – July 2nd. Jack Straw New Media Gallery at 4261 Roosevelt Way NE. (206)634-0919 or go to www.jackstraw.org.
The work of Canh Nguyen is included in a group show entitled “Low Res”. Artists in the Waterfront Art Program were asked to work on short residencies along the waterfront. The works produced will be digitally archived and used throughout the city as posters, performances or other ephemeral forms. Through May 13th. Seattle Presents Gallery in the Seattle Municipal Tower located at 700 Fifth Ave. Open Wed. – Thurs. Nguyen also did the cinematography for the new documentary film “Even the Walls” on the tearing down of Yesler Terrace by Saman Maydani set to have a Seattle debut at SIFF in a program of shorts entitled “Faces of Yesler Terrace” on Sat., May 23rd at 11am at Harvard Exit. Go to www.siff.net for details on this and the whole film festival.
The work of noted Northwest ceramic sculptor Patti Warashina is included in SOFA, the annual expo show of sculpture, objects, functional art and design in Chicago. Nov. 6th – 8th, 2015. Opening night on Nov. 5th at Navy Pier. Go to sofaexpo.com for details.
“Ikko Style: The Graphic Art of Ikko Tanaka (1930-2002)” looks at how this internationally known Japanese designer’s ideas were visualized and transmitted to a broader audience. A must-see show for graphic designers and all art viewers interested in the beauty and power of graphic art. Through August 2nd, 2015 at USC Pacific Art Museum in Pasadena, Calif. Go to www.pacificasiamuseum.usc.edu.
Congratulations to conceptual installation artist Mel Chin who nabbed a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of Fine Arts.
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – The Young Family Collection of Qing Dynasty robes opened Jan. 15th . “Who Gets To Belong?” is an exhibit that looks at the Immigration Act of 1965 that lifted the quotas for Asian Pacific Islander immigration . This exhibit which opens March 5th from 6 – 8pm will look at the cultural and political climate that pushed for this act. “Do You Know Bruce?” is a major new show on the personal, intimate story of martial arts artist and film star Bruce Lee and the significance of Seattle in his life. Opens Oct. 4th with the full support of the Lee Family. The Wing is the only museum in the world, outside of Hong Kong, to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee’s life. The Lee family has plans to eventually open a permanent museum on Bruce Lee’s life and legacy in the Chinatown-ID neighborhood. “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. 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 – First Free Saturday family activity takes place from 11am – 2pm. “Chiho Aoshima: Rebirth of the World” looks at the work of this pivotal member of the Japanese neo-pop art movement whose work merges the sweetness of kawaii culture with the cloudy future of a post-apocalyptic world. Includes photography, drawing and an animated video installation. Opens May 2nd and remains on view through Oct. 4th. “Calligraphic Abstraction” is a group show exploring the world of calligraphy in all its’ various forms of beauty from a Mark Tobey painting to Islamic, Chinese and Japanese examples. Opens May 9th and continues on view until October 4th in the Tateuchi Galleries. For complete information on all events, go to seattleartmuseum.org.
An intriguing new group exhibit of Australian aboriginal artists whose canvases mesmerize you with their density of pattern and the importance of the water hole in Aboriginal culture. On view through July 6th, 2015. “Conversations with Curators” series presented for SAM members only presents a talk entitled “Monet by the Sea: Fishing Boats at Etretat” by Chiyo Ishikawa, SAM’s Deputy Director for Art and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture. May 20th with Happy Hour at 6pm and the lecture at 7pm. Visit sam.org or call (206) 654-3100.
“Black Box 2.0 Festival” (sponsored by Aktions Art) is the second edition of Seattle’s first international art, film and technology festival with over sixty artists exhibited in eight locations throughout the city. The work of Stockholm-based American artist Lisa Tan is featured. May 6th – June 7th. Black Box is free but tickets are required. Go to www.aktionart.org or [email protected] for details.
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.
“Elements” is a group show that explores aspects of the physical world we live in. Includes work by Alice Chew, David Ko, Jim Kurhihara and others. Now on view during winter at University House Wallingford at 4400 Stone Way North in Seattle. Curated by June Sekiguchi. (206) 545-8400.
The work of Koji Kubota and Junko Yamamoto is included in a group show entitled “The Moon Is Free” which highlights work with primary colors and playful shapes. May 7th – June 27th. ArtsWest Gallery. 4711 California Ave. SW in West Seattle. Thurs. – Sat. (206) 938-0339 or go to artswest.org.
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. “Sakura Sakura” is a new show of photography by Motoya Nakamura on the theme of cherry blossoms as photographed and filmed in video around Portland. On view until June 14th. 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.
“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.
UW Henry Art Gallery has the following – “Viewpoints: Hiroshi Sugimoto” is a show of work by New York-based Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto on view May 10th – July 26th. The “University Of Washington 2015 MFA + MDES Thesis Exhibition includes work by Scott Ichikawa, Zheng (Victor) Wu, Lanxia (Summer) Wu and Kun Xu. On view May 23rd – June 21st. In conjunction with the Henry Art Gallery’s current exhibitions, 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., May 30th at 2:30pm, Seattle commercial and fine art photographer Megumi Arai will speak. Painting + Drawing UW MFA student Lanxia (Summer) Xie will talk about her work on Sat., June 6th at 2:30pm.All events take place at the Henry unless otherwise noted. Visit henryart.org for tickets and more information.
“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.
“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. On view through June 21st, 2015. 1400 E. 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. “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. Tours by artists paired with mental health professionals are scheduled throughout the exhibition. At Seattle City Hall at 600 4th Ave. in the 4th floor lobby and Anne Focke Gallery. Sekiguchi also continues curating shows for Era Living. “First Impressions” is a group show of printmaking at Aljoya on Mercer Island at 2430 76th Ave. S.E. Opening with wine and snacks on Sat., May 9th from 11:30 – 3:30pm. “Face Valiue: The Art of Portraiture” at the Lakeshore at 11448 Rainier Ave. S. Opening with wine, snacks and music on wed., May 20th 4:30 – 6:30pm RSVP by May 18th. (206) 772-1200. “Environmental Art” at Ida Culver House Broadview. Wine, snacks & music at opening on May 21st from 4 – 6pm. RSVP by May 18th by calling (206) 361-1989. 12505 Greenwood Ave. N.
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].
Local artist Etsuko Ichikawa has a new solo show entitled “Act of Drawing” at Michael Warren Contemporary, a gallery in Denver from May 12th – June 13th. A short film demonstrating her process of making Glass Pyrographs is part of the exhibit. The artist will attend the opening reception on May 15th from 6 – 9pm and also give a short presentation. 760 Santa Fe Dr. in Denver, Colorado. For details, email [email protected] or call (303) 635-6255.
The work of Paul Horiuchi is included in a group show entitled “55th Annual Anniversary Group Exhibition” from April 10th – May 23rd at Woodside/Braseth Gallery at 1201 Western Ave. (206) 622-7243 or go to woodsidebrasethgallery.com. Open Tues. – Sat.
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.
Some upcoming shows at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston include the following – “In The Wake – Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11” on view April 5th – July 12th. Also opening April 5th and remaining on view until August 9th is “Hokusai”, a show of prints by the great Japanese woodblock printer. “Crafted Objects in Flux” is a group show that look at artists who “simultaneously blur and expand craft’s landscape.” Seattle artist Etsuko Ichikawa is included in this show and she has plans to do a live performance sometime during the run of the show. On view August 25th – January 10th, 2016. 465 Huntington Ave. in Boston. (617) 267-9300.
“Buddhist Art of Myanmar” continues on view until May 10th. “South and Southeast Asian Sculpture from the Asia Society Museum” remains on view until May 19th. Opening May 19th and on view until July 19th is “Inspired by Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot; Works by New York City Students.” Comprised of students impressions of the Paik show they had seen at the Museum earlier. From June 9th – July 19th is a show of video and photography from China. Asia Society Museum at 725 Park Ave. in New York City. Go to AsiaSociety.org/museum for details.
“After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/1997” is an ambitious group show that looks at the changing role of art in that country. Work by the Progessive Artists Group by artists like M. F. Husain, S. H. Raza, E. N. Souza produced in the wake of that country’s newly won independence in the late 40’s will be paired with contemporary examples by artists like Shilpa Gupta and Dayanita Singh. Opened on March 8th and remains on view through June 28th at the Queens Museum. Located in Queens, New York in the New York City Building, Flushing Meadows, Corona Park. (718) 592-9700 or go to www.queensmuseum.org.
For some reason, the state of Texas is bursting with new shows on Japanese art. The Museum of Fine Art in Houston has the following shows – “For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968 – 1979” in the Beck Building at 5601 Main St. through July 18th and “Unfolding Worlds: Japanese Screens and Contemporary Ceramics from the Gitter-Yellen Collection” till May 10th at the Law Building at 1001 Bissonet st. (713) 639-7300. And in Dallas at the Dallas Art Museum you’ll find “Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga” up till July 19th. Both artists were members of the Gutai group, the leading avant-garde organization of post-war Japanese artists that incorporated performance into their art events. 1717 North Harwood. (214) 922-1200.
In 1947, Britain partitioned India by religious belief creating Pakistan. More than a million people lost their lives during Partition as they were forced to move from ancestral homes to accommodate religious re-districting. Now, over 1,000 survivors of Partition have been interviewed on camera for the 1947 Partition Archive, a new museum dedicated to this event. It is quietly located on the upper floor of a bank building in downtown Berkeley, California. The 1947 Partition Archive founder is Guneeta Singh Bhalla. It is seen as a race against time as many of the survivors are now in their 70’s and 80’s. Bhalla reflects on her visit to the Hiroshima Memorial Museum and how the oral histories of that event stood out as so vivid. It inspired her to create an archive on the Partition, an event that was little known around the world but had tragic, long- standing consequences for generations of families. Go to http://www.1947Partition-Archive.org/ for more information.
Mary Griggs Burke, a late trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of art and renowned collector of Japanese art has given through her estate more than 300 works of Japanese art and a 17.5 million endowment to the museum. An endowment of equal size is being given to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Burke was a Minnesota native who eventually settled in New York.
The 2015 Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art held in Singapore gave out the following awards. Tokyo-based collective Chim/Pom was named the Overall Best Emerging Artist. Hong Kong’s Asia Art Chive won Best Asian Contemporary Art Institution. Chinese artist Gu Wenda received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Asian Contemporary Art.
Japanese Brazilian abstract artist Tomie Ohtake died in February. She was 101. Known primarily as a painter, she also did sculpture and prints. From 1950 – 62, she did a series of blindfolded paintings perceived as a critique of the extreme rationalism of the Brazilian art scene at the time. A cultural center bearing her name has opened up in Sao Paulo.
Thai artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’s early work centered on printmaking and sculpture. In the late 1990’s, she started making videos and films. She teaches at Chiang Mai University. Her most famous work is a series on corpses. In “The Class”, editions 1 through 3, she can be seen delivering lectures on death to a classroom of student corpses. A retrospective of her work was recently shown at the Sculpture Center in Long Island, New York. 44 – 19 Purves St. (718) 361-1750.
“Man of Letters” is an article by Brian Droitcour in the April issue of “Art in America” chronicling the publishing activities of experimental artist Paul Chan.
Comic book artist Norman Lee whose work graced the pages of books such as “X-Men”, “The Avengers” and “Supergirl” is missing and presumed dead after snorkeling in the Cayman Islands. His vibrant, inventive work brought each story alive. Our condolences to his family.
The “UW Night Market 2015: Yes Taiwan!” takes place on Sat., May 9th from 5:30pm – 10:30pm in Red Square on the Seattle UW campus. It’s an annual celebration of Taiwan’s culture through delicious food, activities and entertainment. Presented by the Taiwanese Student Association at UW. For details, email [email protected].
The UW Japanese Student Association presents Japanese Folktale Matsuri on May 16th from 5 – 9pm at the UW HUB North Ballroom on the 2nd floor. Event includes Japanese food, traditional games and performances including the UW Taiko Club. Free. For more details, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/1086517528030353/.
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. (2530 591-5840.
“Jasper in Deadland” is a new musical now playing at 5th Avenue Theatre until May 24th. This pop/rock musical is loosely based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Seattle raised actress/singer Diana Huey now based in New York is in the cast. Written by Ryan Scott Oliver & Hunter Foster. 1308 – 5th Ave. (206) 625-1900.
Seattle Symphony plays host to a full season of events. Here are some highlights. On May 26th, violinist Pinchas Zukerman performs with pianist Angela Cheng. Visit Seattlesymphonyorg or call (206)215-4747.
Rounding off the “Global Rhythms” Series is Saigon’s Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre featuring Rup Tung Cack on Fri., May 15th at 7pm. Other performances are on Sat., May 16th at 11am, 2pm and 7pm and Sunday, May 17th at 11am, 2pm and 7pm. Don’t miss seeing this 1,000 year-old folk art form. You’ll see jumping fish, flying dragons sprouting water and fire, fluttering phoenixes and get a glimpse at this country’s folk tales, history and culture. Seattle Town Hall. 1119 Eighth Ave. (206) 652-4255 or email [email protected] or go to townhall.org for details.
The Cornish College of the Arts has a continuing program of music from South Asia in May. Indian classical vocalist Pandit Uday Bhawalkar gives a concert on May 15th at 7:30pm at PONCHO at Kerry Hall. There will be a talk on “Indian Classical Music and the American Experimental Tradition” on May 16th at 10:30am at PONCHO at Kerry Hall. A Carnatic Violin concert by Shri Raman Iyer takes place on May 16th at 4:30pm at PONCHO at Kerry Hall. Finally Cornish presents “Sound In Unison – The Gundecha Brothers and Samvad” on May 16th at 7:30pm also at PONCHO at Kerry Hall. All tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets. For more information, email [email protected] or call (206) 726-5169.
Seattle Chinese Garden presents the Seattle Bamboo Festival and the Seattle-Luoyang Peony Festival over the weekend of May 18 – 19th from 10am – 4pm. Free. With cultural presentations, displays and artist demonstrations, peony arts and crafts sales and much more. Located at South Seattle Community College at 6000 – 16th Ave. SW in West Seattle. The Garden is just 5 minutes from the Deldrige Way exit off the West Seattle Bridge.
The 44th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival is the largest community-powered arts and culture festival in the U.S. and it’s always free. Takes place May 22 – 25th at Seattle Center. The cultural focus of this year’s festival is “Beats, Rhymes & Rhythms: Traditional Roots of Hip-Hop in the Northwest”. Showcased will be elements of hip-hop and their origins, going back to jazz scatting, African dance and music, Brazilian capoeira and spoken word. Besides that, world cultures will be represented in elements of music, poetry and dance including Thai classical dance, Bollywood etc. Another special feature will be performances by the Duoc Su Lion dance team and Huong Viet Performing arts group in the Cornish Playhouse. The Chinatown/ID’s own Massive Monkees will be there with a Break Dancing challenge with Arts Corps. For more information, call (206)595-1151 or email [email protected].
“The Feast” is a biting, dark satire about a world that fills up with reluctant vegetarians when all meat mysteriously turns to rot. Written by Toronto native Celine Song currently based in New York and in the MFA program in Theatre at Columbia. She has written and had several plays staged across the country already. Keep your eye on this talented new voice. On stage now until May 16th as presented by MAP Theatre. Performances at Theater Schmeater at 2125 -3rd Ave. (206) 324-5801.
The Steve Griggs Ensemble plays “Music Made from Japanese American Memories of WW II” at the Panama Hotel Tea Room at 2pm every Saturday in 2015. Free. 605 South Main St. Sponsored by 4Culture, National Park Serice, and Earshot Jazz. For details, go to panamahoteljazz.blogspot.com.
The Gardner Center presents “Music of the Japanese Imperial Court” as performed by Chief Court Musician Tohgi Hiraoki of Japan’s Imperial Household Agency on May 8th at 7:30pm at Seattle Asian Art Museum Auditorium. Hiraoki performs court music and dance (gagaku). A rare opportunity to hear and see Japanese court music played and performed in costume with some of the most ancient instruments in Asia. Free but reservations are encouraged. Go to seattleartmuseum.org and look for “tickets”. Other events with Tohgi Hiraoki are the following – On Wed., May 6th at 7pm on the UW Seattle campus in the Music Building’s Brechemin Auditorium there will be a lecture on court music and an opportunity to do a workshop short performance with Hiraoki-san.
The Adventure Musical Theater Touring Company, an off-shoot of the 5th Avenue Theatre brings live musical theater to students across the state. “Baseball Saved Us” based on the award-winning children’s book by local author Ken Mochizuki follows the journey of a young boy, with his family. They are imprisoned behind barbed wire, and guarded by soldiers at the start of WWII for looking like the enemy. As the boy learns to play baseball on the hot, dusty fields, he learns more than a game, he learns how to survive. Touring schools now throughout May, 2015. To register, call (206) 625-1418 or email [email protected]. Plays one night only on May 9th at Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island.
Pianist/composer Vijay Iyer has been described by the Village Voice as “the most commanding pianist and composer to emerge in recent years” winning numerous awards and charting on many “best of” lists recently. He brings his working trio of drummer Marcus Gilmore and bassist Stephan Crump to Seattle for a special concert on Saturday, May 9th at 8pm at PONCHO Concert Hall at 710 E. Roy St on Capitol Hill just off Broadway. Presented by Earshot Jazz with Cornish College of the Arts. Part of the Earshot Jazz Spring Series. For tickets, go to brownpapertickets.com. For more information on the complete series, go to earshot.org.
Jazz vocalist Sachal Vasandani is just one of many major jazz musicians appearing at Centrum’s Jazz Port Townsend, a weeklong workshop and festival directed by John Clayton from July 19th – 26th at Fort Worden State Park. Includes daily instruction from professional faculty and concerts as well. For details, go to centrum.org or call (360) 385-3102×109.
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. Chamber music by members of the Seattle Symphony including Xiao-Po Fei & Mae Lin with Eric Han on cello will perform a program of Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev on Sunday, May 10th at 2pm in Nordstrom Recital Hall. Dynamic pianist Lang Lang takes on Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor” along with works by Beethoven, Respighi and Greig’s “Piano Concerto” with the Seattle Symphony on Sunday, October 11th at 2pm. Gershwin’s American masterpiece, “Rhapsody In Blue” is performed Oct. 16th – 18th with Jeff Tyzik conducting, Jon Nakamatsu on piano and Doug LaBrecque on vocals. Meeka Quan Di Lorenzo on cello, and Jessica Choe on piano join other members of the Seattle Symphony as they perform a program of chamberworks by Bernstein, Carter, Prokofiev and Shostakovich on Oct. 27th at 7:30pm in Nordstrom Recital Hall. Want comedy with your music? The duo of Ingudesman & Joo return to Seattle after their success in 2012 at Benaroya with an all new show that mixes laughs with classical music and popular culture on March 3rd at 7:30pm.If you want a preview of the music the Symphony will be playing on their upcoming tour of Asia, check out the Ravel Piano Concerto as performed with Jean-Yves Thibaudet on piano along with music by Faure and Dvorak on June 5th.
Seattle Opera has announced their 2015/16 season under new General Director Aidan Lang. It marks a return to full-year programming with a total of six operas,, new productions and a world premiere. Many productions will also highlight new Asian and Asian American performers. Coming in August is “An American Dream” 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].
Comedian Bobby Lee of Mad TV fame performs his routine at Parlor Live Seattle May 28th – 30th. 1522 Sixth Ave. in Seattle. To to www.parlorlive.com or call (206) 602-1441.
Noted Seattle singer/songwriter Tomo Nakayama sings songs from his latest release on Sat., June 6th at 4pm outdoors at UW’s Henry Art Gallery. Part of the “Senses of Summer” series at the museum which brings artists and audiences together for a series of intimate outdoor concerts that heighten the senses and embraces the possibilities of a warm summer evening. Go to henryart.org for details.
Comedian Aparna Nancherla performs in the Comedy Womb series at Theatre Off Jackson on June 21st. 409 – 7th Ave. S. Doors open at 7pm and show starts at 7:30pm. Tickets available at Stranger Tickets.
Sound Theatre Company presents a Seattle Premiere production of noted British playwright Tom Stoppard’s “Indian Ink” done in collaboration with local South Asian theatre company Pratidhwani. The story is about a British woman poet in India who falls in love with an Indian painter and the complications that follow. August 13th – 30th. Presented at the Center Theater at the Seattle Center Armory at 305 Harrison St. Go to www.SoundTheaterCompany.org for details. Pratidhwani Theatre group also premieres a new production entitled “Dance Like a Man” on July 24th. For details, go to www.pratidhwani.org or call (425) 522-3570.
Congratulations to jazz musician Chris Icasiano who as part of the Table & Chairs Collective nabbed a Golden Ear Award from Earshot Jazz for “NW Concert of the Year.”
ACT Theatre celebrates their 50th anniversary with their 2015 Season. Some highlights include the following –“The Ghosts of Tonkin” from May 2nd – May 10th is playwright Steve Lyon’s look at one of the more devastating incidents of the Vietnam War and Oregon State Senator Wayne Morse’s efforts to prevent it. Directed by Mark Kuntz. May 18th brings the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. Be the first to see new work previewed by exciting new talent in theatre including work by Dipika Guha and Laureen Yee. “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.
The “Seattle International Dance Festival-Beyond The Threshold” comes to town from June 12th – 27th. With dancer companies local, national and international appearing at various venues around town. It also marks the sponsoring organization, Khambatta Dance Company’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. Besides performances, there will also be a chance to study dance in workshops with some of the visiting dance troupes. Of special interest is a dance company called “Hong Kong Exile” consisting of dancers from Hong Kong and Vancouver, BC. They present “NINEEIGHT”, a sensory driven multimedia dance theatre work inspired by Mo Lei Tau, a phenonmenon of absurdist, comedic film that emerged in Hong Kong in the 1990’s. Through an eccentric cinematic language, the work seethes with the climate of political anxiety of Hong Kong just before its handover to Mainland China in 1997, reflecting on personal fractures, disorientation, and the significance of a “motherland” at times of political, social and geographical transition. Paired with badmarmarDance, a local Seattle dance company who took last year’s “Spotlight on Seattle Artistic Development Award”. Part of Program A set for June 19th and 20th at 8pm. Another highlight and festival favorite from 2014 are Jerome Aparis of Massive Monkeys and Ezra Thomson of Pacific Northwest Ballet who meld the grace of ballet to the energetic moves of Hip Hop/B-Boy moves. This work employs elements of last year’s work along with original music by William Lin Yee. On a double program with Dancing People from Ashland, Oregon who are back by popular demand. . On Program B on June 21st at 7:39pm.Venues include Raisback Hall Theater at the Cornish College of the Arts at 2015 Boren Ave and the Moore Theater at 1932 2nd Ave. For tickets go to seattleidf.strangertickets.com or call (888) 377-4510. For more information, go to www.SeattleID.org or call (206) 552-0694.
Set for 5th Avenue Theatre’s 2015/2016 season is the World Premiere of “Waterfall, The Musical” based on the Thai novel “Behind the Painting” about a forbidden love affair between a young Thai student and the American wife of a Thai diplomat in 1930’s Thailand on the eve of WWII. It marks the U.S. debut of Thai music superstar Bie Sukrit Wisetkaew as the student and is directed by Tak Viravan. With book & lyrics by Richard Malty Jr. and choreography by Dan Knechtges. This is a co-production with Pasadena Playhouse and is billed as “a groundbreaking collaboration between Oscar and Tony-winning American and Asian theatrical artists”. October 1st – 25th. Subscribe by April 27th for the best seats. Go to www.thavenue.org or call (206) 625-1900.
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 at Trinity Church. Also composer/bassist Mark Izu has a new cd of all new compositions entitled “The Music of Mu” based on a musical about the magical journey of a young man from the land above and a Japanese mermaid from the deep blue sea. For booking information you can contact calartists.com or the artists direct at www.aokizu.com.
On May 22nd, Spoleto Festival USA presents the world premiere of “Paradise Interrupted” a new “installation opera” that features an origami paper garden that unfolds on an empty stage. Conceived by artist Jennifer Wen Ma with music by Huang Ruo and starring Qian Yi as a dreamer in search of an unattainable ideal.
Film & Media
“Translations – Seattle Transgender Film Festival” takes place May 7th – 10th at the Northwest Film Forum and the 12th Ave. Arts Building. One feature is the presentation of free screenings as well. Pride Asia presents a free screening of “Kamu Hina” on Sunday, May 3rd at the Seattle Public Library Central Branch downtown. The film is about a transgender teacher in Hawai’i and brings up the ancient culture perspective for the national debate on transgender rights. Directed by Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson. Part of the PBS “Independent Lens” series in May. Check your local listings for your PBS screening times. For details on the festival, check out these links –http://translations.strangertickets.com or www.threedollarbillcinema.org.
The Seattle International Film Festival returns May 14th – June 7th with hundreds of films from local filmmakers, national and international and a full slate of films from Asia and some made by Asian Americans. You can buy tickets online at SIFF.net or by calling (206) 324-9996 or in person at SIFF box office locations. Free copies of the complete schedule can be found around the city in coffee shops and bookstores as well. Here’s a small sampling of what you can see. A double-bill of the 1927 Chinese silent film “Cave of the Spider Woman” paired with the Shaw Brothers 1967 remake entitled “The Cave of Silken Web”. “Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories” is a Vietnamese film about a student, his playboy roommate and a night club singer adrift in the slums of Saigon. “A Few Cubic Meters of Love” is an Afgani “Romeo and Juliet” tale set in the most unlikely circumstances. “Margarita, With a Straw” is a coming of age story of a Indian college student with cerebral palsy who strives to live a normal life at NYU including the joys and sadness of romance and self-discovery.”The Golden Hill” looks at the re-adjustment a young man must make from his life in the big city to the mountain village where he grew up. “The Sacred Arrow” is about rival villages caught in a thousand-year-old Tibetan archery competition and the passions that ensue. “The Teacher’s Diary” of a goofy young school teacher on a remote Thai island who begins to fall in love with a previous teacher from reading the journal she left behind. “When Marnie Was There” is by a Miyazaki protégé and is an animated feature about a shy tennage tomboy and his relationship with a young blonde girl who may or may not be of this world. “Meet the Patels” is the story of an unlucky-in-love Indian man who gives up on the Western ways of finding a mate and tries a little traditional matchmaking Indian advice from hiw own parents and the adventures that ensue. “Seoul Searching” is a tribute to the John Hughes high school flicks by a Korean American who re-lives his youth with the story of Korean teenagers from around the world sent to the homeland for a summer camp cultural immersion. “Temporary Family” is a Hong Kong comedy about a young real estate agent who buys into a flat so his girlfriend will marry him. Trouble is, he has to share it with three total strangers. “When I Am King” is about a rich man on the edge of bankruptcy who returns to the Manila slums where he grew up on a mission to toughen up his grandkids only to find nothing stays the same. ”The Dark Horse” is the true story of a Maori bi-polar speed chess champion who returns to the community to teach kids the intricacies of the game. “Gentle” adapted from a Dostoevsky short story is about a Vietnamese pawnbroker who looks back on the events that led to his wife’s suicide. “Kid Kulafu” tells the ups and downs of the mighty Filipino boxer Pacquiao and his rise to champion. Get your tickets early for this one. “Faces of Yesler Terrace” cuts close to home as it tells the story of the people caught in the gentrification of Yesler Terrace, their lives there and the struggle to move. This program is a series of shorts with talented young local cinematographer/photographer Canh Nguyen adding his skills to Saman Mydani’s “Even The Walls”. “Paradise in Service” is a bittersweet historical romance about a young man who joins the Taiwanese armed forces.”Bonifacio” is an historical action/romance about a Filipino cultural hero who led the revolution against Spanish colonial rule. “Dukhtar” tells the story of a mother and 10-year old daughter who flee the mountains of Pakistan to avoid an arranged marriage to an aging tribal leader.”A Hard Day” is a South Korean crime thriller about a cop who covers up his own “hit-and-run” accidental killing only to be caught up in a web of consequences. “Haemoo” is a thriller co-written and produced by the Director of “Snowpiercer” fame about crewmen on a boat truing to keep afloat before falling victim to human betrayal. “Overheard 3” is a Hong Kong thriller about a just released ex-con who seeks revenge on his former employers using a complex web of surveillance. “Partners in Crime” tells the tale of three Taiwanese high school boys who become inseperable after finding the dead body of one of their classmates minutes after she commits suicide. “Snow on the Blades” is the story of a Japanese swordsman who is punished for failing to protect the Shogun’s chief minister. As he hunts down the assailants over the years, he watches Japan change. “The Look of Silence” is the follow-up documentary film to Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” and looks at the relative of one of the many killed by genocide as he confronts the Indonesian killers, ending decades of silence. “A Matter of Interpretation” is a Korean comedy about a failed actress and a police officer who share their penchant for interpreting dreams when it comes to their past loves. Satyajit Ray’s masterpiece, “The Apu Trilogy” will be shown in its entirety in three separate screenings in a beautiful digital restoration. This coming-of-age story of a Bengali boy follows his life up to maturity and should not be missed. “The Chinese Mayor” wants to return his crumbling city to its former glory but he must face the obstacles of pollution and moving hundreds of people. “The Coffin in the Mountain” is a moralistic tale about the fallout from the discovery and mistaken identity of human remains found on a rural Chinese mountain. ”Dearest” reveals some truths about the Chinese adoption policy as parents try to find their missing son. “Kurmanjan Datka Queen of the Mountains” is the epic story of a young girl who was told at a young age she would band together the warring tribes of Central Asia. “Meeting Dr. Sun” tells the tale of four poor students at a Taiwanese high school who hatch a plan to steal a statue only to discover another boy has the same plan. “Revivre” is the story of a Korean older man who tends to his wife’s long-term illness while fantasizing about an affair with a young woman at his office. In ”Under Construction” ,a woman tries to find her own identity amidst the urban sprawl of modern Bangladesh. “2045 Carnival Folklore” is a modern tale that looks at Japan after a nuclear disaster and the struggle for good vs evil. “Satellite Girl and Milk Cow” is an animated feature from South Korea in which a cow, a satellite girl and an enchanted roll of toilet paper band together to save the world. ”Angkor’s Children” is a documentary film about how three young people try to heal a nation wracked by war and genocide through the power of the arts. “The Birth of Sake” is a documentary about the labor-intensive job of hand-brewing sake that takes months of isolation and time away from family. “The Golden Era” follows the life a young Chinese woman author during the politically turbulent era of the 1930’s. “Little Forest – Summer/Autumn/Winter/Spring” is a quartet of one hour films that reveal how a young Japanese woman returns to her home village to live off the land and the mouth-watering recipes she creates from the seasons. “Mountain Spirits” is a documentary film about a Taiwanese artist and his large scale site-specific pieces using all natural materials. “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll” is a celebration of the Cambodian rock ‘n’ roll scene and its triumph over destruction in the wake of the Khmer Rouge. David Chen directs “The Primary Instinct”, a documentary on the wry, funny storytelling of Canadian bit actor Stephen Tobolowsky. “Frame by Frame” is documentary film that looks at four Afghan photojournalists in the aftermath of the Taliban and the chances of a building a free press. “Front Cover” is a drama about two Asian American men as they battle the cultural norms that keep them from living an honest life.
Northwest Film Forum and Three Dollar Bill Cinema celebrate their 20th anniversary together with the series entitled “Queer Vision 20/20” which will screen Thursdays in June. Happy hour at 7pm with screening at 8pm. “Black Lizard” by Kinji Fukasaku as introduced by Ro Yoon is based on Yukio Mishima’s play based on a 1934 novel by Edogawa Rampo (a Japanese mystery writer so enamored of American writer Edgar Allen Poe that he took it as a pen name). the storyline is about a criminal genius who picks the most beautiful boys and girls to be murdered and immortalized as statues. Go to nwfilmforum.org for details.
Japanese film director Junichi Suzuki’s “Nisei Trilogy” looks at the Japanese experience during World War II. The first part entitled “Toyo’s Camera” looks at the photos illegally taken inside an internment camp by the late Japanese American photographer Toyo Miyatake played at SIFF in early May. “442: Live With Honor, Die With Dignity” which covers the story of the 442nd Infantry Regiment composed mainly of Japanese Americans will screen on June 27th at Nisei Vets Hall and “MIS: Human Secret Weapon” looks at the mostly-Nisei intelligence operatives working for the army and that screens on June 28th at SIFF Cinema Uptown. For details, call (206) 324-9996.
2014 Artist Trust Fellow Mari Ichimasu will be holding a free stop-motion animation workshop at Le Voyeur Café & Lounge in Olympia on May 10th.
The Written Arts/Talks
“Gang Of Four – Four Leaders. Four Communities. One Friendship (Chin Music Press).” is the title of a new book by Bob Santos & Gary Iwamoto that chronicles the friendship of four different ethnic activists ((Bernie Whitebear, Larry Gossett, Roberto Maestas and Bob Santos) of various Seattle communities who changed the face of a city in the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s. There will be a book launch on Tues., May 12th from 6:30 – 8:30pm. MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry) at 860 Terry Ave. N. Free admission with autographed books for sale. Co-sponsored by MOHAI. Booksponsorship provided by Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. For details, email [email protected]. For press inquiries, email [email protected].
“Re Jane” (Patricia Dorman Books) by Patricia Park. This debut novel tells the story of a young Korean American woman who grapples with issues of identity, family and love in Queens and is also a modern retelling of Jane Eyre. Park reads at Third place Books on Wed., May 13th at 7pm. 17171 Bothell Way NE in Lake Forest Park. Go to www.thirdplacebooks.com for details.
Dr. Eugenia Chang, a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics & Statistics at University of Sheffield in the U.K. talks about her accessible introduction to the logic and beauty of mathematics in her new book entitled “How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics” on May 27th at Seattle Town Hall. Go to www.townhallseattle.org for details.
“Fighting for America: NISEI SOLDIERS” is a graphic novel that tells the story of six Nisei soldiers from the Pacific Northwest who proved their loyalty and made a significant mark in American history. Profiles of Shiro Kashino, Roy Matsumoto, Tosh Yasutake, Jimmie Kanaya, Frank Nishimura and Turk Suzuki. Text by Lawrence Matsuda and illustrations by Matt Sasaki. This graphic novel is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2015. Go to wingluke.org/fighting-for-america for details.
Elliott Bay Book Company has another list of readings set for spring in their store as well as at various venues around the city. All readings at the bookstore unless other wise noted. Poet Timothy Liu reads from “Don’t Go Back to Sleep” (Saturnalia), a finalist for a 2015 Lambda Literary Award. He traces the trajectory of the Nanjing Massacre and how that event affected the history of his whole family. Two other poets read as well. Richard Reeves reads from his new book entitled “Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II” (Henry Holt) on Tues., May 12th at 7pm. Noted Seattle cellist Rajan Krishnaswami, founder and director of Simple Measures engages noted contemporary composer Philip Glass in conversation on the eve of his newly published book entitled “Words Without Music: A Memoir” (Liveright/Norton) on Wed., May 13th at 7:30pm. At Town Hall. A $37 ticket admits one and includes a copy of the book. 1119 8th Ave. at Seneca. Janice P. Nimura (see related article in this issue) reads from “Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back” (Norton.) In 1871, the Japanese government sent five young girls from samurai families to the U.S. to learn about the West and receive an education. This book details what happened when they returned to Japan. Co-presented with Gardner Center for Asian Art & Ideas. Reading takes place on Thurs., May 14th at 7pm at Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Stimson Auditorium in Volunteer Park. Jay Rubin, former Professor of Japanese Literature at UW/Harvard University and noted translator of Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami’s books returns to Elliott Bay but this time with his own book. His novel entitled “The Sun Gods” (Chin Music Press) is set in Seattle and Japan from the 1930s to the 1060s and tells the story of what happened to Japanese Americans here on the eve of World War II. Fri., May 15th at 7pm. On Wed., May 27th at 7pm, Bob Santos and Larry Gossett, the two surviving members of Seattle’s own “Gang of Four” talk about how four ethnic groups came together to battle city powerbrokers over issues related to civil rights, development, poverty, fishing rights and gentrification. It’s all detailed in the new book entitled “The Gang of Four: Four Communities, Four Leaders, One Friendship” (Chin Music Press) co-written by Santos and Gary Iwamoto, IE board member. Elliott Bay Book Company is on Capitol Hill at 1521 – 10th Avenue. (206) 624-6000.
In response to current national unrest due to race and gender inequality, Hugo House has added a class that provides insight to writers tackling the difficult task of writing about contemporary topics while avoiding clichés and stereotypes. Runs in a series from April 11th – June 13th on Saturdays from 10am – noon. Writer/instructors include Wendy Call, Jane Wong, David Schmader, Anne Liu Kellor, Charles Mudede, EJ Koh, Anastacia Tolbert, Corinne Manning, Michelle Penazola and Emily Warren. Also noted poet Prageeta Sharma teaches a 1 day class entitled “The Myth of the Poetry Workshop” on Sat., May 23rd from 1 – 4pm. For details, go to Hugohouse.org or Facebook.com/HugoHouse or Twitter:@HugoHouse.
“The Sympathizer” (Grove Atlantic) by Viet Thanh Nguyen is told through the arresting voice of a double agent living among Vietnamese refugees in 1970’s America.
Noted Chinese American historian Judy Yung reads from the new revised and enlarged edition of “Island: Poetry And History of Chinese Immigrants On Angel Island 1910 – 1940” edited by Him Mark Lai, Ginny Lim and Judy Yung (UW Press). She returns to Seattle to give one last reading at Horizon House on May 6th at 3pm. For details, call 1-800-537-5487.
The Institute for Systems Biology presents a symposium entitled “Taoism, Biology And Life” with Xiao Dong Feng and Dr. Stephen Little with opening remarks by Dr. Lee Hood. Feng is an artist who grew up during the Cultural Revolution and was sent out into the countryside to live with the peasants. His work has the concise lyricism of Chinese poetry. Dr. Stephen Little has a long and extensive career as a Chinese art curator having worked at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and is presently department head and curator of Chinese and Korean Art at L.A. County Museum of art. His art work reflects his study of nuclear physics and Daoism. This event is free and takes place on Mon. May 18th at 3:15pm. ISB Main Floor. 401 Terry Ave. N. (206) 732-1200.
The Cleaver Quarterly is a new magazine devoted to the discussion of Chinese food and culture. Think of the culinary magazine “Lucky Peach” with a Chinese emphasis and you get the idea. Latest issue includes articles like “Rice Killers”, “Dandelion Cuisine”, “Food Proverbs”, “Pork Graffiti”, “Dim Sum Doodles”, “Melon Diplomacy”, “Hell Food” and “Egg Extravaganza”. Go to www.thecleaverquaerterly.com for details.
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 samplin:
Stanford University History Professor Gordon Chang’s latest book is entitled “Fateful Ties – A History of America’s Preoccupation with China” (Harvard University Press).
“From Both Shores – An Anthology of Japanese and Chinese American Women’s Family Memoirs” as Edited by Bay Area poet Ginny Lim is the latest pubishing project of the Japanese Community and Cultural Center of Northern California. To order copies, go to www.createspace.com.
“She Will Build Him A City” (Bloomsbury) is the latest novel by veteran New Delhi journalist and writer Raj Kamal Jhan. This blistering novel explores the terrible reality of India as seen through the eyes of various characters struggling to achieve their dreams deferred in New Delhi.
“What Pearl Harbor Wrought? Is a novel by veteran journalist Akio Konoshita. This novel traces the trauma of Pearl Harbor and how it affected Japanese Americans. The author is an Issei who was interned at Heart Mountain during WW II.
“For the Pink Dianthus” is a collection of haiku and tanka poems by Yoshie Hikage who also provided the illustrations. The English translation is by performing artist Brenda Wong Aoki. Published by Matsuhide of San Francisco. For details, go to www.matsuhidecompany.com.
“The Blind Writer” (UH Press) is a book of stories and a novella by Sameer Pandya. Pandya came to California from India when he was eight. The stories in this book follow the lives of first and second generation Indian Americans in today’s California as they navigate the memory of immigration in their everyday living. The book is anchored by a novella that tells the story of a triangular relationship between a blind, aging writer, his younger, beautiful wife and a young writer desperate to start his writing career.
“Sanyan Stories – Favorites From A Ming Dynasty Collection” (UW Press) is compiled by Feng Menglong and translated by Shuhui Yang & Yunqin Yang. These stories were pivotal to the development of Chinese vernacular fiction.
“A Far Corner—Life And Art With The Open Circle Tribe” (Nebraska) by Scott Ezell is a journey into the life and world of indigenous peoples in the mountains of Taiwan as told by a young American musician and poet
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.
Lisa See’s novel of Chinese American nightclub performers in pre-WWII San Francisco entitled “China Dolls” has just been released in a trade paperback edition by Random House.
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.
A spate of recent books on the ever growing contemporary Chinese art scene include these – “Contemporary Chinese Art (Thames & Hudson) by Wu Hung looks at the development of “contemporary” as opposed to “state sanctioned” visual art from the end of the Cultural Revolution to the rise of international Chinese artists like Ai Wei Wei. Paul Gladston’s “Contemporary Chinese Art: A Critical History” (Reaktion Books – London) looks at how all contemporary art in that country is tied to structures of power whether inside or outside the country. “My Generation: Young Chinese Artists” (Giles – London) is a catalogue accompanying a traveling exhibition by Barbara Pollack and Li Zhenhua that looks at 75 artworks by 27 young Chinese artists and collectives including Birdhead, Double Fly, Irrelevant Commission, Liu Di and Ma Qiusha. Xiaobing Tang’s “Visual Culture in Contemporary China: Paradigms and Shifts” (Cambridge University Press) looks at various art forms like prints, posters, films and paintings to see the historical frameworks of contemporary Chinese visual culture.
Local artists Rob Rhee and Dawn Cerny have turned their dream airbnb into an art installation called Xenia (a Greek term for hospitality). They have been given the loan of a friend’s apartment in Eastlake. So if you have any out-of-town friends with an artistic bent who like to live with art that isn’t mere decoration and need a place to stay, this may be the place. The front living room looks like spartan “Ikea” furniture tweaked by artists. Rhee, a transplanted New Yorker now teaching at Cornish supplies a funky table with fantasy plans of the furniture hanging on the wall. On one surface sits another artist’s book collection with personal notes that come with each book that tell you how they relate to his “Northwest”. So in a sense, this inn appeals to the artistic Sherlock Holmes who not only likes to live with art but to sleuth out the clues that each artist has left behind with their art objects. Rhee likes to see the boundaries between form and function dissolve. Available through May for $100 a night. Call (646) 431-7490 if you’re interested.
Artist Trust invites visual artists in Washington State to apply to the EDGE Professional Development Program which is a comprehensive survey of professional practices through a hands-on, interactive curriculum that includes instruction by professionals in the field as well as specialized presentations, panel discussions, and assignments. Edge takes place in Port Townsend Oct. 24th – 3lst. Applications will be accepted until June 30th, 2015. There are some scholarships available as well. The Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) has a final deadline of May 18th, 2015. However early birds who submit by May 10th get to have their application reviewed for clarity and completeness and be entered in a raffle to win a free Artist Trust membership. Go to www.artisttrust.org for more details.
The Frye Art Museum has a full slate of Summer Studio Art Classes from June to August 2015 as well as a Kids Camp in Dramatic Arts. Artist Lois Yoshida teaches an Introduction to Ink and Brush Painting. For details on classes and registration, call (206) 622-9250.
Xu Bing and Maya Lin are a few of the artists who have been awarded with the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts that recognizes their commitment to the State Department’s cultural diplomacy outreach through the arts, specially their work with the Art in Embassies program.
Wu Tsang was one forty-six artists who received a 2015 grant from Creative Capital in the Visual Arts category. Artists received up to $50,000 each.
The Office of Arts & Culture maintains a juried roster of visual artists of color to increase the visibility of artists from historically under-represented communities – communities of color, immigrant and refugee communities. The roster is used to curate exhibitions by artists who haven’t traditionally had access to commericial gallery spaces. This list is a resource for anyone looking for visual artists from diverse backgrounds for exhibitions. This is an open call to established and emerging artists living in Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia and Washington State. The deadline is May 18th at 11pm (PST). For more information, go to www.seattle.gov/arts or call Elisheba Johnson at (206) 684-0182 or Deborah Paine at (206)
Earshot Jazz seeks submissions from Seattle-area individual artists and ensembles for the 2015 Jazz: The Second Century series. Submissions must include a recorded sample of a project that can be performed in a concert setting. Please send submissions electronically to [email protected] or by mail to Earshot Jazz, 3429 Fremont Place N., #309, Seattle,WA 98103. Deadline is June 1st, 2015. If you have any questions before applying, call (206) 547-6763 or email [email protected]. A list of past winners can be viewed at www.earshot.org/Events/2nd_Century.html.
Northwest Film Forum launches a new one year Film Comprehensive with unique “residency-based” education program combining filmmaker education and practical production experience. Applications are due May 15th, 2015. Go to nwfilmforum.org/live/page/workshops.
NWFF also seeks excellent new Northwest films for their Local Sightings Film Festival which screens Sept. 24th – Oct. 3rd this year. Deadline for submissions is June 15th, 2015. Go to localsightings.org for details.
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. An exciting upcoming activity planned by the organization is a visit to Kagedo Japanese Art’s new gallery-residence set amidst Japanese-inspired Northwest gardens on the South Shore of Orcas Island. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the galleries and attend an informal discussion of Nihonga paintings, modernist bronzes, basketry and lacquers on view. In addition, co-owner Jeff Cline will discuss opportunities for collecting Japanese art. Set for Thursday, May 28th from 1 – 4pm. Participation is limited and advance registration a must. $40 discounted rate for members and $50 for non-members. For members credit card registration, go to http://bit.ly/1DSNfwa, for non-members credit card registration, http://bit.ly/1wmn4FR. Or you can also send your name and contact information with a check made out to Friends of Asian Art Association to: Friends of Asian Art Association, PO Box 15404, Seattle, WA 98115.
Hing Hay Coworks is a collaborative work space centrally located in the Bush Hotel in the heart of Seattle’s ID/Chinatown neighborhood. It is open to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and start-ups or small businesses and is animated by a community of business leaders who value meaningful partnership, creative exploration, and bringing ideas to market. The space will be open for monthly memberships in April. Space is limited, so please contact them if you want to become a member. Please refer all inquires to Quang Nguyen, Hing Hay Coworks Manager at [email protected].
The annual Enumclaw Studio Tour will be held on June 13th, 2015. Local artists who would like to participate in the event are invited to submit a request for an application to Gary La Turner at [email protected] Applications are due May 16th, 2015. If you have questions, you may call (360) 802-0239.
Congratulations to Professor Wayne Au, a recipient of UW Bothell’s 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award. What’s even more extraordinary is that he was nominated for this award by all fellow faculty and undergraduate students. He is currently associate professor in the School of Educational Studies. He is the author of “Unequal by Design: High Stakes Testing and the Standardization of Inequality”, co-writer with Bill Bigelow of “Rethinking Our Classrooms Volume 1” and editor of “Rethinking Multicultural Education: Teaching for Racial and Cultural Justice”.
Billed as “the bowling event of the century, ReAct Theatre’s fundraiser “Downton Alley Bowl” has the theme of Downton Abbey. Set for May 17th from 4 – 7pm. A $30 ticket gets you 3 hours of bowling, caterted food, a no-host bar and lots of fiun. Dress up as your favorite character from the famed British series or come as you are. The Garage Billiards & Bowl at 1130 Broadway. Must be 21 or older to participate. Go to http://www.reacttheatre.org/bowl.html for details.
Nominations for the 2015 Mayor’s Arts Awards has a May 31st, 2015 deadline. For details on categories and how you can nominate worthy candidates, go to www.seattle.gov/arts.
The city of Seattle is launching a Civil Poet Program to celebrate Seattle’s rich literary community, while investing in the future of literary arts through community engagement. This is a paid position with various duties. Deadline to apply is May 28th, 2015. Go to http://www.seattle.gov/arts/funding/civic_poet.asp for details.
Applications are now being accepted for Washington State Poet Laureate 2016-2018. Deadline is July 31st, 2015. The role of this position is to promote awareness and appreciation of poetry through readings, workshops, lectures and/or presentations in various parts of the community throughout the state. This is a paid position. For details go to [email protected] or call (206) 682-1770×110.
There are still some out there who fear the change that art can bring to people’s lives. Sabeen Mahmud was founder and director of PeaceNiche and a member of the Asian Society’s 21 Young Leaders Network. She was murdered by unknown assilants on her way home in Karachi, Pakistan. Her non-profit organization was set up to promote democratic discourse and conflict resolution through intellectual and cultural engagement.” Her space called The Second Floor was a “café, book shop, art gallery and performance space” that hosted hundreds of events since it founding in 2007. Our hearts go out to her friends and family and those who continue this struggle.