James Harris Gallery presents their third annual Holiday Pop-up show featuring a choice selection of diverse objects from various media. Includes work by Ayumi Horie, Akio Takamori and many others. Dec. 7 – 20, 2017. With an opening reception Holiday Party on Thurs., Dec. 7 from 6 – 8pm. 604 – 2nd Ave. 206-903-6220 or go to www.jamesharrisgallery.com for details.
Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park hosts a series of winter programs for all ages that bring together art, the environment and the winter season. There will be a SAM Lights program on Dec. 14 from 6pm – 9pm. “Winter in the Parks” programs run from January to March including Kids Saturdays (with artist Romson Bustillo) and Art Encounters featuring an artist-in-residence. For details, try seattleartmuseum.org/lights.
Highline College Library & JCCC of Washington present “Unsettled/Resettled: Seattle’s Hunt Hotel”. This exhibit reveals the experiences of Japanese Americans as they returned to Seattle after their forced removal and incarceration in U.S. concentration camps during WWII. This exhibit is a document of the resettlement of families who found temporary lodging at the Seattle Japanese Language School, then known as the Hunt Hotel from 1945 – 1959. Includes photos, personal interviews and original kirie works by Aki Sogabe. On view through Dec. 15, 2017. The library is located on the college campus at 2400
South 240th St., Building 25, 4th floor in Des Moines, WA. Free. Hours are sun. from 2 – 9pm, M – F 7am – 9pm and Sat. 9am – 4pm. Closed on national holidays. Go to https://jcccw.org/hunthotel/ for details.
Tara Tamaribuchi’s installation work is popping up all over. “Craft Abstracts” at Thomas East Storefront is just one of eight new installations by artists in the South Lake Union area as part of its acclaimed “Storefronts” program. The theme of the current exhibition is “Honoring Life and Humanity in the Urban Wilderness”. Presented by Shunpike whose “Storefronts” program activates neighborhoods and streets by matching artists with vacant retail space. 206-905-1026×103 or go to www.storefrontseattle.com. Tamaribuchi’s newest installation piece entitled “Camouflage Net Project” is on view through Dec. 31, 2017 as part of the Seattle Center Sculpture Walk. The piece, a canopy of camouflage netting made with kimono fabric, tents the underside of a glass-covered walkway just south of the Pacific Northwest Ballet. It is the artist’s response to the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which incarcerated her family and community in prison camps throughout WWII. The piece was inspired by Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans) who made tens of thousands of camouflage nets for the US Army at Santa Anita Assembly Center, and Manzanar and Gila River internment camps. The artist’s intention was to connect her handiwork to that of her incarcerated community, while using traditional kimono fabric to send pride of heritage back in time to them. As camouflage protects people and objects and blends them into their surroundings, this work represents a discrimination filter for today, through which we see the true nature of people as interconnected with each other and the world. Part of the Seattle Center Sculpture Walk as presented by the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and Seattle Center. For more information, go to taratamaribuchi.com.
It’s a match made in culinary/art heaven. Artist/photographer/writer Dean Wong often hangs out at Tai Tung Restaurant in the CID. Now the restaurant has returned the favor with an ongoing presentation of his iconic photographs entitled “Made In Chinatown USA.” Sit at the counter deep into your chow mein and looks at images of the neighborhood on the wall. 655 South King St. Ongoing.
“Searching for Home” is a site-specific installation by Humaira Abid featuring personal narratives, stories and portraits of refugees in the Northwest woven into socio-cultural themes of immigration, women and families. It is her first solo exhibition in the U.S. In her work, she tackles issues of culture, gender and relationships both in her Pakistani homeland and her adopted U.S. home. Now through March 25, 2018. Bellevue Arts Museum. 510 Bellevue Way N.E. Closed Mon. & Tues. Wed. – Sun. 11am – 5pm. Free Frist Fridays from 11am – 8pm. 425-519-0770.
On view through Dec. 23 will be work by Wong Ping, an animated film artist from Hong Kong. His work has been exhibited internationally in Manchester, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Berlin and Paris. He received Perspective’s “40 Under 40” Award. Interstitial art space is at 6007 – 12th Ave. S. on the 3rd floor. Open Saturdays from 12 – 7pm. Go to interstitialtheatre.com for details.
KOBO at Higo at 604 South Jackson features many small arts & crafts/textile shows and activities inspired by Asia or work by Asian American artists. The show “Japanese Textiles from Tokyo” features Nuno, a Tokyo-based design studio known for its creative blending of traditional Japanese textile making with a contemporary sensibility. Reiko Suda, the creative director for Nuno has been at the forefront of contemporary textile design for more than three decades. She was recently honored in a textile exhibit at Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York. Through Dec. 24, 2017. 206-381-3000 or [email protected] or go to www.koboseattle.com. There is another branch of KOBO on Capitol Hill at 814 E. Roy St. 206-726-0704.
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – “What’s In Your Cup? – Community Brewed Culture” is a new exhibit honoring the beverages that have given life to communities – from farmers and families who nurture the raw materials to friends & kin who bond over shared drinks. Hear histories of commerce, colonization and survival. Share tales from a Japanese family who brewed sake from Fukushima to Seattle, the Seko’s who ran the beloved Bush Garden, Carmel Laurino who pioneered the value of Filipino coffee, Lydia Lin who cultivated tea appreciation through her Seattle Best Tea and Koichi Kitazawa, a brew master at Starbucks. On view through Sept. 16, 2018. 206-623-5124×127 or email [email protected] for details.“Come Out and Play: Adventures in the Neighborhood” is a new show that remains on view through Jan. 7, 2018. This KidPLACE exhibit uncovers the many ways you can play right in our neighborhood. “Teardrops that Wound: The Absurdity of War” is a group show that looks at how art can deflate war’s destructive weight by exposing its absurdity. Contemporary Asian Pacific American artists pull back the curtain and invite visitors to examine war from another angle. Curated by SuJ’n Chon. “Year of Remembrance: Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner” with poems by Lawrence Matsuda and art by Roger Shimomura is a small but potently meaningful show now extended until April 23, 2018 . “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. 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. A new installment of the Bruce Lee exhibit entitled “Day in the Life of Bruce Lee: So You Know Bruce? opened on Sat., Oct. 1, 2016. The new installment explores what it took to become “Bruce Lee”. It delves into his daily work habits, routines and strategies to his written & visual art, reading, and personal time spent with family and friends. Toddler Story Time set for Thursdays at 11am always has events centered around a kid’s book and an art activity afterwards. A new addition to The Wing’s daily Historic Hotel Tour is “APT 507” which is the story of Au Shee, one Chinese immigrant woman who helped build Seattle’s Chinatown. Her living room is interactive with objects meant to be felt, opened and experienced. The Museum is located at 719 South King St. (206) 623-5124 or visit www.wingluke.org. Closed Mondays. Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. First Thursday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm. Third Saturday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm.
Opening Nov. 4 and remaining on view through July 15, 2018 is “Beauties and Talents: Art of Women in Japan” which features “women’s self-fashioning” including literature-inspired paintings, prints, kimono and lacquerware. In the on-going series entitled “Conversations with Curators”, a members only event – SAM’s Deputy Director and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture Chiyo Ishikawa gives a talk on Jan. 17 6:30pm – 8pm. Ahn Jun is a South Korean photographer known for her fearless, exhilarating self-portraits that depict her dangling off the precipices of tall buildings. The city below, above and around her becomes an intimate partner in this aerial dance between danger, discovery and self-exploration. The bustling streets of Seoul, Hong Kong and New York, her urban canvas. She addresses this work in the Gardner Center Series, “Asia Talks” on Jan. 31, 2018 at 10am in a talk entitled “Ahn Jun: On the Verge”. Seattle Art Museum is at 1300 First Ave. downtown. 206-654-3100.
Local installation artist Satpreet Kahlon has been selected to exhibit as part of the 2017-2018 Gallery4Culture Season. From Nov. 2 – Dec. 7, 2017, she will show a series of labor-intensive sculptures and video installations the rise in demand for “handmade” objects and how the term actively erases the labor, oppression, and high societal cost of importing mass-produced goods made by brown hands in developing nations. Deadline for the next round of selections for shows at 4Culture is Mon., Jan. 8, 2018.
“Mikawa” is a sound and sculpture installation by Garrett Fisher and Tori Ellison inspired by the Japanese epic “Tales of Ise” where a poet meditates over his lost love. On view through Dec. 9, 2017. A reception takes place on Dec. 8 at 7pm. Choreographer Christy Fisher will perform a dance inspired by the installation at all events. There will be a youth and family workshop on Sat., Dec. 9 from 1 – 4pm. Youth can learn about the artistic elements of the installation and create their own art inspired by it. For a podcast interview with the artists, go to jackstraw.org/artistoftheweek. The Jack Straw Foundation at 4261 Roosevelt Way NE. E mail [email protected].
Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park is now closed for what is projected to be a renovation and extension that will take several years.
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art has the following – Opening Oct. 14, 2017 is the elegant and diverse designs and stories found in the jewelry of Seattle metalsmith Nadine Kariya in a show entitled “Nadine Kariya: The Hammer and the Peony”. The show remains up until Feb. 1, 2018. 550 Winslow Way E. 206-451-4013 or go to biartmuseum.org. Free admission. Open daily from 10am – 6pm.
“Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diaries of Takuichi Fuji” on view through Dec. 31, 2017. This exhibition is based on Northwest art historian Barbara Johns book entitled “The Hope of Another Spring” (UW Press). A discovered illustrated diary that the artist kept on his war-time experience locked up in Minidoka internment camp form the nucleus of this important exhibit. Washington State Historical Society is at 1911 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma. 1-888-238-4373.
“Familiar Faces & New Voices: Surveying Northwest Art” opens May 13, 2017 and stays on view through the summer of 2019. This group show is a chronological walk through of Northwest art history, illustrated with the works of noted artists from each time period as well as lesser-known but just as important figures. Different works will be displayed throughout the run of this show. Includes the work of Patti Warashina, Joseph Park, Alan Lau and many others. “In Search of the Lost History of Chinese Migrants and the Transcontinental Railroads” is the title of a new exhibition by UW Professor and internationally acclaimed artist Zhi Lin who looks at the thousands of Chinese men who came to America to work on the railroads and mine for gold. He travelled extensively to historic sites and painted at these locations to evoke the contributions of Chinese to the history of the American west. This multi-media work on view through Feb. 4, 2018. Writer/Professor Shawn Wong of the UW English department has contributed an essay to the exhibition catalog. Other Free Third Thursday events include a community panel on immigration and exclusion on Feb. 15, 2018. This show up until Feb. 18, 2018. Tacoma Art Museum at 1701 Pacific Ave. 253-272-4258 or email [email protected] or go to www.TacomaArtMuseum.org.
“Coded Threads” is a group show featuring fourteen visual artists who use textile technologies in their art. Includes the work of Reiko Sudo, Laura Thapthimkuna and others. On view now through Dec. 8, 2017. Western Gallery on the campus of Western University in Bellingham, WA.516 High St. in the Fine Arts Bldg, F1 116. 360-650-3900 or go to wwu.edu.
Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center presents the following – “Oregon Nikkei: Reflections of an American Community – Japanese American Life in Oregon” is an ongoing exhibit. “Tuna Canyon Detention Station Exhibition” remains on view through Jan. 7, 2018. This show tells the story of a little-known temporary detention facility set up during WWII in Southern California to hold enemy aliens considered risks to national security. Over 2000 Japanese, German, Italian and Japanese Peruvians were detained here. It has now been turned into a golf course. 121 NW Second Ave. in Portland. 503-224-1458 or go to www.oregonnikkeir.org.
Portland Japanese Garden collaborates with architect Kengo Kuma on the launch of a major expansion opening April 2, 2017. The Cultural Village expansion provides additional space and will enhance its ability to immerse visitors in traditional Japanese arts and culture. Three new Japanese gardens will be added as part of this. The garden will host major art exhibitions this year with related lectures, demonstrations and activities “Mirrors of the Mind: The Noh Masks of Otsuki Koukun” is a display of hand-carved masks by a master artisan and elegant brocade costumes from the traditional silk looms of Orinasu-kan in Kyoto set for fall. Also in development is the International Institute for Japanese Garden Arts & Culture which will offer classes in traditional garden arts such as tea ceremony and calligraphy. This opens to the public in 2018. For more information, go to japanesegarden.com.
On December 7, 1941 Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, launching America into war. In Canada, this action resulted in the confiscation of nearly 1,200 Japanese-Canadian owned fishing boats by Canadian officials on the British Columbia coast, which were eventually sold off to canneries and other non-Japanese fishermen. The exhibition entitled “The Lost Fleet” looks at the world of Japanese Canadian fishermen in BC and how deep-seated racism played a major part in the seizure, and sale, of Japanese Canadian property and the internment of an entire people. Curator Duncan MacLeod states that “the history of Japanese Canadian fishermen is inextricably linked to the history of Vancouver. The city was a gateway in the Pacific for all immigrants looking to forge a brighter future for themselves.” The exhibition will showcase a series of photographs as well as several models of Japanese Canadian built fishing vessels in its collection, made by model shipbuilder, Doug Allen. These models replicate some of the fishing boats seized during the war that have since been lost to history. On view through March 25, 2018. Vancouver Maritime Museum at 1905 Ogden Avenue in Vanier Park in Vancouver, BC Canada. Open Tues. – Sat. from 10am – 5pm and Sundays from noon – 5pm. Also open late on Thursday nights until 8pm. Go to https://www.vancouvermaritimemuseum.com/exhibit/lost-fleet-exhibition for more details.
Vancouver Art Gallery. Nov. 9, 2017 – “Emptiness: Emily Carr and Lui Shou Kwan” pairs Emily Carr’s forest paintings and charcoal drawings with the founder of the New Art Movement in Hong Kong. Kwan’s early Hong Kong landscapes and zen paintings will be placed in dialogue with Carr’s Northwest landscapes. On view Dec. 15, 2017 – April 8, 2018. April 15, 2018 will feature an offsite installation by New Delhi-based artist Asim Waqif which combines architecture with a strong contextual reference. Look for the current retrospective on the work of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami at Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago entitled “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg” to make its West Coast debut here in the winter of 2018.Vancouver Art Gallery is at 750 Hornby St. in Vancouver, BC Canada. 604-662-4719.
“Hastings Park 1942” is the title of an installation in collaboration with performance artist Yoshie Bancroft. It is also the name of the assembly center where over 8,000 Japanese Canadians were incarcerated in East Vancouver before being sent to internment sites in the interior. The exhibit contains a performance piece titled “JAPANESE PROBLEM”. It invites an audience into a stall filled with the uncertainty of their next destination in order that they might get a feeling of what Japanese Canadians went through during the war. On view through Jan. 13, 2018. Nikkei National Museum. 6688 Southoaks Crescent in Burnaby. 604-777-7000 or go to nikkeiplace.org
The Thatcher Gallery at the University of San Francisco presents a show entitled “South Asian Contemporary: Works On Paper From Bay Area Collectors” on view from Dec. 4 – Feb. 18, 2018. Borrowed from private collectors, this show presents recent works on paper from India and Pakistan. Includes internationally known artists rarely shown in the U.S. including Zarina Hashimi, Anita Dube and Viba Galotra. Curated by the USF MA in Museum Studies Curatorial Practice class. Located in the Gleeson Library-Geschke Center, the Thatcher Gallery at USF is free and open to the public from noon to 6pm daily. 2130 Fulton St. (at Cole). 415-422-5178 or go to www.usfca.edu/thatcher-gallery.
Asian Art Museum, San Francisco has the following – “Philippine Art: Collecting Art, Collecting Memories” is on view through March 11, 2018. Expressive indigenous carving, jewelry, textiles, Christian devotional statues, postwar genre and landscape paintings and contemporary works of this island nation fill this show. On going are two installations. In front of the museum is “Dragon Fortune” by Taiwanese artist Hung Yi which meshes together Taiwanese folk art, Japanese textile design and pop art kids cartoons. In the lobby is “Collected Letters” by Liu Jianhua, a cutting edge installation of porcelain letters and fragments of Chinese characters suspended in mid-air. Opening Nov. 3, 2017 is “Couture Korea – Historical Korean Fashions and its modern Reinterpretations”. It is the first U.S. exhibition to consider Korean fashion as an expression of social and cultural values. Remains on view through Feb. 4, 2018. 200 Larkin St. 415-581-3500.
The De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park has the following – “Beyond the Surface: World-wide Embroidery Traditions” on view through March 25, 2018. “The Maori Portraits: Gottfiried Lindaver’s New Zealand” is on view through April 1, 2018. Thirty-one compelling historic portraits of men and women of esteem and rank at a time of great political, cultural and social change and complex intercultural exchange. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. 415-750-3600.
The San Jose Museum of Art presents a show entitled “The Propeller Group” set from Oct. 27 – March 25, 2018. This art collective based in Vietnam and L.A. takes on ambitious projects connected to Vietnam’s history and its paradoxical present through all media including film. 101 South Market. 408-271-6840.
The Berkeley Art Museum has the following – “Martin Wong : Human Instamatic” remains on view through Dec. 10, 2017. This retrospective surveys the career of this “urban visionary” artist of the Lower East Side who saw the beauty of graffiti scrawled on crumbling old buildings and the vibrant culture that it spawned. Traces his origins in the Bay Area to New York and back. “Miyoko Ito/MATRIX 267” looks at the work of this Berkeley-born artist who made her name in Chicago and did paintings that explore both exterior and interior landscapes. Through Jan. 28, 2018. “Repentant Monk: Illusion and Disillusion in the Art of Chen Hongshou” is on view through Jan. 28, 2018. He was a major force in Chinese art of the late Ming and early Qing. His visually compelling work mirrored the turmoil of his times. 2155 Center St. 510-642-0808 or go to [email protected].
Korean artist Lee Jae-Hyo is known for his immaculately formed, intricate sculptures that fuse the aesthetics and craft of art with the functionality of architecture. His work is on view at the Simyo Gallery. It will form the centerpiece for Design LA Art, a new venue for exhibiting modern furniture, accent décor, architectural objects and jewelry. Set for Jan. 11 – 14, 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center’s South Hall. 1201 South Figueroa St. For more information, email [email protected] or call 310-822-9145.
“Polished to Perfection: Japanese Cloisonne – From the Collection of Donald K. Gerber & Sueann E. Sherry” on view through Feb. 4, 2018. “Unexpected Light: Works by Young II Ahn” through Jan. 21, 2018. LACMA or Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. 323-857-6010.
The Japanese American National Museum has the following shows – “Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Sao Paulo” is on view through Feb. 25, 2018. By looking at the work of Latin American artists the exhibit will show how ethnic communities, racial mixing and the concepts of homeland and cosmopolitanism inform the creativity and aesthetics of hybrid culture. 100 N. Central Ave. in Los Angeles. 213-625-0414 or go to http://www.janm.org.
“Abstract Expressionism: Looking East from the Far West” on view through Jan. 28, 2018 at Honolulu Museum of Art looks at mid-20th century abstraction through its Asian American practitioners with a special focus on Hawai’i’s artists. It is the first museum exhibition to bring artists of the New York School with Asian American artists who lived and worked in New York in the 1940s and 50s. Besides the usual names like Guston, Motherwell, de Kooning, Rothko, Newman, Pollack et al., the viewer will see the work of artists like Ruth Asawa, Saburo Hasegawa, Isamu Noguchi, Satoru Abe, Isami Doi, Tadashi Sato, Tetsuo Ochikubo & others by their side. 900 South Beretania in Honolulu, Hawai’i. 808-532-8700 or email [email protected]
Denver Art Museum is planning a major exhibition from their collection entitled “Linking Asia: Art, Trade, and Devotion” which will look at cross-regional and cross-cultural influences in Asian art. The works come from over 20 countries and spans 2,000 years. The show opens Dec. 17, 2017 and remains on view through April 1, 2018. 100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway in Denver, CO. Call 720-865-5000 or go to www.denverartmuseum.org.
A new Ai Weiwei project which includes a large-scale lego installation “TRACE” originally commissioned in 2014 for a project on Alcatraz Island includes 176 portraits of individuals the artist considers activists, prisoners of conscience or advocates of free speech and a 700-foot graphic work entitled “The Plain Version of the Animal That Looks Like a Llama But Is Really An Alpaca.” Opens June 28 at the Hirshhorn in Washington DC. Open daily except for Christmas from 10am – 5:30pm. National Mall at the corner of 7th St. SW & Independence Ave. 202-633-1000 or go to [email protected].
The Freer/Sackler Gallery on the Smithsonian Mall has been undergoing renovation. It reopens on Oct. 14, 2017 with “Resound: Bells Of Ancient China” which examines the discovery in China’s Bronze Age, of a way to make bells that resonate at two different pitches.Go to FreerSackler.si.edu for details.
A look back and a reappraisal of the Vietnam War and American’s involvement in that conflict this year has renewed interest what with a PBS series and numerous books coming out. The New-York Historical Society Museum & Library joins in with their exhibition entitled “Vietnam War – 1945-1975” which is on view through April 22, 2018. 170 Central Park West. Go to nyhistory.org for details.
The Asia Society Museum in New York presents the following – On view through Jan. 21, 2018 is “After Darkness – Southeast Asian Art in The Wake of History.” Includes artists from Indonesia, Myanmar,and Vietnam. “In Focus: An Assembly of Gods” is on view through March 25, 2018. 725 Park Ave. New York City, New York. 212-327-9721 or go to www.asiasociety.org for more details.
In the 16th century, four Japanese boys were sent to the princely and papal courts of Europe. It was the first global age of religion, commerce and politics. Photographer/architect Hiroshi Sugimoto looks at the sites these early Japanese youths saw and captures it in the exhibition entitled “Gates of Paradise.” The show pairs Sugimoto’s pristine photographs of European art with traditional Japanese artworks. Part 2 is on view from Nov. 21, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018. At The Japan Society. 333 E. 47th St. 212-715-1258 or go to japansociety.org.
The Cleveland Museum of Art has the following –
“Beyond Angkor: Cambodian Sculpture from Banteay Chhmar” is a show that references the “second citadel” built by King Jayavaman as a second political and religious center about 70 miles northwest of Ankor. On loan from the National Museum of Cambodia will be a section of the sculpted enclosure wall with a unique low relief carving of the Bodhissattva of compassion. On view through Jan. 7, 2018. The Yayoi Kusama “Infinity Mirrors” show continues its tour with a stop here July 7, 2018 – Sept. 30, 2018. 11150 East Blvd. 216-421-7350.
Williams College art instructor Barbara Takenaga is known for her radiating dot-pattern paintings which are part of the
American abstract tradition. The college gives her a retrospective culled from the last two decades. Through Jan. 28, 2018. Museum of Art, Williamstown in Massachusetts.
Museum of Fine Arts Boston has the following – “Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics – A collection with Nobuo Tsuji and MFA, Boston” is on view through April 1, 2018. The popular Japanese artist Murakami whose work is influenced by popular culture and manga also has roots in Japanese eccentric traditional art. Noted Japanese art historian Nobuo Tsuji looks at pieces in the MFA collection of Japanese art for some examples of traditional art that inspired some of Murakami’s present work. “Black And White – Japanese Modern Art” is a show centered around a large scale calligraphy piece by Inoue Yuichi. This exhibition showcases a selection of avant-garde works in the monochrome aesthetic. On view through June 3, 2018. 9300 Avenue of the Arts. 465 Huntington Ave. Go to mfa.org or call 617-267-9300.
“Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” is the title of Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei’s latest project which will build over 100 fences around New York City. Inspired by the international migration crisis and political turmoil facing the US government’s policy on immigration. Commissioned by the Public Art Fund.
“Self-Interned, 1942” tells the story of American artist Isamu Noguchi who voluntarily went to Poston War Relocation Center where Japanese Americans were interned during WW II with the idea to improve conditions with art and design. He made small pieces of driftwood sculpture. His efforts came to naught and he petitioned to be released. His time spent here however may have proven to be a catalyst for future work. On view through January 7, 2018. Noguchi Museum in New York. 718-204-7088 or go to nogiuchi.org for details.
“The World Is Sound” is an intriguing exhibit curated by Risha Lee to absorb art not only with the eyes but the ears. Music washes over the viewer on the staircase up to the sixth floor. Contemporary audio and visual installations also add to fill up the sound next to objects from the Tibetan collection. Through January 8, 2018. “Sacred Spaces” features contemporary works by Ghiora Aharoni and Arthur Liou which focus on religious journeys for the benefit of one’s future self. From Nov. 17, 2017 through Oct. 15, 2018. “The Second Buddha: Master Of Time” presents work from the permanent collection, loans and “technological activations” centered on Guru Rinpoche, founder of Tibetan Buddhism, and his mastery of space and time. Feb. 2, 2018 – Jan. 7, 2019. Rubin Museum of Art in New York. 150 West 17th St. 212-620-5000 or email [email protected].
The Guggenheim presents a museum-wide, thematically organized survey of the work of Vietnamese-born Danish artist Danh Vo. It includes a focus on the dreamy collective self-image of the U.S. Feb. 9 – May 9, 2018. Go to guggenheim.org for details.
The Art Institute of Chicago presents the following. “India Modern: The Paintings of M. F. Hussain” shows eight large triptychs from the “Indian Civilization” series which celebrates India’s rich and diverse culture. Hussain was one of India’s first modern artists. Up through March 4, 2018. “City and Country: Views of Urban and Rural Japan” opens Oct. 14 and remains on view through Dec. 2017. A selection of 20thcentury prints juxtaposes two sides of modern Japan reflecting the lure of the city and the nostalgia for the country that it induced. 111 South Michigan Ave. 312-443-3600.
“Living Proof: The Art Of Japanese Draftsmanship In The 19th Century” gives visitors a rare chance to see original drawings by Edo-period printmakers Hokusai, Kuniyoshi and Yoshitoshi together in one location. Through March 3, 2018. Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri. Go to pulitzerarts.org for details.
The Dallas Museum of Art has the following – “The Keir Collection of Islamic Art Gallery is on view through April 26, 2020. “Waxed: Batik From Java” on view from through Dec. 3, 2017. “Yayoi Kusama: All the Eternal Love I have for the Pumpkins” installation is on view through Feb. 25, 2018. “Asian Textiles: Art And Trade Along the Silk Road” opens Dec. 16 and stays on view until Dec. 9, 2018. 1717 N Harwood in Dallas, TX. 214-992-1200.
Los Angeles County Art Museum presents “Atmosphere in Japanese Painting” which shows a series of techniques that the Japanese painter both yesterday and today, could use to evoke to atmosphere of weather and the changing seasons. Work by Ikeaki Yoshio, Yamamoto Kakurei, Senju Hiroshi and Miya Ando. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. 323-857-6010.
Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors” tour hits the Broad in Los Angeles Through Jan. 1, 2018. The museum also has one of her “Infinity Rooms” in their permanent collection. 221 South Grand Ave. Email [email protected].
Dinh Q. Le was born in Vietnam in 1068. He came to the U.S. with his family in 1078. He returned to Vietnam in the mid-90’s and lives in Ho Chi Minh City. A new show of his work is now on view entitled “The Scrolls: Distortion” at Shoshana Wayne Gallery. He is best known for his photographic weaving of disparate images that form a collage. These new works borrow from images of the Khmer Rogue, the notorious S-21 prison mural paintings and other conflicts in Vietnam and Cambodia. The gallery is at Bergamont Station at 2525 Michigan Ave. in Santa Monica. On view through Dec. 23, 2017. 310-453-7535 or go to www.shoshanawayne.com
Saburo Murakami was a mixed media artist and founder of the Gutai Art Group which staged happenings, performance art and exhibitions of a more experimental bent during the 50’s and 60’s in Japan and Europe with parallels with the Fluxus movement in the U.S. Murakami himself would often run through sheets of paper as a live performance piece. A retrospective of his mixed media work is on view through Dec. 9, 2017. Artcourt Gallery at 1-8-5 Tenmabashi, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan near Sakuranomiya Station. Free. Go to www.artcourtgallery.com for details.
Hokusai’s star has never been brighter in Japan with numerous shows of his work all over the country. “Hokusai and Japonisme” on view at The National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo’s Ueno Park shows the overwhelming influence his woodblock prints had on Europe’s artists and craftspeople and interior designers. Here you see the master printmaker’s works side by side next to the Europeans he influenced. On view until Jan. 28, 2018. Go to http://hokusai-japonisme.jp for more details.
“Van Gogh & Japan” on view now until Jan. 8, 2018 shows what a profound influence Japanese art (especially woodblock prints) and literature had this Dutch artist. Japanese artists and intellectuals in turn were moved by Van Gogh’s work and made pilgrimages to his gravesite in France. This exhibition explores this mutual fascination with the artist’s oil paintings, sketches and related materials. Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Tokyo’s Ueno Park. Go to http://gogh-japan.jp or call 03-5777-8600 for details.
“Akiko Endo: Cosmic Soul” is a retrospective exhibition over a 40 year career that has seen the artist garner numerous awards and critical praise for her detailed works that touch on two key themes: human existence and the sensation of being alive. A wide variety of genres in different mediums including illustration, painting and sculpture are on display. On view through December 22, 2017. Musashino Art University Museum & Library. In Tokyo near Kokubunji Station. 042-342-6003 or go to http://mauml.musabi.ac.jp.
“The Etcher: Keiko Kiyohara” looks at the work of this printmaker who studied at Tama Art University and went on to win the Japan Print Association Award. She specialized in copperplate etching using an elaborate and detailed method that was so labor intensive that one work could take months. Sadly, she died too young at age 31 and produced just 30 works. To celebrate the Hachioji City 100th Anniversary Event, the Hachioji Yume Museum will showcase all her work as well as unpublished related documents. Included in the display are work by Gustave Moreau and Odilon Redon who were inspirations to the young artist. On view through December 14, 2017. Hachioji Yume Art Museum. On the 2nd floor of the View Tower Hachioji Building. In the Tokyo area near Hachioji Station. 042-621-6777 or go to www.yumebi.com
The oil paintings of Kumagai Morikazu (1880 – 1977) are universally loved in Japan. The paintings have a flatness and animal subject matter that many ascribe to the Japanese woodcut tradition but his thick oil paint texture and muted tones have a Nihon-ga feel that touch the hearts of people with their gentle charm. Coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of his death, this retrospective covers his entire career with some two hundred works. Dec. 1, 2017 – March 21, 2018. National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
The late photographer Keiichi Tahara made the exploration of light a focus of his work. In a collaboration with dancer Min Tanaka through the years, he explored the effect of light on the human body. Through various seasons, atmospheres and environments in Europe, America and Japan the pair continued their relationship. The final results are seen in the show entitled “Keiichi Tahara: Photosynthesis with Min Tanaka” now on view through Dec. 24, 2017. Tanaka will perform at the site throughout the exhibit with his last performance being on Dec. 23. Hara Museum of Contemporary art in Tokyo, Japan. Go to http://www.haramuseum.or.jp or email [email protected].
“Taro Okamoto and Media Art” documents the relationship between Okamoto, the avant-garde maverick of postwar Japanese art and Katsuhiro Yamaguchi, a pioneer of “intermedia art”. The show has a selection of work by both artists as well as 10 contemporary artists who were strongly influenced by both. Through January 28, 2018 at Taro Okamoto Museum of Art in Kawasaki. In Kawasaki City near Mukogaokayuen Station. 044-900=9898 or go to www.taromuseum.jp.
In “Michio Fukuoka: A Sculptor Who No Longer Sculpts”, one sees the stubborn resistance of one artist to trends, schools or the standard theory of what most people normally associate with sculpture, that of an object that raises from the ground and ascends in an upward direction. To see how Fukuoka solves this quandary merging it with his daily life in his own determined way is a marvel. On view until Dec. 24, 2017 at The National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan. Go to http://www.nmao.go.jp/ for details.
“Isamu Noguchi: From Sculpture to Body and Garden” is on view from Nov. 17, 2017 – Jan. 21, 2018. Though remembered as a sculptor, Noguchi was also a celebrated landscape architect, and furniture and lighting designer. This show includes selected works from collections in Japan and New York. Oita Prefectural Art Museum. 097-533-4500 or go to www.opam.jp/en.
“10th Anniversary Special Exhibition: Okinawa —Keystone of the Sea” is on view Nov. 1, 2017 – Jan. 14, 2018. The ocean has always been a important symbol of renewal and life to these island people and therefore makes a perfect theme to commemorate the 10th anniversary of this important institution. Covering geography, history, folklore, arts and crafts, this exhibition presents vital facets of this land and the importance of the ocean for its people. Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum. 098-941-8200 or go to www.museums.pref.okinawa.jp.
Art Basel Hong Kong takes place March 29 – 31, 2018 at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. It maintains a fifty-fifty balance between Asian and Western galleries. They always have a section dedicated to the Asia Pacific region.
The Yayoi Kusama craze seems insatiable. To that end, the artist herself has had a museum dedicated to her work that will open in October of this year in the Shinjuku section of Tokyo. It is a five-story white, large-windowed, curved structure designed by Kume Sekkei. The second and third floors will show her paintings, sculptures and other works. The fourth floor will be dominated by her Infinity Rooms and other installations. The top floor will have a reading room and archival material. Timed tickets are now on sale. Excerpted from Art World.
Japanese American artist/photographer Patrick Nagatani recently died of cancer at the age of 72. He spent his life documenting the nuclear legacy of a country that interned his parents during WWII and bombed his family’s hometown of Hiroshima. Untrained in photography, he gained experience making special effects models for the films “Blade Runner” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” His collages combined with sites, monuments, Native Americans, Japanese tourists and his own self-images depict the dangers of nuclear energy. Nagatani was also an author, his novel entitled “The Race – Tales in Flight” is published this year. A documentary film “Patrick Nagatani: Living in the Story” is due out in 2018. – Excerpted from the New York Times.
Alice Cao is part of a talented cast that performs “Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker” Dec. 7 – 28, 2017. At the Triple Door. 216 Union St. 206-838-4333.
Jack Straw Resident Artists Harold Taw and Chris Jeffries celebrated the completion of their residency project entitled “The Original Cast Recording of Persuasion: A New Musical” Dec. 4 at Taproot Theatre. It is now digitally released on i Tunes, Amazon, cdbaby.com and all streaming services in 2017.
Sendai Era, a Seattle-based hip hop duo released a new music video in commemoration of the International District entitled “My
ID”. Go to https://vimeo.com/243962975 to check it out. For more information on the group, try http://www.sendaiera.com/
Light in the Attic is a Seattle-based label that has always looked back at important music that has fallen into the cracks of history. They realize the importance of digging out these valuable nuggets of musical history that might have been missed the first time around or have been forgotten by time. They do the research, re-package the music with care, add beautiful design and comprehensive notes to place everything in its proper historical context. In short this label is a local treasure that respects and realizes the importance of music in our lives. They’ve done it again with a new release entitled “Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969 -1973.” This is an important new anthology that traces the history of Japanese folk rock and its American influence and how that genre of music was shaped by Japanese voices during a volatile time of conflict and change.
The UW keyboard program presents their “Catch A Rising Star”, a quarterly guest artist series featuring younger talent making their presence felt. On April 29, 2018 at 4:30pm in Brechemin Auditorium, catch thirteen-year old Yesong Sophie Lee, winner of the 2016 International Menuhin Competition in a free recital. Go to www.music.washington.edu for details.
ARTS WEST in West Seattle presents the following – Sara Porkalob will direct Jiehae Park’s play entitled “Peerless” which is an irreverent re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The plot revolves around two Asian American high school students who are twin sisters both vying an affirmative action spot at a college only to be thwarted by a white male colleague who is 1/16th Native American. 4711 California Ave. “Peerless” opens Jan. 18, 2018 and closes Feb. 11. The season ends with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins “An Octoroon” directed by Brandon J. Simmon which is a genre-defying play on the performance of race. April 19 – May 12, 2018. 2018.S.W. in West Seattle. 206-938-0339 or go to artswest.org.
Just out is “Monochrome”, a new recording by Seattle-raised singer/songwriter Emi Meyer who is a major recording star in Japan. This marks her US debut on Seattle’s own Origin Records. In a pleasing mix of standards and originals, the recording is from two sessions done in Paris with French musicians and Seattle with local musicians. Look for local appearances to promote this new release. Go to www.originarts.com for more details.
Running Dec. 1 – 24 is “The Flight Before Xmas” by Maggie Lee. When you are heading home for the holidays, the last thing you want to do is get stranded at an airport with a bunch of strangers. But everything has a silver lining in this holiday production. It is a world premiere for Lee, who has had hit plays with Porkfilled Players including “Tumbleweed Zephyr” and “The Clockwork Professor”. Directed by Amy Poisson. At Seattle Public Theater located at 7312 W. Greenlake Dr. N. 206-524-1300 or go to [email protected].
Seattle Symphony and Conductor Ludovic Morlot have issued the schedule for their 2017-2018 season. Some highlights include the following – “Celebrate Asia” this time around is conducted by DaYe Lin with sitar player Nishat Khan and Seattle erhu virtuoso Warren Chang. Kazuki Yamada will make a Seattle debut as guest conductor. A two-concert festival of Prokofiev features rising star pianists Nathan Lee, Charlie Albright and Conrad Tao with violinists Sophie Lee & William Hagen. Subscription packages available now and single tickets on sale August 5, 2017. Go to www.seattlesymphony.org for details.
The UW Symphony Orchestra performs with Jon Kimura Parker as piano soloist on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. He will perform with the orchestra on Gershwin’s piano Concerto in F Major. 7:30pm at Meany Theater on the Seattle UW campus. $15 regular and $10 for students & seniors. Go to www.www.artsuw.org for details.
The Meany Center For The Performing Arts has released their 2017/2018 schedule. Some of the many highlights include the following – The popular return of the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Of Taiwan led by founder Lin Hwai Min with a new work entitled “Formosa – (beautiful island)” which uses gesture, script, song and other elements from the landscape and history of his native Taiwan. Thurs. – Sat. on March 22 – 24, 2018 at 8pm. The Juilliard String Quartet with Joseph Lin in the lead violin chair performs on Thurs., Nov. 9 2017 at 7:30pm. Calidore String Quartet with David Finckel and Wu Han perform on Tues., April 24 , 2018 at 7:30pm. “Feathers Of Fire – A Persian Epic” updates the classic shadow play traditions of Asia & the Near East with cinematic “live animation” shadow-casting actors and puppets along with projected imagery in the magical tale of star-crossed lovers from the 10th century Persian epic “Shahnameh (The Book of Kings)” set for Wed., March 14, 2018 at 8pm. With an original score by Loga Ramin Torkian & Azam Ali. All concerts at Meany Center located on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington. Series tickets on sale now. Single tickets go on sale on August 1, 2017. You can order online at meanycenter.org or call 206-543-4880 or visit the ticket office at 41st Street between University Way NE & Brooklyn Ave. NE. tickets available via FAX too at 206-685-4141.
The Music of Remembrance organization exists so that the voices of musical witness can be heard. In the past they have organized music of composers who perished in the Holocaust. This year, they shine their light on Japan and the internment camp experience of Japanese Americans in two concerts. A concert set for Spring is entitled “Gaman” by Christophe Chagnard. After Pearl Harbor, more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent – a majority of them American citizens – were forced into detention camps scattered across the United States. Chagnard explores this dark chapter of American history incorporating the stories of individuals, families and artists based on their personal accounts, journals, letters and art works. This multi-media work will tell the story through the imagery and words of Seattle artists Takuichi Fujii and Kamekichi Tokita who were interned at Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho. Instrumentation will combine traditional Japanese and classical Western instruments along with a narrator/singer combined with visual media projections. Also featured is a composition (as yet untitled) scored for string quartet, piano and voices by Ryuichi Sakamoto. This is planned as a participatory work with members of the public to join performers on stage to honor the names of those who perished in WW II – balanced equally between Japanese and non-Japanese victims of the conflict. Both compositions are world premieres commissioned by Music of Remembrance. Set for May 20, 2018 at 5pm at Nordstrom Recital Hall in Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. For details, go to musicofremembrance.org.
Sara Porkalob will star in “Howl’s Moving Castle: A New Musical by Diana Wynne Jones” set for Book-It Repertory Theatre’s 2017-2018 season set for Nov. 29 – Dec. 30, 2017. It will be adapted and directed by Myra Platt. Music and lyrics by actor/musician/composer Justin Huertas. Many will be familiar with Studio Ghibli’s film adaptation of this story originally written by Jones. 300 Harrison St. at Seattle Center. 206-216-0833 or email [email protected].
Dr. Jakyung Oh, Professor of Organ at Korea University of the Arts gives a free performance on Sun., Jan. 21, 2018 at 3pm. In the Walker Ames Room located in Kane Hall on the Seattle UW campus. Though free, seating capacity is limited so arrive early.
Crossroads Bellevue, the Eastside’s live music venue presents free live performances every weekend. On the 2nd Saturday of every month at 5:30pm is 2nd Saturday Family Night with free kid-friendly music performances. On the 3rd Saturday of every month at 6:30pm is Northwest Folklife which presents diverse, family-friendly cultural arts performances. To see the schedule, go to crossroadsbellevue.com. 15600 NE 8th in Bellevue. 425-644-1111.
Edmonds Center for the Arts presents the following – Hawaiian folk/pop duo HAPA perform on Feb. 8, 2018 at 7:30pm. Mystical Arts of Tibet conclude a 5 day residency with a performance of traditional music and the creation of a mandala sand painting. May 11, 2018 at 7:30pm.410 Fourth Ave. N. 425-272-9595.
Violinist Michael Jinsoo Lim joins the UW Symphony at Benaroya Hall for a concert on Mon., Feb. 5, 2018. 7:30pm. 206-215-4747 or buy at Benaroya Box Office at 200 University St. downtown in person.
Daisha, a classical trio composed of UW undergraduates Halie Borror on violin, Daniel Richardson on piano and Isabella Kodama on cello give two concerts at Brechemin Auditorium on Feb. 7, 2018 and May 4, 2018. All concerts at 7:30pm and admission is free. On the Seattle UW campus. Go to www.music.washington.edu for details.
Zhenni Li of the McGill School of Music in Montreal has been hailed as a classical pianist with a gorgeous tone and mesmerizing touch. On April 24, 2018 she will give a recital at Brechemin Auditorium at 7:30pm. The following day she leads a master class with UW piano students at the same location on April 25 at 4:30pm. Both events are free. Seattle UW campus in the Music Building. Go to www.music.washington.edu for details.
“Global Rhythms 2017-18” series curated by Jon Kertzer and Daniel Atkinson for Town Hall Seattle brings a concert entitled “Summit in Seattle” with pianist/composer Vjay Iyer in a night of collaboration and improvisation with some of his illustrious and gifted musical colleagues. Set for March 2, 2018 with a venue yet to be announced. To keep in the loop and find out all the other great players in this series, go to www.townhallseattle.org.
Playwright Laureen Yee has a Seattle World Premiere of her play “The Great Leap” set for March 23 – April 22, 2018 at Seattle Repertory Theatre. The company shares this world premiere with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company. The plot revolves around Beijing University basketball coach Wen Chang and Manford, a young rough-around-the edges basketball talent from San Francisco’s Chinatown and how their worlds intersect. At the Leo K. Theatre. 155 Mercer St. Box Office # is 206-443-2222.
The UW faculty chamber group Frequencies welcomes special guest violinist Yura Lee in a concert entitled “Dialogues” set for May 27, 2018 at 7:30pm. Lee, the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant will perform duos with each member of Frequency and the trio will then perform Erno Dohnanyi’s “Serenade”. At Meany Theater on the UW Seattle campus. Go to www.artsuw.org for details.
The Broadway Center in Tacoma has the following – Best-selling new age/spiritual writer /Deepak Chopra gives a talk on April 12, 2018 at 7:30pm at Pantages Theatre.
In 2018, Kirkland Performance Center has the Golden Dragon Acrobats from Taiwan in performance on Jan. 14 for two shows at 1pm and 5pm. Stand-up comic Hari Kondabolu performs on April 27 at 8pm. 425-893-9900 or go to www.kpcenter.org.
East West Players in Los Angeles has a new artistic director. Snehal Desai is devoting the entire 2017-2018 season to collaborations with local theater, social justice and community organizations. The current show “Yohen” by Philip Kan Gotanda about an interracial couple is co-produced with L.A.- based African American ensemble, The Robey Theatre Company. After that will be the L.A. premiere of George Takei’s “Allegiance” done with the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center. Following that is a co-production with the Center Theatre Group of David Henry Hwang & Jeannine Tesori’s “Soft Power”, a musical of U.S./China relations. The final show is by Nathan Ramos who won an East West playwriting contest with “As We Babble On”, a dramedy about millennials of color done in collaboration with LGBT Center. Desai says of this new direction, “ We must reach out to other underrepresented people because we live in a city in which communities are not separate, they intersect.
“Allegiance”, the Broadway musical inspired by actor George Takei’s childhood in internment camp during WWII will come to Los Angeles Feb. 21 – April 1, 2018 with previews from Feb. 21 – 25. East West Players and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center will co-sponsor the production set for the JACCC’s Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo. No word yet on whether the production will include the original cast but George Takei will reprise his role. For updates, visit East West Players website.
A new play by David Henry Hwang entitled “Soft Power” runs from May 10 – June 10, 2018. It is a futuristic Chinese musical about present day America. Music by Jeanine Tesori and directed by Leigh Silverman. World premiere under the auspices of the Center Theater Group. At the Ahmanson Theater in New York before it goes to East-West Players in Los Angeles. Go to centertheatergroup.org for details.
New York-based choreographer Mein-Yin Ng’s “Sit, Eat, Chew” performed in late October had performers moving through Chinatown’s apartments, restaurants, museums and parks all the while sharing immigrant stories told in Mandarin, Cantonese, English and through movement which were taken from interviews with senior citizens and youth. Funded through kickstarter and several non-profits (city and state) grants. Ng explained she wanted the stories to have the five tastes associated with Chinese proverbs: sour, spicy, sweet, bitter, and salty. Ng hopes to take the show on the road gathering stories along the way. Excerpted from Hyperallergic.com.
The Degenerate Art Ensemble (Joshua Kohl & Crow Nishimura) premiered an early version of their latest multi media work entitled “Diphylleia Grayi (Skeleton Flower)” in September, 2017 at The Grocery Studios in Seattle. The work is a semi-autobiographical exploration of a creative person’s struggle with identity, depression and the awakening of feminine power where healing and transformation are fueled by the secret medicine of fairy tales. The full work will premiere in the US and Europe in 2018 in a collaboration with filmmaker Mischa Jakupcak and visual artist Elizabeth Jameson. DAE will launch a kickstarter campaign to fund the entire production. For details, go to degenerateartensemble.com.
Leah Nanako Winkler, a Japanese American playwright won the newly created Mark O’Donnell Prize. Her play “Kentucky” was on the Top Ten on the 2015 Kilroys List and received an Off-Broadway premiere at Ensemble Studio Theatre in a co-production with Page 73 and the Radio Drama Network. She is the author of six other critically-awarded plays. In 2017, her play “Two Mile Hollow” will receive a simultaneous world premiere in Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and San Francisco. The New York Times called her “a distinctive new voice.” The Mark O’Donnell Prize was created by The Actors Fund with royalties from the estate of the late Tony-awarded winning “Hairspray” co-librettist Mark O’Donnell. The $25,000 prize is awarded annually to emerging theatre artists who show talent and promise.
Soprano Hye Jung lee performs the role of Ah Sing in a new work entitled “Girls of the Golden West” composed by John Adams. The libretto is by Peter Sellars who also directed. Until Dec. 10, 2017. San Francisco Opera Company. 415-864-3330.
Film & Media
When widower Lee Chan Lee died in the mid-1970’s, the contents of May’s Photo Studio was tossed into the trash. More than 700 photos and glass negatives were rescued from oblivion by then-penniless art student Wylie Wong who is now an Asian art consultant. Around the same time George Berticevich found old photographs and backdrops at a Sausalito flea market. Together this collection comprise a body of work that presents a vibrant Chinatown community that flourished from the turn of the century to the present despite racial discrimination and severely restrictive immigration laws. These images show Chinatown’s social, political, economic and cultural history from an insider’s perspective. Now a documentary film entitled “Trash: The Lost World of May’s Photo Studio” put together by Wylie Wong and Lydia Tanji will bring to light the story of Chinese American photographers Leo and Isabelle May Chan Lee. Donations are needed to bring this film to fruition. If interested, go to trashedsf.com for details.
“Yakan mo Yatteru Hoikuen” (“Nurseries Open Even At Night”) is a new documentary film by director Koichi Omiya that looks at nighttime nurseries in Japan. Many parents who work at night must leave their children in nurseries for hours until they get off their shift. The film follows the children going home with their parents as well as showing the experience of the staff who attend to them. A sharp increase in unlicensed nurseries with sub-standard conditions has given the public a negative perception of nighttime nurseries. This film hopes to draw a realistic portrait of what really goes on in this industry. Opens nation-wide in Japan in the fall. Excerpted from the Japan Times.
The Tokyo International Film Festival is Japan’s biggest film festival and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year from Oct. 25 – Nov. 3, 2017. Opening up the festival was Fumihiko Sori’s “
Fullmetal Alchemy”, a fantasy action film based on a popular comic. Also sharing the bill was a preview clip of “Legend of the Demon Cat”, the latest by Chen Kaige, a big budget historical epic starring Shota Sometani as the legendary Japanese monk Kukai. Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” which nabbed the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival” got a screening,. Also showing was Hirobumi Watanabe’s “Party Round The Globe” in which a factory worker from the countryside joins a fellow Beatles fan for a Paul McCartney concert. Director Eiji IUchida takes on a novel by Junichiro Tanizaki about a troubled love triangle in “Between Men and the Gods.” The festival also honored anime director Keiichi Hara showing six of his films including installments from “Crayon Shin-chan”, a family comedy and “Summer Days With Coo” about a boy and his kappa (Japanese water spirit) companion. The festival also had special screenings of four digitally restored Japanese classic films including Kenji Mizoguichi’s “Sansho the Baliff, Akira Kurosawa’s “Kagemusha”, Shohei Imamura’s “The Ballad of Narayama” and Teinosuke Kinugasa’s
“Gate of Hell.” Also screening was Koji Fukada’s “Hospitalite”, a comedy about a scam artist played by Kanji Furutachi who joins a small Tokyo print shop.
“Silence” is a new film by Belgian director Vanja d’Alcantara set in Japan. It stars Isabelle Carre as a grieving sister who comes to Japan when she learns her brother has been killed. Jun Kunimura plays an ex-cop who has dedicated himself to preventing suicides. The film revolves around their complex relationship.
“Goodbye Grandpa!” is by first-time feature director Yukihiro Morigaki and is based on Sahoko Yamasaki’s original script. It centers around a family and how death impacts every single one of them. Stars Yoshiko Kishii, Ken Mitsuishi, Hisako Okata, Ryo Iwamatsu, Jun Miho, Karin Ono and Amane Okayama. Opened in Japan in November, 2017. No date announced yet for a U.S. release.
The following films open in late September, 2017 – A Focus Features production of “Victoria & Abdul” is the unlikely friendship between a queen and her new best friend, her Indian servant. Stars Judi Dench and Ali Fazal. Directed by Stephen Frears. “The Future Perfect” by Nele Wohlatz which blends fiction and documentary in telling the story of a Chinese teenager in Argentina. A prizewinner at last year’s Locarno Festival. Christopher Doyle is a famed cinematographer who has collaborated with Wong Kar-wai on some of his most successful movies. Now he directs “Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled, Pre-occupied, Preposterous”, a series of three short works that blend documentary and fiction to focus on different generations in Hong Kong at a time of transition and pro-democracy protests. Lena Khan’s first feature film, “The Tiger Hunter” tells the story of a tiger hunter’s son from India who emigrates to Chicago and pretends he is more successful than he is when the woman he loves pays a visit. Set in the late 1970’s and stars Danny Pudi. Opens across the country Sept. 22, 2017. “I Am Another You” tells what happens after documentary filmmaker Nanfu Wang meets a drifter in Florida and follows him across the country, exploring the contradictions of his lifestyle. “Judwwa 2” is a remake of a 1997 comedy. In this version, Bollywood heartthrob Varun Dhawan plays separated identical twins who are psychically linked. What happens when they actually meet?
The following films below open in Oct., 2017 – “Bending The Arc” is a documentary film that looks at the work of three advocates including Jim Yong Kim who developed strategies for combating AIDS and Ebola in impoverished countries. “Maineland” is a documentary by Miao Wang that trails Chinese teenagers who move to the States to attend private high schools in Maine and what happens. “The Departure” is a documentary profile of Ittetsu Nemoto, a punk rocker and Buddhist priest who offers support for the suicidal. Directed by Lana Wilson. Martin Campbell directs “The Foreigner”, a thriller starring Jackie Chan as a father who wants answers and revenge after his daughter dies in a bombing. Her pursues a politician with past ties to the IRA played by Piece Brosnan for the answers. “Human Flow” is a 3 hour-long documentary film that looks at the refugee crisis and mass human migration in over 20 countris around the world. Directed by the Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei. What happens when Laibach, a Slovenian industrial-rock band gets an invitation to perform in North Korea? ”Liberation Day”, a new documentary film supplies the answers.
The following films open in Nov., 2017. Japan’s prolific director Takashi Miike has made dozens of films across numerous genres. His 100th is “Blade Of The Immortal” which is a samurai film based on a famous manga. Actor Steven Yuen supplies the voice of the donkey in a new animated feature entitled “The Star” about the first Christmas as seen through the perspective of the animals involved. Other star voices lending support include Kelly Clarkson, Ving Rhames and others. “On Beach At Night Alone” is South Korean director Hong Sang-Soo’s latest feature. They all tell the story of his clumsy, drunken interactions with women. Stars actress Kim Min-hee, the director’s real-life muse.
The Written Arts
The Jack Straw Writers appear as part of the Ballard Library’s “It’s About Time Reading Series’ on Tues., Dec. 14, 2017 at 6pm. Appearing will be Afrose Fatima Ahmed, Calvin Gimpelevich, Hera McLeod and Wancy Young Cho. 5614 – 22nd Ave. N.W.
Elliott Bay Book Company presents a series of readings and events. All readings at the bookstore unless noted otherwise The Saturday University talk continues. The series concludes on Dec. 9 with Timothy Clark of the British Museum talking about “Hokusai’s Waterscapes”. Part of the Saturday University “WATERSCAPES: IMAGERY AND ENVIRONMENT IN ASIA Lecture Series presented by the Gardner Center For Asian Art And Ideas, in partnership with the University Of Washington Jackson School Of International Studies, Seattle University and Elliott Bay Book Company. All Dec. talks return to Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium starting at 10am. For information on this series and individual lecture tickets, go to www.seattleartmuseum.org or call 206-654-3210 or go to visitsam.org/tickets. Khizr Khan is remembered for his stirring speech at the National Democratic Convention speaking as a parent of a Muslim American son killed in action in the Middle East. He will be speaking on Dec. 8, 2017. Khan is the author of two new books. “This Is Our Constitution” (Knopf Books for Young Readers) written for young adults to familiarize them with the US Constitution and “An American Family” (Penguin/Random House) which is a memoir. Elliott Bay Book Company is at 1521 – 10th Ave on Capitol Hill. 206-624-6600.
Noted novelist, filmmaker & Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki (“A Tale For The Time Being”) will be part of the Hugo House 2017-2018 line-up for the series “Word Works: Writers on Writing.” She will speak on the craft and art of writing on Feb. 23, 2018. EJ Koh joins Joshua Ferris and Melissa Febos as part of the Hugo Literary Series on March 23, 2018 at 7:30pm. Go to hugohouse.org for details.
Hugo House has announced their line-up of writers appearing for the 2017-2018 Hugo Literary Series, part of which will coincide with the institution’s move to a new and permanent home on the same site of their old location. The theme for the March 23, 2018 event is “Homecoming” with Joshua Ferris, Melissa Febos and E. J. Koh with music by Tomo Nakayama. This is at Fred Wildlife Refuge as well. The series closer with the topic “There Goes the Neighborhood” features Bangladeshi American poet Tarfia Faizullah with Jami Attenberg and others is on May 11, 2018 and it is expected that this takes place at the new Hugo House auditorium at their new, improved, original location of 1634 – 11th Ave. but call ahead to make sure. All events at 7:30pm. For details, go to hugohouse.org or call 206-453-1937.
Noted poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil reads on May 21, 2018 at 7:30pm at McCaw Hall as part of Seattle Arts & Lectures Poetry Series. She was born in Chicago to a Filipina mother an South Indian father. She earned her BA and MFA from Ohio State University. She is the author of “Miracle Fruit”, “At The Drive-In Volcano” and “Lucky Fish.” Forthcoming in 2018 is a new book of illustrated nature essays entitled “World of Wonder” and a new book of poetry, “Oceanic.”
Artist Trust has announced that the 2017 LaSalle Storyteller Award in Fiction has been awarded to E. Lily Yu. Yu is an author and narrative designer. She has received numerous awards for her science fiction and worked on video games. She is based in Bellevue, WA.
Writer/poet/editor/filmmaker Russell Leong’s “Moth Sutra For Bicycle Delivery Men” is an epic poem published as a lovely broadside with the author’s own poignant illustrations. It tells the story of the Chinese immigrant bicycle men who deliver take out from Chinese restaurants throughout the boroughs of New York at all hours of the day and night. The author spent months interviewing these delivery men in Chinese and talking to people in the community about these laborers. For details on buying this publication or having the author speak and read about this subject in your town, contact Russell Leong at [email protected]
Japanese American mystery writer Joe Ide made his debut last year with “IQ” which won the Macavity Award for best first novel. The lead character is Isaiah Quintabe, a Black American detective living in East Long Beach, California. His new novel just out entitled “Righteous” keeps the same character and gives him new challenges and puzzles to solve. Could this be the start of a longer series?
Fay Chiang, noted New York poet and community activist recently died of cancer at the age of 65. I first became aware of her work when she became the executive director of the Basement Workshop in New York’s Chinatown, an important cultural group in the Asian American cultural movement of the early 1970’s. Chiang worked for the Henry Street Settlement’s Outreach Program, Project Reach, a Chinatown Youth Program and Poets & Writers. She is the author of three volumes of poetry.
Jin Yong is a kung fu fantasy writer who enjoys a huge popularity in the Chinese-speaking world where he has sold over 3 million books but remains virtually unknown in the West. That could all change now that
Anna Holmwood has translated the first volume of a 12 volume series entitled “A Hero Born” into English.
Arul Sehgal, editor and columnist at the New York Times Book Review quit her position this July. She follows Michiko Kakutani who stepped down as the Times chief book critic earlier this year. The Times remains the last daily newspaper in America with a separate book section.
Though virtually unknown in the West, Chinese writer Xue Yiwei is widely read in Chinese although he remains virtually unpublished in China due to censorship problems. Living in exile in Montreal since the late 1990’s, he sits in limbo since his work is not totally banned yet not completely accepted in his home country. Western readers now have an opportunity to read Xue Yiwei since his 2010 novel “Dr. Bethune’s Children” has just been translated and published in Canada.
One finds it hard to keep up with the steady stream of new titles coming out even in the limited categories of works by or about Asian Americans and new titles on Asia but here’s a recent sampling. Please contact me if anyone is interested in reviewing any of the below titles for the International Examiner. Thanks! –
“My Rice Bowl – Korean Cooking Outside The Lines (Sasquatch) is by Rachel Yang and Jess Thomson. The James Beard Best Chef-nominee and co-owner of local Northwest restaurants Joule, Trove, Revel and Revelry, Yang’s book explains her deeply comforting Korean fusion cuisine inspired by cultures around the world.
“Fierce Femmes And Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girls Confabulous Memoir” (Metonymy Press) by Kai Cheng Thom. This book reveals the anger, the alienation and the brilliance of the struggles of radicalized trans women.
“Small Beauty” (Metonymy Press) by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang is the story of a Chinese Canadian trans woman. Reeling from a cousin’s death she retreats to the ancestral house in the country and battles her demons. A quiet meditation on grief, race and community.
“Some Beheadings” (Nightboat Books) is a new book of poetry by Aditi Machado due out Oct. 3, 2017. These poems travel through the mind as well as winding their way from India’s Western Ghats to the Mohave Desert asking questions like “What does thinking feel like?”.
“Little Fires Everywhere” (Penguin) is the new novel by Celeste Ng, the best-selling author of “Everything I Never Told You”. In it she examines suburbia asking key questions such as issues of race versus privilege and how it affects parenting.
“Where’s Halmoni?” (Little Bigfoot) by Julie Kim is a beautifully illustrated (in graphic novel-style) children’s book that follows two young siblings as they search for their grandmother in a world populated by creatures from Korean folklore.
“A House Made of Water” (Sibling Rivalry Press” by Michelle Lin delves into culture, myth and history using her family’s immigration as a link to both the past and future. Poems of passion and depth that haunt.
Kazumi Chin’s “Having a Coke With Godzilla” (Sibling Rivalry) is a debut collection of poems that celebrate feminism, empathy and solidarity with community. The poet knows the first Godzilla was an atom bomb and that to sing, first you have to learn to breathe.
“Moon Princess” (Chicken House) by Barbara Laban is a mystery-adventure novel set in China about a girl whose mother who has disappeared, and the invisible animal friends who help her follow the clues.
“Letters To Memory” (Coffee House Press) is award-winning novelist Karen Tei Yamashita’s memoir of Japanese American internment during WWII and its repercussions for her family. Handwritten letters, pictures, and paintings bring the past to life. Due out September, 2017.
“Harmless Like You” (Norton) marks the fictional debut of Rowan Hisayo Buchanan in a book about multiracial identity, motherhood, familial bonds and the struggle to be an artist.
Ch’ae Manshik is one of modern Korea’s most accomplished writers but his work is scarcely represented in English translation because of the challenges posed by his distinctive voice and colloquial style. Local Seattle translators Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton remedy that situation with a deft translation of his various styles and genres in “Sunset – A Ch’ae Manshik Reader” (Columbia University Press). Here you will find a choice selection of his work in the novella form, short fiction, essay, travel writing, theatre and even children’s stories. A dark humor and quick wit bubbles through each sentence.
“The Best We Could Do” (Abrams Comicarts) by Thi Bui is a graphic novel about the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family.
L.A. poet and small press editor Chiwan Choi burst upon the scene with “The Flood”, a searing collection of poems involving family and creating a place in the world. With “The Yellow House” (CCM) he ups the ante with poems that smolder with a nuanced power. Go to copingmechanisms.net for details.
“Chow Chop Suey – Food And The Chinese American Journey” (Columbia) by Anne Mendelson looks at the sweep of history that brought Chinese cooking to America.
The award-winning Japanese writer/playwright Abe Kobo has an early seimi-autobiographical novel entitled “Beasts Head For Home” (Columbia) newly translated by Richard F. Calichman. The story tells the tale of a Japanese youth in Manchuria at the end of WWII and his perilous journey home. In it , the character deals with issues of identity, belonging and the complexities of human behavior.
Jet Tila grew up in L.A.’s Thai Town and learned cooking from his Cantonese grandmother and working at his family’s famed Bangkok Market, the first Thai market to open in the U.S. He turns that expertise to good use in “101 Asian Dishes You Need To Cook Before You Die” (Page Street Publishing) using simplified techniques and easy to use & buy ingredients.
“The Windfall” (Crown) by Diksha Basu is a satire of a middle-class family in New Delhi who come into money and how it changes them.
“Pattan’s Pumpkin – A Traditional Flood Story from Southern India” (Candlewick) by Chitra Soundar and illustrated by Frane Lessaac is based on a traditional tale told by the Irula people. Forget Noah’s ark and delight in a family’s journey to safety down a river in a giant pumpkin.
“Meeting With My Brother” (Columbia) is a novella by Yi Mun-yol about when two brothers from North and South Korea have a reunion. Explores Korea’s partition and hope of reunification. Translated by noted American writer Heinz Insu Fenkl with Yoosup Chang.
“Wabi Sabi” (Bloomsbury) by Francesc Miralles as translated by Julie Wark tells the story of a Spaniard who receives an enigmatic postcard from a Japanese pen pal that puts him on a plane to Japan to decipher the message.
“Happy Dreams” (Amazon Crossing) by Jia Pingwa is a novel translated by Nicky Harman which comes out Oct. 1, 2017. It tells the story of two best friends who leave the country to the city with dreams of a better life.
Hiromi Kawakami’s novel, “The Nakano Thrift Shop” (Europa) as translated by Allison Markin Powell looks at the staff and customers of a little thrift shop and examines their various relationships.
“When Dimple Met Rishi” (Simon Pulse) by Sandhya Menon is a young adult novel of two teenagers sent to summer school by their parents in hopes of matching them up. Their initial encounter is rocky but gradually they become more than friends.
“Scarborough” (Arsenal Pulp Press) by Catherine Hernandez. This novel follows the lives of three children who inhabit Toronto’s low-income east end. It explores the positive impact of neighborhood programming amongst the poor and its devastation when the very governments who established these programs come and go.
“Chef Roy Choi and The Street Food Remix” (Readers to Eaters) by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee and illustrated by Man One brings the story of L.A. homeboy Chef Roy Choi and his innovative ways of presenting, selling and combining cultural food traditions from his food truck to kids. Each page will appeal to children with the energy of graffiti artist Man One illustrations and who doesn’t like to eat?
Jade Chang’s “The Wangs Vs. The World” (Mariner) is a feel-good hilarious saga of a Chinese American family on the skids who band together and go on a road trip to find unity. Available in a new paperback edition.
“Starfish” (Simon Pulse) by Akemi Dawn Bowan (due out in September) is an emotionally resonant young adult novel about a biracial teen who struggles with social anxiety, a narcissist mother and rejection from art school only to find her own identity as a person on a journey to the West Coast.
Hye-Young Pyun’s “The Hole” (Arcade) is a psychological thriller about a man awakening from a coma after a terrible car accident that caused his wife’s death.
“Hawaiian By Birth – Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity and U.S. Colonalism in the Pacific” (Nebraska) by Joy Schulz looks at how race, gender, sexuality, class and religion merge to advance U.S. imperialism in the Pacific.
“Home Fire” (riverhead Books) is a novel by Kamila Shamsie that tells the story of the choices people make for love and how secrets and family loyalty can tie lives together and also set them out of control.
“The Burning Girl” (Norton) by Claire Messud tells the tale of the friendship between two girls and a piercing story of adolescence and identity.
“The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball” (Spark Press) by Seattle author Dori Jones Yang is a young adult novel based on an episode from history when 120 boys were sent by the Emperor of China to New England in the 1870’s. It captures the tension between love and hate that is culture shock.
“Miss Burma” (Grove Atlantic) is an historical novel by Charmaine Craig that tells the story of a family caught between war, revolution, desire and loss. Conveys the struggle of the Karen hill tribe people and their search for freedom in Burma.
“Maria Mahoi of The Islands” (New Star Books) by Jean Barman is an important document on the history of Indigenous Hawaiians in the early Northwest.
“Remembering 1942 And Other Chinese Stories” (Arcade) by Liu Zhenyun as translated by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin showcases six of this Chinese author’s best short stories with a diverse cast of ordinary people struggling with obstacles that are bureaucratic, economic and personal.
“The Accusation – Forbidden Stories From Inside North Korea” (Grove Atlantic) by Bandi is a book of short stories of North Koreans enduring day to day challenges and threatened by starvation, betrayal and brutality Translated by the ever prolific Deborah Smith.
“A Life of Adventure And Delight” (Norton) is a new book of short stories by Akhil Sharma that evokes Chekov and Trevor. The author sees how the burdens of family and culture shape his character’s choices whether in India, New York or New Jersey.
Debbi Michiko Florence’s character Jasmine Toguchi explores such Japanese cultural customs as Girl’s Day and mochi making in her ongoing series that includes titles like “Super Sleuth” and “Mochi Queen” both on FSG books. Coming next in the series is “Drummer Girl”. For young adults with a bonus activity in every book.
“Shanghai Grand” (St. Martin’s) is a sprawling history of Shanghai by Tara Grescoe on the eve of WWII and the international cast of characters caught in a whirlpool of intrigue, conflict, love and history.
“Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember-The Stroke That Changed My Life” (Ecco) by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee. A compelling memoir of a world turned upside down and how the writer tries to find order out of chaos.
“Where The Past Begins” (Ecco) is popular novelist Amy Tan’s (“The Joy Luck Club”) memoir which explores family history in a raw and personal fashion. Due out Oct. 10, 2017.
“101 Changemakers – Rebels And Radicals Who Changed US History” (Haymarket). Edited by Michele Bollinger & Dao X. Tran. This is a collection of profiles of Americans who made a difference and fought for social justice. Consider it a Howard Zinn-style history of America for middle school students.
“Manihi Moves A Mountain” (Creston) is a children’s story by Nancy Churnin with art by Danny Popovici is the true story of a man in India who carved out a 360 foot road through a mountain after his wife died due to a lack of medical attention. The road provided access to a larger town that had medical facilities and more daily supplies for villagers.
“Salivating Monstrous Plant” (Cordite Books) by poet Tanya Thaweeskuichai positions itself on a map of contemporary poetics stretching from Sydney to Singapore and Stockholm to Seattle.
“I’m New Here” (Charlesbridge) by Anne Sibley O’Brien is a kids picture book that looks at the experiences of America’s latest citizens from Guatemala, Korea and Somalia and how they struggle to adjust to a new school, a new culture and a new environment.
Amani Al-khatahtbeh founded a website that gave a candid account of what it’s like to be a young Muslim woman in the wake of 9/11 and a Trump presidency. Now she tells her story of that journey in “Muslim Girl – A Coming of Age” (Simon & Schuster).
“The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star” (Redhook) by Vaseem Khan tells the story of Inspector Chopra who discovers in Bollywood, the truth is often stranger than fiction. Part of an ongoing series on a detective and his baby elephant solving cases together.
“Reading With Patrick – A Teacher, a Student and a Life-changing Friendship” (Random House) by Michelle Kuo traces the life of a Harvard grad who joins “Teach For America” and finds herself in the Mississippi Delta. Her favorite student is an 8th grader who wins a school-wide award as “most improved” only to learn later his is imprisoned for murder. But the story doesn’t end there. She returns to the Delta to continue his education in prison. Their relationship transforms the lives of both of them.
“The Devourers” (Del Ray) by Indra Das tells a tale of a college professor who encounters a stranger with a bizarre confession. He bears witness by transcribing the stranger’s tales. Laced with elements of folklore and fantasy, this book takes the reader to places familiar yet made new again.
“The Art of Confidence” (Kensington) by Wendy Lee tells the saga of a Chinese immigrant artist asked to paint a forgery of a masterpiece destined to earn millions for a Chelsea art dealer. This novel explores the fascination of great art and the lengths to which some are driven to create it and to possess it.
“Grand Canyon” (Roaring Brook Press) by Jason Chin is a picture book about a father and daughter who explore this area through its past and present. Profusely illustrated with informative text, the perfect book to introduce your children to the wonders of our natural world.
“Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment” (Simon & Schuster) by Robert Wright gives a personal account of how natural selection has led to delusion and unhappiness and how we can escape that fate through meditation and philosophy.
“The Secret Kingdom – Nek Chand, A Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art” (Candlewick Press) by Barb Rosenstock as illustrated by Claire A. Nivola tells the story of a famous folk artist who built a rock garden out of recycled materials and the villagers who saved it from destruction by government authorities. This inspiring tale illuminates the power of art for children.
“After Projects the Resound” (Black Radish) by Kimberly Alidio gives voice to a queer female Filipino poetic voice that finds language as a fragmented archive of crystalized vision.
Sujata Massey, known for her popular Japanese female detective series embarks on a new series and new character, a female lawyer-sleuth in 1920’s Bombay. The character was inspired by some of India’s earliest lawyers. “The Widows of Malabar Hill” (Soho Press, Inc.) comes out Jan., 2018.
In “Irradiated Cities” (Les Figues Press), Mariko Mori goes to cities across Japan devastated by war and disaster and listens to what people have to say. From it she weaves an album, essays of witness and photos of fragments from each place.
“Book Uncle And Me” (Groundwood Books) by Uma Krishaswami is a heatwarming story of community activism, friendship and the love of books. When her retired teacher uncle sets up a free-lending library on the street only to be shut down by the mayor, a little girl finds she must organize her neighbors to take action. A book for young adults who enjoy reading.
“Saints And Misfits” (Simon & Schuster) is a young adult novel by S.K. Ali that tells the story of a Muslim high school girl who doesn’t fit in with her new family or at school until the possibility of love appears.
“Kurosawa’s Rashomon – a Vanished City, A Lost Brother And The Voice Inside His Iconic Films” (Pegasus) by Paul Anderer offers not only a look at the spiritual, philosophical and aesthetic evolution of this cinematic genius but a thoughtful analysis of his most seminal and influential film.
Kate DiCamillo’s story of hope entitled “La La La” (Candlewick) is a children’s picture book buoyed by the dazzling art of illustrator Jaime Kim as the tale of a lonely girl singing to herself in the outdoors comes alive.
Poet Annie Kim’s “Into The Cyclorama” (Southern Indiana Review Press) won the Michael Waters Poetry Prize. In it she answers eloquently questions like “What art can we make out of violence?” or “What shape from loss?” And her poems show how the personal is refracted through the historical.
“A Rising Man” (Pegasus) by Abir Mukherjee is a historical crime novel set in the social and political tinderbox of 1919 Calcutta. When a colonial senior official is found dead with a note warning the British to leave India, a former Scotland Yard detective and a local Indian investigator must solve the crime before all hell breaks loose.
“Lovely” (Creston) by Jess Hong is a picture book for kids that celebrates the beauty of diversity in our culture with bright, colorfull illustrations.
Literary alchemist Paul Yoon is back with a luminous collection of linked short stories entitled “The Mountain” (Simon & Schuster). Through the Hudson Valley to the Russian Far East, the characters are connected by traumatic pasts, newly vagrant lives and a quest for solace.
Shaena Yang Ryan’s “Green Island” (Vintage) is a novel about Taiwan and how one family is rocked when the Chinese Nationalists take away a father who speaks out against the government. This book which just picked up an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation is out in a new paperback edition.
Beth Yap is an Australia-based prose writer who grew up in Malaysia. “The Crocodile Fury” (Vagabond) follows the fortunes of three generations of a family who grew up working at a convent school in a Southeast Asian city and the stories they tell. “The Red Pearl And Other Stories” (Vagabond) is Yap’s first collection of short stories that follow misfits and outsiders as they travel to emotional sites just beyond their physical locations of Kuala Lumpur, Paris and Sydney.
“The Vietnam War – An Intimate History” (Knopf) by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns is based on the PBS film series by Burns and Lynn Novick. This richly illustrated history of a war told from all sides is written by script writer/historian Geoffrey C. Ward. This is a fresh account of a war that reunited Vietnam and divided the U.S. told through the yes of those who witnessed it, civilians and soldiers alike.
“The Storm” (Kids Can Press) by Akiko Miyakoshi. When a storm looms just before a promised trip to the beach, a little boy uses his powers of imagination to survive the night. Evocative and powerful illustrations in black & white enhance this children’s picture book.
“The Boy In The Earth” (Soho) by Fuminori Nakamura. Translated by Allison Markin Powell. A darkly melancholic tale that evokes Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” and Camus’ “The Fall”. Set in Tokyo, this Akutagawa Prize-winning novel offers glimpses into the lives of ordinary people.
“Look Up!” (Holiday House) by Jung Jin-Ho is a delightful children’s picture book that makes us see a new perspective in life. A girl in a wheelchair looks down from her balcony and asks passersby to “Look up!”
“The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook” (Ecco) by Danny Bowien and Chris Ying. How does a Korean adoptee raised in Oklahoma end up in San Francisco’s Mission District with an award-winning Chinese restaurant while along the way winning the Pesto World Championship in Genoa and nabbing The James Beard Foundation “Rising Star Chef of the Year” award? Read this book and you’ll find out and also learn some new recipes.
Remember when you were a kid and there were certain foods you wouldn’t eat? “No Kim Chi For Me!” (Holiday House) by Aram Kim tackles this dilemma in a delightful way with charming art work to draw you in.
“The Way To Bea” (Little Brown) by Kat Yeh looks at the perennial case of the outsider. A girl in middle school just doesn’t fit in. She expresses her emotions in haiku poems written in invisible ink. But surprises occur when someone writes back.
“The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe – A History” (Princeton) by Rita Chin analyzes the claim by Western Europeans that ‘multiculturalism has failed.’
“Ichi-F – A worker’s Graphic Memoir of The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant” (Kodansha Comics) by Kazuto Tatsuta. Tatsuta was an amateur artist who signed on to the dangerous task of cleaning up the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant and this book is his journal of his work there.
“A Time To Rise – Collective Memoirs of The Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP)” (UW Press) Edited by Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo and Bruce Occena. This book traces the work by a revolutionary group of Filipino immigrants and Americans of Filipino ancestry to help overthrow the Marcos dictatorship told in their own words. Seattle’s Cindy Domingo is one of the editors of this important anthology.
“Tattoos in Japanese Prints” (MFA Publications) by Sarah E. Thompson. This book tells the interesting story of how, in the early nineteenth century, the color woodblock print tradition first inspired tattoo artists just as the pictorial tradition of the medium in Japan was beginning.
“Shadows of The Crimson Sun – One Man’s Life in Manchuria, Taiwan, and North America” (Mawenzi House) by Julia Lin. This book follows the story of a man caught between countries and history. Leaving Manchuria to escape the Russian invasion, Akihisa Takayama returns to ancestral Taiwan only to find himself ruled by a brutal Chinese dictatorship of the Kuomintang. He escapes to the U.S. and finally arrives in Vancouver as one of the first Taiwanese Canadians in that city.
“Two-Countries: US Daughters & Sons of Immigrant Parents” (Red Hen Press) edited by Tina Schumann is an anthology of memoir, essays and poetry from sixty-five contributors whose writing illuminates the modern immigrant experience. Contributors include Tina Chang, Joseph Lagaspi, Li-Young Lee, Timothy Liu, Ira Sukrungruang, Ocean Vuong, Kazim Ali and many others. Includes local writers like Oliver de la Paz, Shin Yu Pai and Michael Schmeltzer. Look elsewhere in this column for the date of a local reading.
“A World of Three Zeros – The New Economics of Zero, Poverty, Zero Unemployment and Zero Net Carbon Emissions” (Public Affairs) by Muhammad Yunus. This native of Bangladesh founded the Grameen Bank and started an economic movement that helped lift people out of poverty through a reasonable system of loans. This new book presents his blueprint on how to tackle poverty, create jobs and curb climate change. See elsewhere in this column for news of a local reading by Yunus.
“Little Soldiers – An American Boy, A Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve” (Harper) by Lenora Chu. As an Asian American mother with a son in a Shanghai public school, the author examines the current state of education in China compared to our own and weighs the pros and cons.
“Childhood Years – A Memoir” (University of Michigan Press) by Tanizaki Junichiro as translated by Paul McCarthy. This well-known Japanese author’s look back at his childhood years in Tokyo originally appeared in a Japanese magazine in monthly installments. It is translated in full for the first time in English.
“Boundless” (Drawnandquarterly) is Jillian Tamaki’s new book of visual short stories. It takes us into the lives of a myriad of characters ranging from the surreal to the commonplace. Her visual skills help us probe the interior consciousness of each character both on the page as well as off the page. She forces readers to unravel the connections between narration and the scenes of images portrayed before them on the page.
“Bone Confetti” (Noemi Press) by Muriel Leung won the 2015 Noemi Press Poetry Award. In it she eaves an elegy and takes mourning to a new level as she muses on a mother figure and immigration history. She writes about the effects of this history failing to fulfill the myth of a “model minority”; both as an Asian American and as a queer person.
“A Long Pitch Home” (Charlesbridge) is by Natalie Dias Lorenzi. When a Pakistani boy moves to America, leaving his father behind – he must adjust to a new culture and find the courage to find himself. For young adults.
“Passionate Revolutions – The Media And the Rise and Fall of the Marcos Regime” (University of Ohio Press) by Talitha Espiritu. This book explores the relationship between the media and the Marcos regime’s public culture.
“No Comet, That Serpent in the Sky Means Noise” (KORE Press) by Juliette Lee is a meditation on light, human displacement and longing. The poet ventures far beyond our atmosphere to find meaning.
“Nine Continents – A Memoir In and Out of China” (Grove Atlantic) by Xiaolu Guo. One of England’s most acclaimed young novelists recounts her life experience growing up in – and leaving – China.
“Thai Art – Currencies of The Contemporary” MIT) by David Teh. An authoritative study of recent trends in Thai art and also breaks new ground in framing it in regional as well as global terms.
“The Refusal of Suitors” (Noemi Press) by new Seattle transplant Ryo Yamaguchi. This book of poetry is a series of lyric ruminations of what the city can mean and an ode to our lives tossed between streets, subways and the windows peering out of every building that we trace our footsteps.
“Artists and their Inspiration – A Guide Through Indonesian Art History (1930 – 2015) (LM Publishers) by Helena Spanjaard is the first general guide to walk readers through the different phases of Indonesian modern and contemporary art. The writer has been active in this scene as a researcher, writer and curator for over thirty-five years.
“Gospel of Regicide” (Noemi Press) by Eunsong Kim uses “The Gospel of Judas” as a primer. It takes seriously the disconcerting claim that our current political narratives rely on biblical meaning and fixates on the composition of rupture as poetic fodder.
“The Sound of Silence” (Little Brown Books for Young Readers) by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julie Kuo looks at the Japanese word for silence in a accessible way that will help kids find calm in today’s over-stimulated world. Can our protagonist find this silence even in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo?
“Recombinant” (Kelsey St. Press) by Ching-In Chen. A new poetry collection about genealogy, migration, survival, gender memory and ecology unlocking a closet full of ghosts and ancestors.
The Wing in partnership with Manhattan Tenement Museum encourages community members to share their own experiences in “Your Story, Our Story”, a digital story-telling exhibit. The focus for 2017 is to gather stories from civic life. Add your story today by visiting the website. For details, email [email protected].
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. Some upcoming program events include the following –Go to FriendsOfAsianArt.org or call (206) 522-5438 for details on all these events.
Applications for Jack Straw Writers Program, Artist Support Program and New Media Gallery Program are now available. Go to www.jackstraw.org/programs/asp/2018_apps.shtml or email [email protected] for details.