Congratulations to Seattle artist Paul Komada who received a 2015 Neddy Artist Award. His work will be shown with other local winners in a show entitled “2015 Neddy Artist Awards” through Sept. in the Open Project Space/Main Gallery along with “Remembering Ned Behnke” on the President’s Gallery/ 7th Floor at Cornish College of the Arts. Opening reception with remarks on Sept. 9 at 7pm. Also open First Thursday from 12 – 7pm and during the SLU Art Walk Oct. 1 from 5 – 8pm. For details, go to www.cornish.edu.
The work of Kathy Liao is included in a group show entitled “Observing Observing – A White Cup” on view from Sept. 12 – Oct. 31 with opening reception set for Sat., Sept. 12 from 2 – 4pm. This show emphasizes the powers of observation over content with the motif of a white cup as a constant. Prographica Gallery at 1419 E. Dennuy Way. (206) 322-3851 or go to prographicadrawings.com.
Upcoming shows include “Gods and Monsters”, new work by Mio Asahi in September and new work by Eunice Kim in October. Asahi creates a folkloric world all her own with images of powerful women who call the wind and tame dragons. Also through Sept. is a show of etching and aquatint prints by Azumi Takeda. Her work captures the absurdity and darkness of city living in which we are surrounded by many but connected to none. A subtle humor and playfulness balances her bleak urban vision. And Seattle artist shows his collages culled from posters he found in the cities of Paris and Cochin in India. Also on view through Sept. Traditional Japanese prints have a world of their own that can seems at times a bit neat and fussy as if looking at a well manicured garden locked in a greenhouse. Gallery founder/curator Beth Cullom broke a glass pane in the roof of that greenhouse and let the sunshine in when she started showing contemporary print work by artists influenced by the Japanese tradition but not chained to it. She got her training working for Carolyn Staley, the Northwest specialist in ukiyo-e and modern Japanese woodblock prints but when she opened her own gallery, she took a more modern and refreshing approach. Since April of 2015, after receiving a cancer diagnosis, Cullom has elected to begin the process of closing her gallery in order to spend time with family and devote time to getting well. We wish her a speedy recovery. Davidson Galleries is loaning their space for her final show with studio e for an exhibit of works by Juliet Shen in Oct. Meanwhile, the gallery is hosting a special event, a 44th Anniversary auction & Beth Cullom Benefit set for Thurs., Sept. 17th from 5 – 9pm. If you appreciate what Beth Cullom has brought to the area with her gallery then please come out and support her recovery. For full info. on this event, go to davidsongalleries.com/auction. Davidson Galleries. 313 Occidental Ave. S. (206) 624-7684.
“Rebels Of The Floating World” is the title of a forthcoming show featuring work by two acclaimed contemporary urban artists who explore our complex transitions between tradition and history. New work by Jonathan Wakuda Fischer who has turned the Japanese woodblock tradition on its head and made it contemporary and Louie Gong who will be showing a new series of paintings. Opens Oct. 1 from 6 – 8pm on First Thursday and remains on view through Oct. Artxchange Gallery. 512 First Ave. S. (206) 839-0377.
“Passages” is a show of new works in oil by local artist Z.Z. Wei. It continues his involvement with the Northwest landscape with the motif of a car on the road as the compass. Artist reception takes place Sept. 3 from 6 – 8pm. The show remains on view through Sept. 28. Patricia Rovzar Gallery at 1225 Second Ave. in downtown Seattle. (206) 223-0273 or go to www.rovzargallery.com.
“Voices of Sumi Art” is a group show of local artists who work with Japanese sumi ink on rice paper. Artists include Fumiko Kimura, Voski Chakirian-Sprague, Selinda Sheridan and David Berger. On view from Sept. 1st – 12th. Handforth Gallery on the second level of Tacoma Public Library at 1102 Tacoma Ave. S. Library hours are Tues. & Wed. from 11am – 8pm and Thurs. – Sat. from 9am – 6pm. (253) 292-2001.
The work of Keiko Hara is included in the group show entitled “From The Artist’s eye” on view now through Sept. 23rd. Curated by Kathleen Rabel and Lisa Young, the exhibition features original prints with mixed media elements. Museum of Northwest Art at 121 South First St. in La Connor, WA. (360) 466-4446 or go to www.museumofnwart.org.
Bellevue Arts Museum brings a wonderful show of handcrafted collaboration between husband and wife in “In The Realm of Nature: Bob Stocksdale & Kay Sekimachi. Individually and together, these two artists pushed the use of wood/paper as a material to new creative heights. Stocksdale specialized in the use of woods from around the world in his bowls. Sekimachi’s work inspires as visual poetry applied to material. Not to miss.
Opening Sept. 26th, ceramics by Reid Ozaki and Matt Allison. (206) 381-3000. KOBO at Higo. 604 South Jackson. Email is [email protected] seattle.com. Kobo has a sister shop on Capitol Hill.
Photographer Michael Kenna has spent a considerable amount of time in Japan taking images of landscapes and still-lives. There is a pristine, precise delicacy to his work that catches every detail. A new series entitled “Forms of Japan: Photographs” comes to G. Gibson Gallery with an artist and booksigning reception set for Nov. 5th from 6 – 8pm. 300 South Washington in Pioneer Square. Go to www.ggibsongallery.com for details.
The Yakima Valley Museum has the current exhibit, “Land of Joy and Sorrow – Japanese Pioneers of the Yakima Valley” up until 2018. It tells the history of Japanese families who created a community there before the war. Only 10% of families returned to re-settle there after the war. 2105 Teton Dr. (509) 248-0741. In related news, a softball from this collection that saw play at Heart Mountain internment camp and owned by George Hirahara has been given to the Smithsonian and was on display in the incarceration section of the exhibit, “The Price of Freedom – Americans at War”. (As reported in the North American Post.) In other news, Hirahara’s Oregon photographs of the Japanese American post-WWII experience in the Pacific Northwest are now available online at Densho. To see his documentation of Nikkei Oregon life in “New Partner Collection: Frank C. Hirahara Photographs From The Oregon Nikkei Endowment”, go to http://www.densho.org/new-partner-collection-frank-c-hirahara-photographs-from-the-oregon-nikkei-endowment/. Also a profile of the Washington State University Hirahara Collection of photos from Heart Mountain is now featured on the Japanese American History Not For Sale Facebook Page by going to https://www.facebook.com/japaneseamericanhistorynotforsale.
“Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Na Hulu Ali’I” presents the first exhibition of Hawaiian featherwork on the U.S. mainland developed in partnership with the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu. Around 75 rare and stunning examples of the finest featherwork capes and cloaks in existence will be shown as well as royal staffs of feathers, feather lei, helmets, feathered god images and related paintings and works on paper. Opens August 29th, 2015 and remains on view through Feb. 28th, 2016. De Young
Seattle ceramic artist Akio Takamori was a recipient of the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards given by the Portland Art Museum which will give him a show which runs from Oct. 2015 – Jan. 16th, 2016. Also Ai Weiwei’s “Circle of Animals/ Zodiac Heads: Gold” remains on view through Sept. 13, 2015. 1219 SW Park Ave. Go to www.portlandartmuseum.org for details.
New work by artist Miya Ando will be shown at Winston Wachter Fine Art through Sept. 4th, 2015. Her work done in metal canvases and sculpture articulate themes of contradiction and juxtaposition of ideas. A descendant of Bizen sword makers, she was raised among sword smiths and Buddhist priests in Okayama, Japan. Ando shares the show with photographer Kim Keever. 203 Dexter Ave. N. (206) 652-5855 or go to www.winstonwachter.com.
The work of noted Northwest ceramic sculptor Patti Warashina is included in SOFA, the annual expo show of sculpture, objects, functional art and design in Chicago. Nov. 6th – 8th, 2015. Opening night on Nov. 5th at Navy Pier. Go to sofaexpo.com for details.
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – “Tales of Tails: Animals in Children’s Books is the latest show to open at the museum. Sept. 3rd First Thursday Toddler Storytime has the free telling of the book, “Lissy’s Friends” with a fun art activity. 11am – 12pm. “CONSTRUCT/S” is a new group show that presents a diverse group of six international, national and local female artists who will transform The Wing’s art gallery into a multi-sensory, interactive exploration of identity, subjectivity, history, culture and gender. It is curated by Dr. Stacey Uradomo-Barre. It remains on view through April 17th, 2016. Artists include the following – Terry Acebo Davis from California recreates her mother’s bedroom drawing upon the fact that she is suffering from dementia. This room is a place she yearns to return to and the piece deals with a fragmented narrative of memory, loss, identity, and Filipino American culture. Kaili Chun from Hawai’I has an interactive installation of man-made steel bars that unlock to grapple with issues of subjectivity and community and reflect the continuous socio-political negotiation of Native Hawaiians with the mainstream society. Yong Soon Min from California, after a career exploring Korean American Identity and colonialism now examines her own personal struggle of pain and trauma as she tries to recover from a cerebral hemorrhage that affected her ability to form language and memories. Min has shown previously in Seattle with temporary art installations. Tamiko Thiel (Germany) & Midori Kono Thiel (Seattle) present a mother-daughter collaboration combining traditional calligraphy with mobile technology. Their augmented reality installation virtually links art and culture with physical landmarks significant to the local Japanese American community. Lynne Yamamoto from Massachusetts went to Evergreen College in Olympia as a student. She has shown here previously with an installation at Suyama Space and a show at Greg Kucera Gallery. Her new piece here was inspired by the early 20th century tent houses of Japanese immigrant farmers. This work interweaves family memories and community history, evoking the migratory nature of the Japanese American farming community. She also has a public art commission at the Seattle Public Library planned as well. A catalog for this show is available. Yamamoto makes two local appearances. She gives an Artist Workshop on Sat., Sept. 26th at 10:30pm at the Wing where she will engage the audience with an art activity based on her installation in the show Her work is rooted in stories of her family history as Japanese immigrants to Hawai’i. She also gives a free talk about her work at the Seattle Central Library on Sat., Sept. 26th at 2pm. Commissioned by the City of Seattle. Level 4, Room 2 at 1000 4th Ave. downtown. The Young Family Collection of Qing Dynasty robes opened Jan. 15th . “Who Gets To Belong?” is an exhibit that looks at the Immigration Act of 1965 that lifted the quotas for Asian Pacific Islander immigration. This exhibit which opens March 5th from 6 – 8pm will look at the cultural and political climate that pushed for this act. “Do You Know Bruce?” is a major new show on the personal, intimate story of martial arts artist and film star Bruce Lee and the significance of Seattle in his life. Opens Oct. 4th with the full support of the Lee Family. The Wing is the only museum in the world, outside of Hong Kong, to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee’s life. The Lee family has plans to eventually open a permanent museum on Bruce Lee’s life and legacy in the Chinatown-ID neighborhood. Year 1 of this ground-breaking Bruce Lee exhibition closes on Sept. 6th, 2015 so if you haven’t seen it yet, hurry! Year 2 of the exhibition opens Oct. 3rd, 2015 and digs deeper into the significance of Bruce Lee and his impact in media during a time of racial stereotypes and barriers. Includes text panels by national blogger Phil Yu (aka Angry Asian Man) plus Green Hornet toys, personal letters, behind-the-scenes photos from the sets of “Way of the Dragon” and “Enter the Dragon”, hand-written film notes, rare photos inside his early Chinatown studio and much much more. A new set of Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tours begin Oct. 6th. 719 South King St. (206) 623-5124 or visit www.wingluke.org. Closed Mondays. Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. First Thursday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm. Third Saturday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm.
“Voices of Nisei Veterans – Permanent Exhibition and Collections” is composed of rare collections preserved by the Nisei Veterans Committee and tells the story of Japanese American veterans before, during and after WW II. Access is by pre-arranged tour only. For reservations or information, email [email protected] or [email protected]. Jointly sponsored by the NVC Memorial Hall and The Wing. 1212 South King St. The August 18th edition of Seattle Channel includes a tour of this exhibit by Josephine Cheng. Go to www.seattlechannel.org for details.
Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park – First Free Saturday family activity takes place from 11am – 2pm. “Chiho Aoshima: Rebirth of the World” looks at the work of this pivotal member of the Japanese neo-pop art movement whose work merges the sweetness of kawaii culture with the cloudy future of a post-apocalyptic world. Includes photography, drawing and an animated video installation. Remains on view through Oct. 4th. “Calligraphic Abstraction” is a group show exploring the world of calligraphy in all its’ various forms of beauty from a Mark Tobey painting to Islamic, Chinese and Japanese examples. On view until October 4th in the Tateuchi Galleries. TThe Gardner Center’s “Saturday University” Series continues with these talks. “Focus on Asia: Photography Past and Present” by Frances Terpak, Curator of Photographs at the Getty Research Institute. Sat., Sept. 26th at 9:30am.For complete information on all events, go to seattleartmuseum.org.
Seattle Japanese Garden recently celebrated its 55th anniversary. Upcoming events include the following – Respect for Elders Day is on Sept. 14th. A Maple Viewing Festival is set for Oct. 11th. For more details, go to www.seattlejapanesegarden.org.
Lois Yoshida once again teaches a new series of classes entitled “Introduction to Ink and Brush Painting” on Sundays – Sept. 20, 27, Oct. 4 from 10am – 4pm. It’s just part of the many Fall Studio Art Classes held at Frye Art Museum. Register now. 704 Terry Ave. (206) 622-9250.
The 20th Annual Northwest Jewelry & Metals Symposium takes place Oct. 17 at Broadway Performance Hall at 1625 Broadway in Seattle. To register, go to www.SeattleMetalsGuild.org and click the “Programs & Events” link.
Tacoma Art Museum has opened a new wing to accommodate the gift of a new collection. “ART OF THE AMERICAN WEST: The Haub Family Collection at Tacoma Art Museum just opened. Included in the present show is work by contemporary Chinese American artist Mian Situ. He creates epic paintings in the European tradition but inserts Chinese American immigrants as protagonists in scenes in which they’ve previously been missing. The photography of Seattle photographer Chao-Chen Yang is included in a group show entitled “Northwest in the West: Exploring Our Roots”. This show explores the distinct identity of Northwest art and how it has adopted, adapted and reacted against its western roots. A theme particularly apt and timely since the museum is building a new wing to house their new collection of Western art. Both shows through the fall of 2015. “Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff” was last seen in a smaller edition at Seattle’s Greg Kucera Gallery. A greatly expanded touring version is on view through Sept. 13 at the museum. In this series, Shimomura inserts himself as an aging Asian Everyman in various guises, both political and poignant. “Partners in NW Art: Selections from the Aloha Club Collection” is a group show of Northwest artists that were collected by the Tacoma community club from 1948 – 1971. This collection was given to the Museum by the organization. Ceramic artist Patti Warashina is represented in this collection. Opens June 27th and remains on view through Sept. 3rd. “Art AIDS America” is a groundbreaking exhibition that underscores the deep and unforgettable presence of HIV in American art from the 1980’s to the present. Co-curated by TAM Chief Curator Rock Hushka and Dr. Jonathan Katz who directs the Visual Studies Doctoral Program at the University of Buffalo. Opens Oct. 3rd and remains on view through Jan. 10th, 2016.Tacoma Art Museum is at 1701 Pacific Ave. (253) 272-4258 or go to TacomaArtMuseum.org.
Catch Tacoma artist Yuki Nakamura who is building a special installation of suspended porcelain, paper and Mylar with eerie digital projections as part of the Bellingham National 2015 Art Exhibition and Awards on view through Sept. 6th, 2015. Guest-curated by Scott Lawrimore, now at the UWs Jacob Lawrence Gallery. Whatcom Museum at the Lightcatcher Building at 250 Flora St. (360) 778-8930.
Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland has “Oregon Nikkei: Reflections of an American Community” a show that celebrates the lives and contributions of Oregon’s Nikkei community, and evokes memories of shared experiences – from early settlement through the trials and tribulations of WWII and into the 21st century. On view through Sept. 27th, 2015 is “Yosegaki Hinomaru: Souvenir, Heirloom or Art?” This exhibition explores a time seventy years ago when families sent their sons off to war carrying personal items, and neither the son or the property returned. Open Tu. – Sat. 11am – 3pm and Sundays, noon – 3pm. 121 NW 2nd Ave. (503) 224-1458 or email [email protected].
“Meet Me at Higo” permanent exhibit- Part Two” presented and sponsored by the Wing is a multi-media presentation and self-guided tour that tells the origins and history of the store as a Japanese American five and dime. At Kobo at Higo, 604 South Jackson. E-mail [email protected] or call (206) 381-3000.
KOBO Gallery at Higo in Japantown/International District always has interesting shows of new ceramic work or work that conveys an Asian aesthetic. Go to koboseattle.com for updates. 604 S. Jackson St. (206) 381-3000.
The Art History Lecture Series with Rebecca Albiani for the upcoming year includes a series of talks on “Netsuke: Miniature Masterpieces of Japanese Sculpture” set for Jan. 14th at 11am and 7pm and Jan. 15th at 11am. The talk is repeated three times. To register, call (206) 432-8200.
“Off site” is the title of an installation by Mumbai-based artist Reena Saini Kallat that re-creates immigration routes around the world using electric wire, circuit boards and speakers across a giant map. On view until Oct. 12th. Vancouver Art Gallery at 750 Hornby St. in Vancouver BC, Canada. (604) 662-4719 or go to vanartgallery.bc.ca.
“Generation to Generation – History of Chinese Immigrants in British Columbia” is an ongoing exhibit of photographs from the 1800s and 1900s. Chinese Cultural Centre Museum at 555 Columbia St. in Vancouver BC, Canada. (604) 658-8880 or go to cccvan.com.
“Mingei: Japan’s Enduring Folk Arts” is on view from June 20th to Oct. 11th at the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby, BC Canada. Over 100 works gathered from all over Japan attest to the power and joy of Japan’s folk art tradition. 6688 Southoaks Crescent. (604) 777-7000.
“Buddhist Arts of Asia” is a group show tracing Buddhist art through various countries in
Asia. From the gallery’s permanent collection. Through Sept. 20th. Art Gallery of Greater Victoria at 1040 Moss St. (250) 384-4171 or go to aggv.ca.
Oakland Museum of California presents a major exhibition on historic and contemporary pacific cultures and peoples and their interactions with California. “Pacific Worlds” opens May 30th and remains on view through Jan. 3rd, 2016. The show explores the on-going connections and intersecting experiences of Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, along with Filipinos, Native Californians, and American collectors and colonists. 1000 Oak St. in Oakland, CA. For details, go to museumca.org or http://www.museumca.org/.
New work by Seattle artist Diem Chau is on exhibit through Oct. 31st, 2015 at the Philadelphia Zoo as part of “Second Nature”, an array of artist installations that ell the stories of endangered species through the use of recycled, reduced, reused, repurposed and renewed materials. Her series of carved crayons “Precious Few” take the forms of 48 animals on the endangered species list. The zoo is at 3400 W. Girad Ave. in Philadelphia. Their phone # is (215) 243-1100. Diem Chau is represented locally by G. Gibson Gallery (ggibsongallery.com) and she is open to commissions.
“Discovering Japanese Art: American Collectors and the Met” tells the story of how the Museum built its comprehensive collection of Japanese art beginning in the 1880s up to the modern era. On view until Sept. 27th, 2015. 1000 – 5th Ave. (212) 535-7710 or go to www.metmuseum.org.
Some upcoming shows at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston include the following – “Crafted Objects in Flux” is a group show that look at artists who “simultaneously blur and expand craft’s landscape.” Seattle artist Etsuko Ichikawa is included in this show and she has plans to do a live performance sometime during the run of the show. On view August 25th – January 10th, 2016. In related news, the museum has hastily pulled an event labeled “Kimono Wednesdays” scheduled to run throughout July. Visitors were invited to don museum-provided kimonos while posing for photos in front of Monet’s “La Japonaise”, a painting of the artist’s wife wearing a kimono. Protestors charged the museum with perpetuating racist stereotypes by presenting Asian culture as exotic. The museum apologized. A counter-protest by Japanese women in kimonos materialized and the new museum director has promised a community forum on the issue.465 Huntington Ave. in Boston. (617) 267-9300. An update on this. Keiko a writer from Boston who has been covering this issue on her blog has emailed me to correct some of the above information. She says the event was not cancelled but modified and that no formal apology has been given. For her perspective on this on-going controversy, go to http://japaneseamericaninboston.blogspot.com/2015107/monets-la-japonaise-kimono-wednesdays.html.
Opening Sept. 10th and on view through Jan. 3, 2016 is “Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms”. It showcases recently excavated objects that highlight the prosperity and achievements of the little-known Philippine Kingdoms that flourished long before the Spanish discovered the region and colonized it. They affirm the unprecedented creativity, prosperity, and sophisticated metalworking tradition of the pre-colonial period. They also attest to flourishing cultural connections and maritime trade in Southeast Asia during what was an early Asian economic boom. Asia Society Museum at 725 Park Ave. in New York City. Go to AsiaSociety.org/museum for details.
“Sotatsu – Making Waves” is a major show of that Edo-period, 17th century Japanese screen painter taking place at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery this fall from Oct. 24th – Jan. 31st, 2016. Over 70 pieces of work from American, European and Japanese collections including work by later artists influenced by Sotatsu. 1050 Independence Ave. SW in Washington DC. (202) 633-1000.
An implicit exhibition ban in place by the Chinese Government since the 2011 arrest of dissident artist Ai Weiwei seems to have been relaxed. Four solo shows of the artist’s work were allowed to open just last month. Even the artist himself seems to have been surprise by this turn of events. A new Laura Poitras film “The Art of Dissent” featuring Ai Weiwei has been released online. The government has now issued the artist a passport freeing him to visit Europe where he has planned activities in England and Berlin where his wife and son now reside.
Over ten years ago, highly esteemed British sculptor Anish Kapoor was commissioned to create a public sculpture in Chicago. Since then, the piece titled “Cloud Gate” or “The Bean” for short has become a landmark in that city. Recently the city of Karamay, China announced it will unveil a public sculpture that looks like Kapoor’s classic piece. Kapoor expressed outrage over this display of plagiarism and asked Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel to join him in his fight for justice. Instead the Mayor remarked that “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.” Shocked by the Mayor’s casual attitude towards the controversy, he wrote an open letter which read:
“I feel myself to be an honorary citizen of your great city of Chicago. Cloud gate, nicknamed The Bean, has been a major feature of Chicago’s landscape for over a decade and has helped keep in view Chicago’s vision of itself as the most modern city in America, if not the world.
I am therefore astonished at your statements about the Chinese copy of the sculpture Cloud Gate as that of an act of flattery. I urge you to stand by my side and fight plagiarism. I feel compelled to ask what other businesses and innovators from Chicago have had their copyrighted material stolen in a similar way? Will you call this flattery, too?
Creativity in all walks of life is hard won. It is incorrect to accept that we should allow for it to be undermined or stolen and therefore give it little or no value. Chicago will lose from this thievery. We cannot let this happen.
Anish Kapoor 13, August, 2015
Excerpted from “Hyperallergic” , August 14, 2015
New York’s Guggenheim Museum has indicated that their interest is their growing contemporary Chinese art program is serious by hiring Jou Hanru and Xiaoyu Weng as new Curators of Contemporary Chinese Art.
Singaporean curator and arts administrator Tan Boon Hui was appointed director of New York’s Asia Society Museum and vice president of the institution’s global arts and cultural programs.
BUMBERSHOOT is the end of summer party, the arts festival for the city that always signifies that autumn’s not far behind. Taking place over the Labor Day weekend of Sept. 5,6 & 7 with activities for kids, dance, music, comedy, film, performing arts, spectacles, theatre, words & ideas and visual art sprawled over the entire grounds of Seattle Center. Some acts to watch out for – New Islands United (NIU) Roots is a local high school group that perform song and dance from Tonga and Samoa, funny and wise comic Hari Kondabolu who once made Seattle his home visits his old hometown for an appearance, Kalahi is a local Philippine dance company, Northwest novelist Jamie Ford who put the Panama Hotel on the map with his “At The Corner of Bitter And Sweet” is on a author panel with Timothy Egan and Brian Doyle speaking around the topic of “Writing The Northwest.” Bamboo DNA is a company founded by artist Gerard Minakawa that specializes in the design, construction and installation of bamboo structures and environments. See his amazing bamboo environment on the Seattle Center grounds. “Battle of The Word” is a slam poetry competition. Cheers on your favorites as they compete for the title of Seattle Battle of the Word Champions. Sara Porkalob is a Seattle-based actor and director. Hear and see her one woman show “Dragon Lady” that travels back and forth through 40 years of her Filipina grandma’s faulty memories. For information and tickets, just go to bumbershoot.com.
Bay Area classically train Korean composer/pianist JooWan Kim brings his Bay Area hip-hop orchestra Ensemble Mik Nawooj (see related story in this issue) on their first Pacific Northwest tour. They make a stop at Barboza at Neumos on Sept. 6th. They will play deconstructed and re-imagined hip hop classics like C.R.E.A.M. Gin & Juice as well as preview cuts from their forthcoming release entitled “EMN”. If you can imagine a hip symphony composed of younger players fronted by rappers and led and conducted by a composer/pianist with imaginative, fresh charts, then you can start to get the picture. 925 E. Pike St. Early 7pm show with special guests. $10 advance tickets. (206) 709-9442.
“SOUND” (see related story in this issue) is a new play by Don Nguyen that explores the impassioned dispute on Martha’s Vineyard between a fiercely protective deaf father and his hearing ex-wife over the use of cochlear implants to restore their daughter’s hearing. They struggle to find common ground in a world that separates deaf and hearing cultures. In a parallel story, 130 years earlier in the same place, Alexander Graham Bell is on a quest to invent he first hearing aid and cure deafness. His devastating actions leave feelings of loss and betrayal in the deaf community. A bi-lingual play in American sign language and spoken English with a mixed cast of deaf and hearing actors. Co-directed by Desdemona Chiang and Howie Seago. Sept. 8 – Oct. 4, 2015. Co-presented with Azeotrope at ACT Theatre’s Bullitt Cabaret. 700 Union St. (206) 292- 7676.
Nonsequitur’s Fall Concerts at the Chapel present a wide-ranging series of experimental music and sound art as part of the Wayward Music Series at the Chapel Performance Space in the historic Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. Some highlights include the following – Join two generations of Japanese sound artists as Aki Onda and Akio Suzuki present “Ke I Te Ki”, an exploration of sound through the use of homemade instruments, cassette tapes, assorted tools and found objects. Set for Sept. 10 at 8pm. Two Americans and Two Japanese collaborate in the give-and-take world of electroacoustic improvised music. With Tetuzi Akiyama on guitar, Bryan Eubanks on saxophone, Jason Kahn on percussion and Toshimaru Nakamura on electronics. Set for Friday, Oct. 30 at 8pm. Judy Dunaway is considered the “mother of balloon music” and she comes to Seattle on Sat. Nov. 14 at 8pm to improvise with local instrument builder and sound-finder Susie Kozawa and friends. 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. on the 4th floor of the Good Shepard Center. For details on the whole series, go to websites for Nonsequitar or Wayward Music Series.
Noted concert pianist Michi Hirata North plays one of the most difficult piano concertos by Tchaikovsky with Julia Tai conducting the Philharmonia Northwest Orchestra in a “Michi Hirata North 75th Anniversary Piano Concert” at UW’s Meany Hall on Sept. 20th. North made her debut as an eight-year-old prodigy playing Mozart with the Shin Philharmonic Orchestra (now known as the NHK Orchestra). She still teaches and performs, flying to Taiwan several times a year to teach master classes. Ticket sales will benefit the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington. Tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets. 15th Ave. N.E. & N. E. 40th St. on the Seattle UW campus. (206) 568-7114.
The Steve Griggs Ensemble plays “Music Made from Japanese American Memories of WW II” at the Panama Hotel Tea Room at 2pm every Saturday in 2015. Free. 605 South Main St. Sponsored by 4Culture, National Park Serice, and Earshot Jazz. For details, go to panamahoteljazz.blogspot.com.
Dr. L. Subramaniam makes a rare Seattle appearance with Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad as part of the Seattle Theatre Group’s 2015/2016 season. They will appear on Sept. 10th at the Moore Theatre. Subramamiam is an acclaimed South Indian violinist, composer and conductor. He is trained in the classical Carnatic music tradition and western classical music. He is respected for his virtuoso playing and compositions in orchestral fusion. He comes from a family tradition of musicians and has released over 200 recordings. Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad come from a South Asian family that are masters of Qawwaili Sufi music. They belong to a music school founded in the 14th century that remains the best known to this day. (206) 812-1114.
2015 Aki Matsuri, the 18th annual fall festival that features all kinds of modern and traditional aspects of Japanese culture takes place over the weekend of Sept. 12 and 13 at Bellevue College located at 3000 Landerholm Cl. S.E. 10am – 6pm on Sat. and 10am – 4:30pm on Sun. For details, go to www.enma.org.
“Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival” takes place on Sun., Sept. 13 at Seattle Center’s Armory from 11am – 7pm. Go to www.maunalua.com for details.
Jazz Alley, one of Seattle’s finest jazz clubs features the following. Japanese piano sensation Hiromi returns to Seattle with her working trio Sept. 17 – 20. The 16th Sister City Jazz Day presents Japanese jazz vocalist Yuka Yamazoe on Sept. 21. L.A. based jazz fusion/new age pianist Keiko Matsui performs Nov. 12 – 15. 2033 – 6th Ave. downtown. (206) 441-9729 or go to [email protected].
Oct. 9 – Nov. 18 are the dates for Earshot Jazz Festival 2015 bringing exciting local, national and international musicians to various Seattle stages. Performing as part of this series is local percussionist/composer Paul Kikuchi and his “Songs of Nihonmachi”, an evocative collage of turn-of-the century Japanese popular songs re-interpreted in modern arrangements. Kikuchi’s great grandfather who settled in eastern Washington had a record collection of such tunes. Recently Kikuchi was able to go to Japan on a Japan/U.S. Exchange Artist Fellowship and research more of this early music of the era. Tues., Nov. 5 at the Panama Hotel at 6pm. To get the full schedule of the Earshot Jazz Festival 2015, go to www.earshot.org. The Panama Hotel is at 605 S. Main St. in the Nihonmachi section of Chinatown/ID.
Comedian/actress Ali Wong of “Comedy Central” fame tapes a TV special on Sept. 25th at the Neptune. There will be shows at 7:30pm & 10pm. On NE 45th & Brooklyn Ave. in the University District. Presented by STG. For tickets, go to stgpresents.org, call (877) 784-4849 or just buy your tickets at the machine in front of the theatre.
Shunpike’s “Paint The Town Red” is that organization’s annual fundraiser. The audience is invited to attend in any shade of red. Featured performances by Pork Filled Players, The School of TAIKO and many others. Sponsored by City Arts. Oct. 9, 2015 at Town Hall Seattle. Go to golden.shunpike.org for tickets.
The Modern Sky Festival originated in Beijing a few years back and has now gone global. This year this festival comes to Seattle at Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater on Oct. 11th from 1pm 10pm. Headliners include noted rock groups from the West and a batch of Chinese rock bands as well. The Gang of Four, The Black Lips, Ariel Pink and Mirel Wagner are names you might know. But what’s impressive about this festival is that you also get a peek at what Chinese rock bands are up to. Bands scheduled to rock the stage include New Pants (“synth-heavy dance punk anthems”), Song Dongye , Miserable Faith and Hedgehog (“noise-pop trio from Beijing”). Go to http://www.ticketfly.com/event/899401-modern-sky-music-festival-seattle/ for details.
Nikkei taiko virtuoso Kenny Endo presents a show that features over 40 years of his music in a concert with Kenny Endo Contemporary Ensemble at Kent-Meridian Performing Arts Center at 10020 S.E. 256th in Kent. Oct. 16. (253) 856-5051 or go to www.kentarts.com.
Jake Shimabukuro, that one man melodic ukulele army invades Seattle once again to the delight of legions of fans anxious for the soothing lilt of island songs as well as pop and classical tunes remade. Friday, Oct. 23rd at the Paramount. Tickets go on sale August 21 at 10am. Presented by STG. 9th Ave. & Pine St. downtown. (877) 784-4849 or go to stgpresents.org.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the programs Seattle Symphony has to offer under the baton of Music Director Ludovic Morlot later this year going into 2016. Seattle Symphony launches an international piano competition presented in Partnership with Young concert Artists and Washington Performing Arts. The competition seeks to recognize pianists who embrace contemporary music and creative programming and the public is invited to all three rounds sept. 15 – 18. Nine pianists from an international pool of contestants have been selected to participate. Winner gets a $30,000 cash prize and a performance with the Seattle Symphony’s Opening Night concert on Sept. 19th, 2015. Many of the contestants have Asian names including Kevin Wong Fenchung Ahfat, Han Chen, Peng-Chian Chen, Chuang-chuang “Peter” Fang, Vijay Venkatesh and Sean Yeh. Dynamic pianist Lang Lang takes on Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor” along with works by Beethoven, Respighi and Greig’s “Piano Concerto” with the Seattle Symphony on Sunday, October 11th at 2pm. Gershwin’s American masterpiece, “Rhapsody In Blue” is performed Oct. 16th – 18th with Jeff Tyzik conducting, Jon Nakamatsu on piano and Doug LaBrecque on vocals. Meeka Quan Di Lorenzo on cello, and Jessica Choe on piano join other members of the Seattle Symphony as they perform a program of chamberworks by Bernstein, Carter, Prokofiev and Shostakovich on Oct. 27th at 7:30pm in Nordstrom Recital Hall. Want comedy with your music? The duo of Ingudesman & Joo return to Seattle after their success in 2012 at Benaroya with an all new show that mixes laughs with classical music and popular culture on March 3rd at 7:30pm.If you want a preview of the music the Symphony will be playing on their upcoming tour of Asia, check out the Ravel Piano Concerto as performed with Jean-Yves Thibaudet on piano along with music by Faure and Dvorak on June 5th.
Seattle Opera has announced their 2015/16 season under new General Director Aidan Lang. It marks a return to full-year programming with a total of six operas,, new productions and a world premiere. Many productions will also highlight new Asian and Asian American performers. Jonathan Lemalu, a Samoan from New Zealand makes his Seattle Opera debut singing the role of Nourabad in Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” next. Set in Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka), the story revolves around two young men who vow to never let a woman come between their friendship until the inevitable happens. 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].
“Extraordinary Ordinary People – American Masters of Traditional Arts” is an exhibition with monthly artist performances & humanities programs on Fridays from 7:30 – 9:30pm on Sept. 25th, Oct. 2nd, Oct. 9th, Oct. 9th, Oct. 30th, Nov. 13th and Nov. 20th. Traditional artist demonstrations on Saturdays from 11am – 4pm on Sept. 12th and 26th, Oct. 3rd, Oct. 31st and Nov. 14th. The exhibit is up from Sept. 11 – Nov. 30th. Admission, opening on Fri. Sept. 11th at 7pm and demonstrations are free. Suggested $10 donation for all performances. A cross-cultural mix of music and culture from cancion music from Latin America, Croatian Americans, Finnish music, Hindustani classical music, Cowboy and Native American and Scandinavian music. For the traditional artist demonstrations in the front gallery, catch Yoshiyasu Fujii on Oct. 31 demonstrating Japanese American calligraphy. For the traditional artist performances & humanities programs in the large studio, catch Debi Prasad Chatterjee in a concert of Hindustani classic music on sitar on Oct. 9. Jack Straw Cultural Center at 4261 Roosevelt Way NE in Seattle’s University District. (206) 634-0919 or go to www.jackstraw.org for details.
Tea ceremony demonstrations continue at Seattle Art Museum downtown every Third Thursday at 5:30pm and every Third Sunday at 2:10pm. Free with admission. Please note there will be no tea ceremony demonstrations during the month of August.
The Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers of India present a concert entitled “Spirit of India” which presents an evening of Indian live music and dance. Featuring one of India’s greatest musical figures, Rahis Bharti. All seating is reserved. At the Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium at Benaroya Hall on Wed., Sept. 30th, 2015 at 7:30pm. For tickets, call (206) 215-4747 or go to the ticket window in-person at Benaroya Hall. 200 University St. in downtown Seattle.
Set for 5th Avenue Theatre’s 2015/2016 season is the World Premiere of “Waterfall, The Musical” based on the Thai novel “Behind the Painting” about a forbidden love affair between a young Thai student and the American wife of a Thai diplomat in 1930’s Thailand on the eve of WWII. It marks the U.S. debut of Thai music superstar Bie Sukrit Wisetkaew as the student and is directed by Tak Viravan. With book & lyrics by Richard Malty Jr. and choreography by Dan Knechtges. This is a co-production with Pasadena Playhouse and is billed as “a groundbreaking collaboration between Oscar and Tony-winning American and Asian theatrical artists”. October 1st – 25th. There will be a “Spotlight Night” program about this musical on Th., Sept. 10 at 7pm at Taper Auditorium at Benaroya Hall at 7pm. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at this Broadway-bound musical and the team that is bringing it to life. Free but you must RSVP for tickets in advance.Go to www.thavenue.org or call (206) 625-1900.
“Ikebana Power” highlights the art of Japanese flower arrangement in a different way as living sculptural ikebana turned into performance art. Flower arrangement master Tetsunori Kawana makes his U.S. debut, takes Japanese floral art off the table and sculpts it large across the stage. Oct. 3 at 1:30pm at Kirkland Performance Center. For tickets, go to ikebanapower.org.
The UW World Series season for 2015/2016 has some extraordinary performances booked from around the world. For their UW Seattle Meany Hall location. In the “World Dance Series”, Seattle favorites Sankai Juku return with the North American premiere of “Umusuna: Memories Before History” Oct 1 – 3 at 8pm (Co-presented with Seattle Theatre Group). This work by this contemporary butoh group evokes the essence of duality and unity encapsulated in the Chinese characters for “birth” and “earth” that combine to form the work’s title. The Akram Khan Company is known for fusing the classical Indian form of kathak with contemporary dance. They make their northwest debut with “Kaash” in which the theme of Hindu gods, black holes, Indian time cycles, tablas, creation and destruction all play key roles. Nov. 12 – 14th at 8pm. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center consisting of CMS Co-Artistic Director and Pianist Wu Han and violinists Sean lee and Benjamin Bellman take solo turns in music by Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn. One night only on March 19th, 2016 at 7:30pm. The Daedalus Quartet plays Friday, April 29th, 2016 at 7:30pm with work by Beethoven and the world premiere of a new work by UW Music composer Huck Hodge. In the “Special Events” category, the Peking Acrobats and sitarist Anoushka Shankar make appearances. Peking Acrobats come to perform their daring balance maneuvers with live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments on Sat., Jan. 23, 2016 at 3pm and 7:30pm. Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of the late virtuoso sitar master, Ravi Shankar brings her own genre-defying mix to the instrument with Indian music, electronica, jazz, flamenco and Western classical music all playing a part. She performs on Sat., April 9th, 2016 at 8pm. A “Special Engagement” will feature “An Evening with Yo-Yo Ma” on Tues., Dec. 8, 2015 at 7:30pm. This world – renowned cellist has recorded classical music and has never been afraid to collaborate with musicians from various genres from all over the world. This appearance is a rare opportunity to hear him in an intimate space. (206) 543-4880 or go to uwworldseries.org or get tickets in-Person at 1313 NE 4lst St. Ticket
The 2015-16 Saturday Family Concerts at Town Hall Seattle are set. Traditional Japanese arts with Kabuki Academy are set for Nov. 14th. Other acts include Caspar Baby Pants, Pointed Man Band, Swil Kanim Pig Snout!!, Gustafer Yellowgold, Franchesska Berry and Frances England. Town Hall Seattle is at 1119 8th Ave. (206) 625-4255 or go to www.townhallseattle.org.
Friends of Asian Art Association presents Seattle musician, traveler and amateur ethnomusicologist Dick Valentine who will give a talk entitled “Traditional Flutes & Flute Traditions in Asian Musical Cultures. Sunday, Sept. 27th at 1pm. Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Alvord Board Room in Volunteer Park. Free Parking. For tickets and more information, go to [email protected] or call (206) 522-5438.
Pop singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata comes to the Crocodile for a one night only show on Oct. 22nd. Got to www.monqui,com for details.
As part of Seattle Rep’s 2015/2016 new season, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Ayad Akhtar’s “Disgraced” will be performed Jan. 8th – 31st. The story is about a Pakistani-born successful New York lawyer whose life is turned upside-down when his Muslim heritage is questioned. 155 Mercer St. (206) 443-2222 for tickets.
“Caught”, a play by Christopher Chen gets a production by Seattle Public Theater as part of their 2015-16 Mainstage Season. It runs May 20th – June 12th, 2016 with a preview on May 19th. The play is a mind-bending satire about truth, art, and deception. When an art gallery hosts a retrospective of the work of a legendary Chinese dissident artist, the artist himself appears and shares with patrons the details of his ordeal that explores truth, art, social justice and cultural appropriation.7312 W. Green Lake Drive N. Go to www.seattlepublictheater.org for details.
“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.
Zhang Huoding is one of China’s biggest Peking Opera stars. She makes her U.S. debut in “The Legend of the White Snake” in New York at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. She will be the subject of a documentary by noted Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai. The Chinese government is helping to promote her appearances as part of a good will campaign to promote China’s cultural heritage. The Peking Opera is a 1,000 year old tradition in China.
After more than a year of contention and controversy between Myung Whun Chung, artistic director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and his administration, Chung announced he will step down next year. The Orchestra had rose to prominence under Chung’s baton resulting in a 10-album DG contract and international recognition.
“Sounds and Cries of the World” is a forthcoming release by experimental jazz vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu. Recent travels through East Timor, Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan allowed her to explore her ancestor’s roots and learn musical traditions. Shyu is a member of Steve Coleman’s Five Elements and a 2014 recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Award.
Film & Media
Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of “Beacon Hill Boys”, a then student production based on Ken Mochizuki’s book. It looks back in time as several friends cruise the night time streets of Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, and the Chinatown/ID. One of the first films to capture the Seattle Asian American youth experience. Join the filmmakers as they reminisce about the experience they had making this film using a cast of amateur locals. Sat., Sept. 19th at 3pm and 5pm. Two ticket options. You can pay $15 for access to the 3pm special screening with cast & crew followed by panel discussion and reception or just pay $5 for entry to the 5pm general screening. At the Wing. 719 South King. (206) 623-5124.
Two new Korean films screen in Puget Sound shortly. “Memories Of The Sword” written & directed by Park Heung-sik opens August 28th. Three legendary warriors lead a revolt to topple a corrupt empire and save the people. But when deceit and betrayal costs the life of a master swordsman, bad blood and feuding threatens to undermine everything. Baek Jong-Yeol’s “The Beauty Inside” is a comedy about a man whose face and body change every day and the relationship he has with his girl friend who continues to love him despite the continual change. The surprise sleeper hit of Cannes. Opens Sept. 11th. My guess is that the films will screen at AMC Loews Alderwood Mall 16 and Cinemark Federal Way. For more details on locations, email [email protected].
Northwest Film Forum invites the public for a free public screening of “City Stories With Youth Videos And “Even The Walls – 70 Years At Yesler Terrace” on Sept. 14th and the filmmakers will be present. Catch some new young talent as they introduce and screen their short films. Also the winner of “Best Short Film” category at the recent SIFF 2015, “Even The Walls – 70 Years At Yesler Terrace” will be screened. Cinematographer for this haunting look at the multi-cultural residents of this public housing project was Canh Nguyen who himself, grew up as a child in this project. 1515 – 12th Ave. (206) 829-7863.
Grand Illusion Cinema has a nice mix of animated features and documentaries that might interest you. Japanese pop culture artist Takashi Murakami makes his directorial debut with an animated feature entitled “Jellyfish Eyes”.(see related story in this issue). A boy moves to the countryside with his mother after the father’s death. He makes friends with a flying jellyfish in this fantasy post-tsunami world. Screens Aug. 21 – 27. August 28 – Sept. 3rd brings J. P. Sniadecki’s documentary film entitled “The Iron Ministry” that documents the uneasy encounters between China’s citizens and the machines that form one of the world’s largest railway networks. See what China’s economic boom has done to its railroad transportation system. “Topspin” is a documentary by Sara Newens and Mina T. Son that takes you into the world of competitive ping pong. Screens Sept. 4th – 8th. And finally if you like Japanese girl groups and “anime”, we may have found the film for you. The girls of Japanese manga come alive in Takashiko Kyogoku’s “Love Live! The School Idol Movie”. In Japanese with English subtitles. Sept. 12th and 13th. The Grand Illusion is at 1403 N.E. 50th in the University district. (206) 523-3935.
Here are some new films that will be coming to a local Landmark Theatre in Seattle soon. Patricia Clarkson plays a rich jilted New York wife and Ben Kingsley plays her Sikh Indian driving instructor in a new film entitled “Learning To Drive” which opens at the Guild 45th in Wallingford on Sept. 4th. “He Named Me Malala” is a new documentary film on the efforts of Malala Yousafzai and her father to bring education benefits to the young girls of Pakistan. Malala gained world-wide notoriety when she survived assassination attempts by the Taliban to end her efforts at educating more girls in Pakistan. This film will open on Oct. 9th either at the Guild 45th or the Seven Gables Theatre. Emmy award-winning Director Cary Fukunaga (Director & Executive Producer of HBO’s “True Detective”) brings a new movie based in Africa about boy-soldiers based on the book by Nigerian writer Uzodinma Iweala. Entitled “Beasts of No Nation”, it is Netflix’s first original film. The film stars Idris Elba who plays a warlord who takes a young boy-soldier under his wing. Set for October 16th either at the Guild 45th or Seven Gables Theatre.
Portland’s Third Annual 2015 Portland Film Festival runs from Sept. 1 – 7. Some films to note include the following – Sridhar Reddy’s “6 Angry Women” looks at an all-female jury entrusted to deliberate a verdict on the death of an unarmed black teenager by a white neighborhood watchman. “Lost And found” is a documentary film by Nicolina Lanni and John Choi that looks beachcombers on the Pacific Northwest coastline and the debris they found from Japan after the tsunami and the unlikely friendships forged with people in Japan. “Made in Japan” by Josh Bishop looks at the journey of one woman through music, marriage and the impact of the corporate world on her dreams. This weekend extravaganza includes besides the films, 75 master classes, two lifetime achievement tributes and a live event featuring several thousand festival goers as extras in a record-setting zombie day event. Go to www.portlandfilmfestival.com for details.
“Women is not a Genre” is the theme for SIFF’s annual “Women in Cinema” film festival set for Sept. 17 – 24. Films related to Asia include the following. Emily Ting’s “It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong” is the opening night feature about a walk-and-talk romance between a Chinese American girl (Jamie Chung) and an American expat (Bryan Greenberg). Director will be in attendance and there’s a party afterwards at Capitol Cider. Screening on Sept. 19 is Vanessa Hope’s documentary film “All Eyes and Ears” which explores the complex relations between the U.S. and China through a series of interlocking stories – U.S. Ambassador John Huntsman’s adopted Chinese daughter and a blind legal advocate seeking asylum in the U.S. Individual tickets and festival passes available. Go to http://www.siff.net/cinema/women-in-cinema-2015 for details.
“Local Sightings” is the Northwest Film Forum’s 18th annual film festival showcasing local Northwest film talent from Alaska to Oregon. Over 15 features and over 50 short films plus a focus on N.W. animation and a Zine Fair”. Runs Sept. 24 – Oct. 3, 2015. Films screen at the Film Forum and the Grand Illusion Cinema. NWFF is located at 1515 – 12th Ave. on Capitol Hill. For a full schedule beginning Sept. 3, go to nwfilmforum.org.
Port Townsend Film Festival is definitely the little engine that could. They show over 80 films in eight theatres throughout town Sept. 25 – 27. Some highlights include the following – “Frame by Frame” was a popular documentary film at this year’s SIFF and looks at four Afghan photojournalists who face the realities of building a free press after the fall of the Taliban. Also showing is “Good Ol’ Boy”, another popular feature from SIFF about an East Indian family in small town America and their 10 year old boy who falls in love with the new culture, “Saturday Night Fever” and the blonde girl next door. “Back on Board” is a documentary film that looks at Olympic award-winning high diver Greg Louganis, his career and eventual return to the sport as a coach. (360) 379-1333 or go to ptfilmfest.com or email [email protected].
The 20th Seattle Lesbian & Gay film Festival returns Oct. 8 – 18 at venues across town. Go to www.threedollarbillcinema.org for complete details.
The 18th Annual Tacoma Film Festival takes place Oct. 8 – 15 presented at the Grand Cinema in Tacoma. It features more than 188 films from across the nation & the world plus Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Cinema”. Go to Tacomafilmfestival.com. Full line-up announced Sept. 17.
Pencil in your calendars for Tasveer’s annual “Seattle South Asian Film Festival” set for Oct. 15th – 15th at various venues in Seattle, Renton, Redmond, Bellevue and Bothell. A very rare opportunity to sample new films from countries as varied as Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan. To catch up on details, go to www.tasveer.org.
The recent runaway hit at Sundance that had folks talking was “Tangerine”, a new film by Sean Baker about 24 hours in the lives of transvestite hookers on Sunset Boulevard. What got people talking was the lavish look of the film that was shot on cellphone cameras using the latest technology. The film also featured first rate performances by the principals wrapped around an arresting plot-line full of interesting characters. What went unnoticed perhaps was the abundance of Asian American talent on the set. Radium Cheung was co-dp and co-producer, responsible for the wonderful look of the film. Shih-Ching Tsou worked triple duty as producer, costume designer and actress, playing the owner of the donut shop where all the action takes place in the climatic final scene.
More news from Bay Area filmmaker/writer Arthur Dong. His recent documentary film “The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor” which recently played SIFF 2015 is getting its international Cambodian premier in a four-city tour of the country including stops in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap and Ngor’s home town of Samrong Yong in Takeo. August 21 – 28. Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy of Phnom Penh and Bophana Center. The director will introduce the film at every screening. For details, go to www.facebook.com/events/1644783909126518/ . The film also screens at the Cambodia Town Film Festival in Long Beach, CA on Sept. 6th at 6:30pm with subjects from the film and the director present. Art Theatre at 2025 East 4th St. in Long Beach. Go to http://cambodiatownfilmfestival.com for details. The filmmaker was recently honored at the Asian American International Film Festival with a tribute and screenings of his films including his latest. Also the book Dong wrote based on his documentary film entitled “Forbidden City USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936 – 70 was one of the winners of an American Book Award presented by the Before Columbus Foundation.
The Written Arts/Talks
The latest edition of the Beacon Bards reading series features local poet Koon Woon with Utah poet Natasha Saje. Woon reads from his recent volume of new and selected poetry entitled “Water Chasing Water” (KAYA) and Saje reads from “Vivarium”, an imaginative tour of the alphabet in verse. Sept. 9 at The Station.
“Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers”, a graphic novel by Lawrence Matsuda and artist Matt Sasaki that tells the story of Nisei soldiers from the Pacific Northwest proving their loyalty through battle during WW II has a “Book Release & Signing” event. Sat., Sept. 12th from 1 – 4pm. Free. In addition, a teacher workshop to accompany the book takes place on Sat., Oct. 10th from 9am – 3:30pm.All events at the Nisei Veterans Committee Hall at 1212 S. King St. in Seattle. Created in partnership with The Wing and the Nisei Veterans Committee Foundation. Their website is nvcfoundation.org.
Elliott Bay Book Company has another list of readings set for spring in their store as well as at various venues around the city. All readings at the bookstore unless other wise noted. Seattle poet and artist Anita Feng retells the story of the Buddha in a contemporary setting in her illustrated novel “Sid” (Wisdom/Simon & Schuster). She reads Tues., Sept. 8 at 7pm. Salman Rushdie reads from his new novel, “Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights” (Random House) on Mon. Sept. 14th at 7:30pm at Town Hall Seattle. Nancy Singleton Hachisu author of award-winning “Japanese Farm Food” returns with a new book entitled “Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen” (Andrews McMeel). In a demonstration/talk with free samples (yum!) on Tues., Sept. 15th at 7pm. Hachisu will also be at the Broadway Farmer’s Market on Sun., Sept. 13th from 1 – 2pm signing books and giving out cooking advice. When it comes to Indonesia, probably the only writer of stature that has reached our shores in any quantity is Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Of course there are dozens of talented writers from that island country that remain unknown to us because of lack of translation. Eka Kurniawan represents that new generation and luckily for him and us, there are two new translations of his work now available. “Beauty Is a Wound” (New Directions) translated by Annie Tucker and “Man Tiger” (Verso) translated by Labodilah Sembiring. He makes his first US tour on behalf of these books and will be in Seattle on Tues., Sept. 15 at 7pm at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Co-presented with the Gardner Center For Asian Art & Ideas. The museum is at 1400 East Prospect in Volunteer Park. Christina Lopez, Sarah Scott and Miriam Padilla are three local contributors to a new anthology entitled “Talking Back: Writers of Color” (Red Letter Press) as edited by poet/activist Nellie Wong. On Sun., Sept. 20th at 3pm. Francis Terpak appears as part of the Saturday University Focus on Asia: Photography Past and Present Lecture Series”. She will talk about “Photography in China: The First Fifty Years”. Presented by the Gardner Center For Asian Art And Ideas in partnership with UW Jackson School of Int. Studies and Elliott Bay Book Company. This reading on Sat., Sept. 26 at 9:30am at Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Stimson auditorium. Go to www.seattleartmuseum.org for details. Naomi J. Williams reads from her debut novel entitled “Landfalls” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Mon. Sept. 28 at 7pm. In this book she re-imagines the doomed French attempt to circumnavigate the world in the 1780’s with each chapter devoted to a different point of view of explorer, indigenous people, loved ones and other Europeans. The voyage went through Alaska, Siberia, the South Pacific and other locales. To give you more insight about this book, the author wrote thusly – “The book is really different from traditional novels of the sea for two reasons in particular. First, I’m a middle-aged, Asian American woman writing in a genre that generally been the preserve of white male writers. And second, each chapter is the novel is told in a different narrator, which gives space for voices not usually heard in such books. I’m really an unlikely teller for such a story. My mother is Japanese and my father was a white American. I was born and partly raised in Japan. I didn’t speak any English until I was nearly six years old. But I think my experience as a mixed-race, bi-cultural, bi-national woman who’s switched countries and languages has left me with an abiding interest in people who cross boundaries and end up where they don’t necessarily ‘belong’.” Oct. 10 brings Amitiav Ghosh who will read from his highly anticipated new novel that is the final part of the best selling Ibis Trilogy entitled “Flood of Fire” at Town Hall Seattle. Award-winning poet Kimiko Hahn in town for a Hugo House writing workshop makes a rare Seattle appearance on Mon., Oct. 19 at 7pm paired with local poet Betsy Aoki whose “Work Dreams of Coder Girl” won an Honorable Mention for the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize. Novelist Nina Revoyr reads from “Lost Canyon” (Akashic), a novel of a multi-cultural group of Angelenos on a hike in the Sierras who get more than they bargain for on Fri., Oct. 23 at 7pm. Again at Town Hall will be journalist Deepa Iyer on Dec. 1 who will talk about the new war on South Asians in the US in the wake of 9/11 in “We Too Sing America” (New Press). Noted journalist Meera Subramanian tackles the complex issue of water and society in India and the activists dedicated to preserving the environment in a her first book entitled “A River Runs Again – India’s Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka” (Public Affairs). Her Northwest tour takes her first to Powells in Portland on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3rd to Elliott Bay. Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk reads from his new novel entitled “Strangeness in my Mind” at Seattle Central Public Library downtown. Nov. 7th brings novelist Isabel Allende who reads from “The Japanese Lover” at Seattle First Baptist Church. At the dawn of WWII a Polish couple sends their young daughter to the safe care of an aunt and uncle in Los Angeles. In this new environment the young woman slowly is drawn into a relationship with the son of a Japanese gardener. When WWII starts, all Japanese Americans on the West Coast are incarcerated. But through time in different circumstances, the lovers find some way to meet. Elliott Bay Book Company is on Capitol Hill at 1521 – 10th Avenue. (206) 624-6000.
Hugo House, that local treasure of literary arts brimming full with readings and classes presents the following. Nationally acclaimed poetry publisher WAVE Books has a group reading for five Wave poets who live in the Northwest. Don Mee Choi joins others in this reading on Sept. 10 at 7pm. This event is free. The Poetry World series pits two teams of poets who take turns batting at topics thrown at them by the audience. The local edition includes Western University Professor and prize-winning poet Oliver de la Paz and others. Judged by Nancy Guppy and hosted by musician John ‘Roderick. Sept. 27 at 7pm and free. Award-winning poet Kimiko Hahn makes a rare West Coast appearance at Hugo House. Have you ever been interested in exploring classic Japanese poetic forms and see what it will do to your own poetic voice. Hahn will be in town to teach an Intensive entitled “Japanese Forms to Tilt the Western Mind” the workshop runs for about a week from Oct. 20 – 24 from 6 – 9pm. Hugo House members pay a discounted price. If you want to become a member, go to http://hugohouse.org/support/become-member/. To register for this class, go to http://hugohouse.org/classes/teachers/#18039. 1634 11th Ave. on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. (206) 322-7030.
The Tacoma Poetry Festival will be a gathering of some of the most renowned poets with roots in the Pacific Northwest. Tacoma Poet-laureate Cathy Nguyen , Northwest leading poet David Wagoner and many others will participate. Includes readings, workskhops and an Open Mic. Takes place Oct. 16 & 17 at the Tacoma Public Utilities Building Auditorium. 3628 S. 35th St. (253) 502-8600. Sponsored by Puget Sound Poetry Connection. Go to http://thetacomapoetryfestival.com/ for details.
Northwest husband and wife Korean literature translating team, Bruce and Ju Chan fulton continue their unparalleled work. Their current translation of Korean graphic novelist Yoon Taeho’s webtoon/netcomic “MOSS” runs every Mon. and Thurs. in the Huffington Post entertainment section. It can accessed free through next month by going to http:www.huffingtonpost.com/SPOTTOON/story_b_7838418.html.
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 –
“Shanghai Redemption” (Minotaur) is the latest in the Inspector Chen Series by Qiu Xiaolong that looks at a Shanghai detective who has explored China’s recent past and the scars it has left on the present through his work handling politically-related crimes. In this latest installment, our protagonist is promoted to a new position with no power, isolated and to top it off – someone is trying to kill him.
“Waiting for the Man” (ECW) by Arjun Basu tells the tale of a man who is searching for a purpose in his life in this surreal journey that takes him from New York to the West Coast.
“Shelter” (Picador) is a new novel by Jung Yun that looks at a family dealing with the reality of one another and poses that stark question, “what, if anything, do we owe to people who have failed us?”
The University of Washington continues to revamp its Asian American literary classics with new cover art and new introductions by scholars in the field. The latest to get this upgrade is Bienvenido N. Santos’ “Scent of Apples”, a beautifully crafted series of short stories that tell the stories of those early Filipino immigrants who came to this country to build a new life and the hardships they found. With a foreword by Jessica Hagedorn and a new introduction by Allan Punzalan Isaac.
From “Chutzpah!” hailed as one of China’s most innovative literary magazines comes an anthology entitled “CHUTZPAH! – New Voices From China” (University of Oklahoma Press) edited by Ou Ning and Austin Woerner. Includes sixteen selections that take readers from the suburbs of Nanjing to the mountains of Xinjiang Province, from London’s Chinatown to a universe seemingly springing from a video game.
Rohini Mohan looks at three lives caught up in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s twenty-year civil war as even today ethnic and religious conflicts continue to run rampant in “The Seasons of Trouble – Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War” (Verso). This debut book stems from the author’s extensive, award-winning career as a political journalist covering Sri Lankan politics and the personal lives of its citizens.
“Chord”(Sarabande) is a new book of poems by Pacific Lutheran University Professor Rick Barot that looks at the limits of representational art and language in a carefully crafted series of poems that show the limits of our human condition and the threads that bind us together.
Luo Ying went through the experience of the Cultural Revolution in China and in “Memories of the Cultural Revolution” (University of Oklahoma Press) as translated by Seattle poet/translator Denis Mair, this memoir in verse brings to light with devastating clarity those defining moments of a young life in turmoil.
In “Lost Canyon” (Akashic) one of Los Angeles’s finest writers Nina Revoyr looks at a cross-section of that multi-layered, multi-cultural urban tapestry as a group of people on the emotional edge are thrown together and forced to deal with solutions in a perilous climb both physically and emotionally challenging.
In Eating Korean In America – Gastronomic Ethnography of Authenticity” (University of Hawai’i Press), Sonia Ryang goes to four American cities to try to answer the question whether a particular ethnic cuisine can be both global and national at the same time.
“Walking the Kiso Road – A Modern-Day Exploration of Old Japan” (Shambhala) by William Scott Wilson looks at an ancient trade route and walking path in Japan and how it resonates in today’s Japan.
“Women Pre-scripted – Forging Modern Roles through Korean Print” (University of Hawai’i Press) by Ji-Eun Lee explores the way ideas about women and their social roles changed during Korea’s transformation into a modern society.
“The Barefoot Lawyer – A Blind Man’s Fight for Justice and Freedom in China” (Henry Holt) by Chen Guangcheng tells the story of his escape in his new memoir. As a lawyer he fought for the rights of the poor, especially women who had endured forced sterilizations and abortions under the hated One Child Policy. Placed under house arrest, he escaped after two years.
In “How Chinese Are You? – Adopted Chinese Youth and Their Families Negotiate Identity and Culture” (NYU) by Andrea Louie, the author looks at how a new cultural identity is tentatively forged by adopted Chinese youth and their Caucasian and Asian American parents. A look at how culture and race reinvent themselves and change through time as well.
“The Man Who Wasn’t There – Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self” (Dutton) by Anil Ananthaswamy looks at neurological conditions to discover where in the brain, body, or mind the self is located.
The history of Asian Americans and their emergence in this country is constantly being re-invented and re-evaluated as more research comes to light. “The Making of Asian America – A History” (Simon & Schuster) by Erika Lee is the latest version to hit the stores. She tracks down immigration patterns and origins back to North and South America as well as the East and West Indies.
The Vietnamese immigrant community in Las Vegas is the setting for “dragonfish” (Norton) by Vu Tran in a “nourish” novel that explores the world of the refugee and the secrets of the past and its dead.
Bay Area poet Tony Robles continues the work of his Uncle, Al Robles – the legendary Bay Area Filipino American activist and poet with a new book entitled “Cool Don’t Live Here Anymore: A Letter to San Francisco” which is a rallying cry for that city to serve its people. Robles has authored two children’s books but this is his first book of poetry.
L.A. Poet Amy Uyematsu was the co-editor of the widely-used UCLA anthology “Roots: An Asian American Reader” and also wrote the essay, “The Emergence of Yellow Power in America in the 1969 issue of Gidra, an Asian American newspaper. “The Yellow Door” is her fourth book of poetry and this one mirrors the perspective of the baby-boomer Sansei generation who knew their Issei immigrant grandparents, grew up in Little Tokyo and are now old enough to have grandchildren of their own. These poems celebrate her Japanese American roots.
Noted Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has a new book coming out in August on Alfred A. Knopf Books. Entitled “Wind/Pinball”, it contains the author’s first attempts at writing in the form of two short novels. His introduction also discloses the moment he decided to become a novelist at a baseball game in 1978 at a time when he was running his own jazz coffee shop in Tokyo.
“Indonesia Etc. – Exploring The Improbable Nation” (Norton) by Elizabeth Pisani is now out in a paperback edition. Considered one of the Best Books of 2014 by the Wall Street Journal and The Economist, the author traveled 26,000 miles across this multi-cultural island nation of over 300 ethnic groups and 13,500 islands to get a look.
“In The Country” is a sparkling collection of short stories by Mia Alvar that looks at Filipino characters from different fortunes and classes around the world whether in Manila, Boston or Bahrain and their dreams, motivations and desires. Published by Knopf in June.
“Letters To My Grandchildren” by David Suzuki on Greystone Books. This internationally renowned geneticist, environmentalist, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation has hosted the award-winning CBS program, “The Nature of Things” for over thirty years. This book is Suzuki at his most personal as he passes on what he can to future generations.
Hayden Herrera, famed biographer of Frida Kahlo takes on another mysterious artistic icon in her new book, “Listening To Stone – The Art And Life Of Isamu Noguchi” just out on Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
In the science fiction category, more titles are published. Wesley Chu, author of the award-winning “The Lives of Tao” has a new time travel work entitled “Time Salvager” (Tor). Seattle writer Ramez Naam has the third book in his Nexus Trilogy entitled “Apex” (Angry Robot) just released.
South Asian authors show no signs of slowing down. Canadian author Auswa Zehanat Khan makes a sparkling debut with a thriller ripped from yesterday’s news headlines in “The Unquiet Dead”. Indian author Aatish Taseer’s tome of a novel brims with philosophical insights amongst the characters in “The Way Things Were.” Salman Rushdie is back with a new novel entitled “Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eighth Nights” (Random House). He is scheduled to read on Mon., Sept. 14th at 7:30pm at Town Hall Seattle co-sponsored by Elliott Bay Book Company. Tickets are $35 and includes admission and one copy of the book. $40 admits two people to the event and includes one copy of the book. Town Hall is at 1119 8th Ave. (at Seneca) and doors open at 6:30pm. Tickets go on sale July 31st from Elliott Bay Book Company in person by by calling (206) 624-6600 or online from www.BoldTypeTickets.com.
“The Lams Of Ludlow Street” (Kehrer) is a new book by photographer Thomas Holton that is an in-depth look at a family living in New York’s Chinatown. Born to a Chinese mother and American father, Holton had close relatives in Chinatown but always felt disconnected. What started out as a documentary project on the streets and daily rituals of that community developed into a much more intimate exploration of a single family’s life spanning a decade.
Applications for 2016 Jack Straw Artist Residencies are available now for their “Writers Program”, “Artist Support Program” and New Media Gallery Program”. Deadline is Oct. 20, 2015. Applications and information at www.jackstraw.org/programs/asp/2016/2016_apps.shtml.
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. Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Alvord Board Room. (206) 522-5438 or email Friends [email protected] to make reservations and buy tickets.
Hing Hay Coworks is a collaborative work space centrally located in the Bush Hotel in the heart of Seattle’s ID/Chinatown neighborhood. It is open to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and start-ups or small businesses and is animated by a community of business leaders who value meaningful partnership, creative exploration, and bringing ideas to market. The space will be open for monthly memberships in April. Space is limited, so please contact them if you want to become a member. Please refer all inquires to Quang Nguyen, Hing Hay Coworks Manager at [email protected].
Recipients of Mayor’s Arts Awards this year include ceramic artist Akio Takamori for “Arts & Innovation”, the Japanese oral history organization Densho for “Cultural Preservation”, Dr. Robin Wright for “Cultural Ambassador”, Seattle JazzED for “Future Focus” and Daniel Brown for “Creative Industries”. Awardees will accept their awards from the Mayor in a special Bumbershoot-kickoff ceremony at Seattle Center on Sept. 4th at the Mural Amphitheater. The visual arts exhibits will be open at 3pm. The Mayor’s Arts Awards will be given out at 4pm. A reception takes place at 5:15 pm. At 7:30pm, come party with the Funky Congregation at The Vera Project. Come out and congratulate all the well deserving winners! Please RSVP (two per person) by August 28th, 2015 at MAA2015.EVENTBRITE.COM if you are going to attend.
Asian Arts Initiative is a community-based, multi-disciplinary arts center located in Chinatown North, Philadelphia. They are now looking for guest curators to coordinate some of their exhibitions. Please go to www.asianartsinitiative.org for details.
Congratulations to Seattle poet/educator Emily Lawsin who received a 2015 Edge Professional Development Award in the “Literary” category.
“Best Methods: The How-To’s of Presenting Your Art” is a presentation by co-founders of METHOD Gallery on what makes for a strong and successful application for a solo art show. This event is exclusive to Pilchuck and Artist Trust members only. Takes place Sept. 17 from 5 – 6:30pm at the Seattle Office of Pilchuck Glass School. Please RSVP through Brown Paper Tickets in order to attend this event. Light snacks and refreshments are provided. Email [email protected] to join that non-profit arts organization.
The Gar LaSalle Storyteller Award gives $10,000 out to a Washington State artist who is engaged in storytelling through their work in various artistic disciplines. The discipline focus for this year’s award will be Literature (fiction). Future awards will focus on different disciplines to be announced each year. Deadline is Sept. 9th, 2015. Go to gerardlasalle.com/gar-lasalle-storyteller-award/ for details.
WikiAPA sponsors an “edit-a-thon” at the Wing. This will be a social evening of Wikipedia editing, dedicated to creating, updating, and improving articles about Asian Pacific American art and artists. Hosted at the Wing Luke Museum in collaboration with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Cascadians Wikimedians User Group. All are invited, with no specialized knowledge of the subject or Wikipedia editing experience required. Please bring your laptop and power cord. Research resources, WiFi, and a list of suggested topics will be provided. Part of a month-long series if WikiAPA meetups across the U.S. For mcinformation about the #WikiAPA series, please visit http://smithsonianapa.org/wiki or follow #WikiAPA on Twitter. Go to http://www.eventbrite.com/e/wikiapa-wikepedia-asian-pacific-america-art-seattle-wa-tickets-18139466633 for details.
“I Am An Artist” is an intensive workshop that prepares you for an art career. This two-day interactive workshop for artists of all disciplines shows you how to prepare work samples, write an artist statement, resume & cover letter, find and pursue funding, promoting & marketing etc. Instructor is Nichole DeMent. Takes place Oct. 3 & 4 from 9am – 4pm at 12th Ave. Arts. Go to www.brownpapertickets.com to buy tickets.