Politics, behavior, and a personal battle with cancer converge in Akio Takamori’s new work of ceramic sculptures of known figures attempting to apologize entitled “Apology/Remorse”. Recent work not to miss by a major Northwest artist who recently passed away. Takamori’s work shares the space with that of Efrain Almeida. Opening reception is set for February 16 from 6 – 8pm. On view from Feb. 16 – April 1. James Harris Gallery. 604 2nd Ave. 206-903-6220.
Thuy-Van Vu has a show of new work at G. Gibson Gallery in the gallery owner’s new space in lower Queen Anne. Vu’s careful, sensitive lines add power and gravitas to whatever she chooses to depict. Shown with work by Linda Connor and Maija Flebig. Through Feb. 25. 104 W. Roy St. 206-587-4033.
“A Closer look” is a group show of portraits by internationally known artists from the choice collection of Paul Allen (his collection of landscapes comes to Seattle Art Museum later as well). “Implied Fictions” is a companion group show of Northwest artists that includes the work of Akio Takamori. Both shows on view now at Pivot Arts & Culture through Feb. 26. 609 Westlake Ave. N. 206-342-2710.
Stacya Silverman Gallery presents “Portraits from Prewar Japan”, a collection of prints made from found glass dry plate negatives featuring everyday life in the 1920s and 30s chosen and printed by artist Ron Reeder and master printer Tyler Boley.
Now through April 15,2017. 614 West McGraw on Queen Anne Hill. 206-270-9645 or try www.stacyasilverman.com/
Tacoma-based artist Asia Tail presents a group benefit show entitled “Protect The Sacred: Native Artists for Standing Rock” which features work by over 25 indigenious artists from the Pacific Northwest now through Feb. 16, 2017. All proceeds from sales go to fight against the DAPL construction on Native soil. 950 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma. Entrance on 11th St. 253-230-3980 or go to www.asiatail.com/news
The Henry Art Gallery located on the campus of the University of Washington joins MOTHRA and Chris E. Vargas in presenting the group show “TRANS HISTORY in 99 Objects” through June 4, 2017. This show gathers archival materials and works by contemporary artists that narrate an expansive and critical history of transgender communities. On the Seattle UW campus.
The work of artists Ron Ho, Cheryll Leo-Gwin, Taiji Miyasaka & David Drake and Midori Saito is included in the BAM Biennial 2016 entitled “Metal Morphosis” on view through Feb. 5, 2017. 510 Bellevue Way NE. 425-519-0770 or go to bellevuearts.org for details.
Local paper-cut artist Lauren Iida has spent extensive time in Cambodia. She will lead a 15 day Art Travel Tour of that country in February with visits to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang. Contact [email protected] for details.An exhibition of new work opens on First Thursday, March 2, 2017 at ArtXchange Gallery. New large and small cut paper pieces using gold and sumi ink as well as her first cut paper installation (0ver 30 feet long) will be shown. ArtXchange Gallwery is at 512 1st Ave. S. in Pioneer Square. [email protected].
Seattle artist Junko Yamamoto – Future events include work in Pratt’s window installation in the Tashiro Kaplan Building during the month of February, 2017 and a solo show at Taste at SAM next to the Seattle Art Museum downtown during the month of May, 2017.
Lois Yoshida teaches an “Introduction to Asian Brush Calligraphy” on Sundays Jan. 22, 29 & Feb. 5 from 10am – 4pm. Frye Art Museum. 206-622-9250. 704 Terry St.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has the following upcoming shows. “Millennia – Astonishing Asian Art Throughout the Ages” is a new group show that showcases one of the best collections of Asian art in Canada taken from the gallery collection and remains on view through March 31, 2017. 1040 Moss St. in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Call 1-250-384-4171.
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – The museum and the Chinatown-ID Business Improvement Area celebrate the Lunar New Year on January 28 & 29 with lion/dragon dances, food walks and arts & crafts. Email [email protected] or [email protected] for details. “Year of Rembrance: Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner” with poems by Lawrence Matsuda and art by Roger Shimomura opens February 16 at 6pm. RSVP at rsvp@wingluke. There will be an artist talk and poetry reading by both men on February 18 at 4pm with a book signing to follow. $15 for non-members and $10 for members. Go to https://community.wingluke.org/2017-pages/artist-talk-and-poetry-reading-2017 for details. “Everything Has Been Material For Scissors To Shape” is a new group exhibition on textiles and how they move through history and myth, commodity culture and art, linking women’s hands and machines to Asian American identities.” It features the work of Surabhi Ghosh, Stephanie Syjuco and Aram Han Sifuentes. This show is on display through April 16, 2017. Opening Sat., August 20 is “Stars Above: Wrapped in Lullabies”. Opening March 3 from 6 – 8pm is “Seeds of Change, Roots of Power: The Danny Woo Community Garden”, an exhibit that celebrates this neighborhood resource which preserves culture, tradition and identity. A new show entitled “We Are the Ocean: An Indigenous Response to Climate Change” is now on view. “Who’s Got Game? Asian Pacific Americans in Sports” is a new exhibition which opened Dec., 2016. Tatau/Tattoo: Embodying Resistance. Explores the practices and cultural significance of tattoos, highlighting the unique perspectives of the South Pacific communities in the Pacific Northwest. “Khmer American: Naga Sheds Its Skin”. War has had a huge impact on Khmer culture and identity. Despite these challenges, the community continues to shape the US and Cambodia. “Tales of Tails: Animals in Children’s Books” is a recent show to open at the museum. “Do You Know Bruce?” is a major new show on the personal, intimate story of martial arts artist and film star Bruce Lee and the significance of Seattle in his life. 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. The Museum is located at 719 South King St. (206) 623-5124 or visit www.wingluke.org. Closed Mondays. Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. First Thursday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm. Third Saturday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm.
“Voices of Nisei Veterans – Permanent Exhibition and Collections” is composed of rare collections preserved by the Nisei Veterans Committee and tells the story of Japanese American veterans before, during and after WW II. Access is by pre-arranged tour only. For reservations or information, email [email protected] or [email protected]. Jointly sponsored by the NVC Memorial Hall and The Wing. 1212 South King St.
Later this year will see a show by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama spanning over five decades. “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” will focus on her original series done in 1965 in which she displayed a vast expanse of red-spotted, white tubers in a room lined with mirrors, creating a jarring illusion of infinite space and move on throughout her whole career developing this concept. Opens Sept. 29, 2017 and remains on view through Sept. 10, 2017. The exhibit comes from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. where it will be exhibited Feb. 23 – May 14, 2017. Other dates for this touring exhibit TBA. Seattle Art Museum downtown at 1300 First Ave. 206-654-3100.
Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park – “Awakened Ones: Buddhas of Asia” comes from the museum’s own collection and features 20 sculptures and paintings of Buddhas from across Asia that span nearly 13 centuries. On view through Feb. 26, 2017 is “Terratopia: The Chinese Landscape in Painting and Film.” The importance of landscape is a key feature of Chinese art and this show gives it a new wrinkle by comparing Chinese landscape paintings from the collection with the sounds and images of artist and cinematographer Yang Fudong taken from his five-part film entitled “Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest (2003-7). The film experiments with ideas about what nature holds for people in the modern world by reimagining ancient history’s seven philosophers as seven successful youths who are disenchanted with the banality of daily urban life. Filmed in the famed Yellow mountains of eastern China, a place that inspired poetry and literature for centuries as well as a major school of landscape art. Chinese art curator Foong Ping says, “It’s a thinking person’s show…You have to look at something and ask ‘Why is it there? Why did you choose this one?’ and there will be an answer. It’s a puzzle.”. Immersed in both the audio and visual elements of the film, viewers may very well begin to see the Chinese landscapes on the wall in a new light. Tabaimo is a Japanese artist who currently has her first solo show of video installations at San Jose Museum of Modern Art. She will curate a show of her existing and new works as well as works from SAM’s collection that she has selected for their close connections with her own work entitled “Tabaimo: Utsutsushi Utsushi.” Her immersive and thought-provoking installations combine hand-drawn traditional Japanese wood block prints with digital manipulations. This is the first major exhibition curated by the artist and it is organized around the concept of “utsushi” which refers to the emulation of a master artist’s work as a way to understand their technique. On view through Feb. 26, 2017. Please note that when the museum closes for extended renovation, Gardner Center’s Winter 2017 “Saturday University” series activities will continue at the alternative site of Seattle University at Pigott Hall and other places on the campus. Seattle Asian Art Museum is at 1400 Prospect St. in Volunteer Park. 206-442-8480 or go to seattleartmuseum.org/gardnercenter or [email protected].
If you missed the “Juxtapoz x Superflat” group exhibition curated by Takashi Murakami and Evan Pricco, Editor of Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine that showed for a few days at Pivot Art + Culture during the Seattle Art Fair, you now have a second chance. It will be on view until Feb. 5, 2017 here in Vancouver. The emphasis is on art outside the mainstream dipping into subcultures of contemporary design, anime and manga. Includes work by Chiho Aoshima, Toilet Paper Magazine, Kim Jung Gi, Lucy Sparrow, Takashi Murakami and many others. Vancouver Art Gallery is at 750 Hornby St. in Vancouver BC, Canada. 604-662-4722 or go to www.vanartgallery.bc.ca.
The UBC Museum of Anthropology presents “Layers of Influence: Unfolding Cloth across Cultures” showcasing more than 130 handmade textiles from around the world, drawn from the museum’s collection. On view through April 9, 2017. On view until Jan. 31, 2017 is “In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man, Contemporary Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea.” Opening May 11, 2017 and on view until Oct. 9, 2017 is “Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia”, a survey of writing throughout Asia over a span of different time periods. Curated by Fuyubi Nakamura. 6393 NW Marine Dr. in Vancouver BC. 604-822-5087 or moa.ubc.ca.
The first Honolulu Biennial looks at Hawai’i not as a remote outpost but more like the crossroads of the Pacific Rim showcasing arts of the whole region. Opens March 8, 2017 and on view until May 8, 2017 at various venues. To get the whole schedule, go to honolulubiennial.org.
The Denver Art Museum has the following shows. “Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s—90’s” gives you a look at 70 works by avant-garde designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, Kenzo Takada, Junya Watanabe, Kansai Yamamoto and Yohji Yamamoto. On view now through May 28, 2017. 100 W 14th Ave. Parkway in Denver. 720-865-5000.
“Japanese Photography From Postwar To Now” features over 400 recently acquired images from the 1960’s to the 1990’s with work by Daido Moriyama, Shomei Tomatsu and Miyako Ishiuchi. On view through March 12, 2017. “New Work: Sohei Nishino” is on view through Feb. 26, 2017. This Japanese artist creates his “Diorama Maps” by canvassing a city by foot for two months taking photos. He cuts out individual frames and makes a large-scale collaged maps which he then takes a giant photograph of. In this show, he has made a new map of San Francisco for the museum. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 151 Third St. 415-337-4000. [email protected] for details.
Asian Art Museum, San Francisco has the following shows – “Koki Tanaka: Potters and Poets” until Feb. 14, 2017. Here, the artist assembles strangers with a common profession and asks them to work together simultaneously to create a new work. One project entitled “A Pottery Produced by 5 Potters All at Once” has the artist gathering five different Chinese potters together in a room to produce a piece of pottery together. In the other project entitled “A Poem Written by 5 Poets at Once”, Tanaka invites 5 Japanese poets of completely different styles to come together to write one poem. 200 Larkin St. 415-581-3500.
Craft in America Center in Los Angeles has the following – Upcoming May 20 – July 1, 2017 is “Kazuki Takizawa: Catharsis Contained.” This LA-based artist puts human emotions in the shimmering, fragile form of glass. Of his work, he says “The harmonization of the radically different, such as violence and meditation, spontaneity and meticulousness, and destruction and repair is found in the process, as well as the result of my work.” Craft in America Center is at 1120 South Robertson Blvd. #301 in Los Angels. Go to 310-659-9022 or [email protected].
Yuki Kimura’s photographs are like staged domestic environments with his own shots and those taken from other sources juxtaposed with furniture, potted plants and various objects. This marks Kimura’s first solo show in the US. On view through Feb. 25, 2017. CCA Wattis Institute in San Francisco. 360 Kansas St. 415-355-9670.
The Japanese American National Museum has the following shows –Opening March 12, 2017 and remaining on view until August 20, 2017 will be “New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei” which looks at the life and career of Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu.
On until January 28 is a new show by Naotaka Hiro, a visual/performance artist at The Box Art Gallery in Los Angeles. “Peak” features a video of the artist creating his work, a 14 foot tall canvas cinched with a rope at the top and bottom. Go to www.theboxla.com or call 213-625-1747 for details.
Inner-Mongolia born video artist Cheng Ran had his first U.S. solo show at the New Museum in New York. The installation was shot and edited during a three-month residency at the museum. “Diary of a Madman” conjures up feelings of alienation and discovery as a foreigner in a new place. Closed January 15.
The Asia Society Museum in New York presents from March 7 – June 4 the show, “Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in China, Southeast Asia and the Islamic Middle East” which features 76 items from the wreck of an Arab merchant ship discovered in Southeast Asian water. It will be on view for the first time in the U.S. The exhibition explores the robust exchange of goods, ideas and culture among ancient China, Southeast Asia and the Islamic Middle East. A symposium entitled “The Belitung Shipwreck: Sojourns in Tang Dynasty History and Art” takes place April 22 at the Tang Center for Early China at Columbia University. Stephen Murph, curator at Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore gives a talk on March 7. There will also be special family day activities for the museum’s youngest visitors to give them a chance to explore the show as well.725 Park Ave. New York City, New York. 212-327-9721 or go to www.asiasociety.org for more details.
The Japanese minimalist sculptor Kishio Suga gets his first US museum exhibition at DIA in Chelsea in New York City. Through April 2, 2017. Go to diaart.org for details.
“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.
Opening in the Spring of 2017 will be the Whitney Biennial which was started in 1932 and is still considered one of the pre-eminent biennials in the country. This 2017 edition is co-curated by Asian Americans, Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks. 99 Gansevoort St. in New York City. Go to www.whitney.org.
It’s not often that New York City gets a new subway line so they are celebrating in style with a variety of new public art pieces for their 2nd Avenue Subway Line. “Blueprint for a Landscape” by Venice Biennale American artist representative Sarah Sze with the help of tile masters in Spain has fashioned a deep-blue immersive drawing of a whirl of birds, chairs, leaves and scaffolding as it impacted by the whoosh of a passing train. On the concourse she has left commuters with the images of blowing paper to match the hurried tempo of passengers coming and going, Jean Shin’s installation has a tile work of elevated girders from the 1940s and 50s being dismantled along with archival photos of trains and passengers to give today’s commuters a sense of history and place. Other artists with impressive public art for this project include Chuck Close and Vik Muniz.
“Isamu Noguchi – Archaic/Modern” explores how pyramids, burial mounds, temples and the gardens of the ancient world shaped one of America’s most innovative sculptors. Through March 19, 2017. Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. Free and open daily. 8th and G Streets NW. Go to AmericanArt.si.edu for details.
The Art Institute of Chicago presents the following. “Provoke”: Photography in Japan Between Protest and Performance, 1960-1975.” Opens Jan. 28, 2017 and remains on view through April 30, 2017. 111 South Michigan Ave. 312-443-3600.
The Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University has the following – Upcoming is a group exhibition that investigates a wide range of themes surrounding the changing role of women in China in an exhibition entitled “Fire Within: A New Generation of Chinese Women Artists”. Included are the work of twenty-eight emerging artists working in painting, installation, sculpture, video, animation, photography and performance. The generation of artists born in China during the 1970s and 1980s witnessed significant changes throughout their society as the country opened up to foreign markets and international exchange. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog with an essay by the curator, Dr. Wang Chunchen and interviews with the artists. There will be various activities including performances by Hu Jiayi, Lin Ran, and Luo Wei. On view through February 12, 2017. This museum was designed by the late Pritzker prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid. 504 East Circle Dr. in East Lansing, Michigan. 517-884-4800 or try [email protected].
Like Morandi, the Japanese artist Yamada Masaaki (1930-2010) spent his whole life doing the same paintings over and over again. His abstract pieces use unusual hues and imprecise horizontal stripes with drips. Remains on view through Feb. 12, 2017 at National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. 3-1 Kitanomarukoen, Chiyoda in Tokyo. Call 81 3-5777-8600.
Hong Kong will build a branch of Beijing’s Palace Museum in a new West Kowloon Museum in 2022. Hong Kong contemporary architect Rocco Yim will do the design. The museum will borrow from the Palace Museum collection for its shows. Excerpted from The Art Newspaper.
Artist Tyrus Wong who worked on Walt Disney’s “Bambi” has died at the age of 106. He said the inspiration for the movie’s landscape came to him from Song Dynasty paintings. Wong also worked on pivotal films such as “The Sands of Iwo Jima”, “Rebel Without a Cause” and “The Wild Bunch”. In 2013/2014, a major retrospective on his work entitled “Water to Paper, Paint to Sky” appeared at the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.
Daido Moriyama whom many consider the father of street photography in Japan is interviewed in the latest issue of BOMB Magazine out of New York.
Burmese artist Aye Ko received the 2017 Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art. The Myanmar artist was selected for his “commitment to his community…brought forth through his work, which has said that though things may change today, an awareness has to go on.” He received the award at a ceremony in Singapore.
The Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art in Nusantara is the first of its kind in Indonesia. It opens November 2017 in Jakarta. The basis of the collection is from museum founder Horyanto Adi oesoemo’s collection of over 800 artworks. 50 % are by Indonesian artists and the ret from artist across Europe, North America, China and other parts of Asia. Excerpted from Blouinartinfo
Director Rosa Joshi brought Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy through the good graces of the Seattle Shakespeare Company. She co-adapted it with Kate Wisniewski and it included Taiko drumming and choreography by Alice Gosti. “Bring Down the House” is a two-part adaptation of Henry VI and ran in rotating rep in January. It was a co-production of Seattle Shakes, an all-female collective founded by Joshi. She is also profiled in the January 2017 issue of CityArts.
Seattle actor Ray Tagavilla played Poseidon in Caroline Bird’s feminist version of Euripides’s tragedy, “The Trojan Women” which runs at the Slate Theater directed by Leah Adcock-Starr. January 26 – 29.
Brian Chin (trumpet) just one of many local Northwest musicians slated to participate in the 32nd Annual Seattle Improvised Music Festival set for February 2 – 4 as part of the Chapel Performance Series. Special guests Lisa Cay Miller. Nicole Mitchell and Douglas R. Ewart will be interacting with local musicians as well as playing their own sets during the series. New for this year’s event include a workshop for improvising dancers and musicians and an Improvised Music Merch Mart where vendors/musicians can sell or trade their music cd’s and other merchandise. Opens at 6pm each night. The concerts start at 8pm. 4649 Sunnyside N. on the 4th floor.
City Arts presents a series of collaborations between artists entitled “Genre Bender” March 3 – 5. Program includes DK Pan + Yrim Seck, Molly Sides + No Touching Ground, Mary Anne Carter + Dani Tirrell, Ben Hunter + Tracy Rector and Hatlo + Shontina Vernon. At Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. $20 advance/ $30 at the door. Go to cityartsonline.com/genre-bender for details.
Teenage rocker Emma Lee Toyoda was an audience favorite at last year’s EMP “Sound-Off!” youth music competition. Now, her debut album entitled “Sewn Me Anew” (Make Fart Records) is out and was selected as “Album of the Month” by City Arts in December.
Meany Center For The Performing Arts at UW has as usual an exciting assortment of programs for every taste whether under the categories of “Dance”, “Piano”, “World Music” or “Chamber Music” for their 2016-2017 season. The Shen Wei Dance Arts group with their special blend of contemporary dance and Asian tradition performs “Neither” set to Morton Feldman’s opera of the same name with a libretto by Samuel Beckett March 16 – 18, 2017 at 8pm. KODO, the Japanese group that started the world phenomenon for the sound of the Japanese drum, the taiko make a welcome return as well. They take the stage on Feb. 3 – 4 , 2017 at 8pm. 206-543-4880 or go to MEANYCENTER.ORG for details. Single tickets and subscriptions on sale now.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the programs Seattle Symphony has to offer under the baton of Music Director Ludovic Morlot later this year going into 2016/2017. Kevin Ahfat is featured pianist during the Symphony’s “Shostakovich Concerto Festival”. He’ll perform with Pablo Rus Broseta conducting the following. On Thurs., January 19 – Piano Concerto No. 1, Violin Concerto No. 2 and Cello Concerto No. 1. On Friday, January 20 – Cello Concerto No. 2, Piano Concerto No. 2 and Violin Concerto No. 1. Finally on Friday, February 10 at 8pm, catch violinist Leonidas Kavakos & pianist Yuja Wang in a program featuring Medtner’s “Two Canzonas with Dances for Violin and Piano and other works by Schubert, Debussy and Bartok. For details on tickets, go to seattlesymphony.org or call (206) 215-4747.
Tea ceremony demonstrations continue at Seattle Art Museum downtown on Third Thursdays at 5:30pm and Third Sundays at 2:30pm in the Japanese teahouse on the third floor of SAM. Free with admission. Go to vistsam.org/performs for details.
Chan Centre, the premier performing arts theatre space for the University of British Columbia in Vancouver B.C. presents the following. Anda Union, a nine-member band that unites tribal and musical traditions from all over Inner Mongolia. A wide range of traditional instruments and vocal throat singing styles are used. They are part of the new season and will perform on March 26, 2017 at 8pm. Go to http://chancentre.com/subscribe/ for details on their complete season. Single tickets on sale on June 14, 2016 from noon on.
Seattle Gamelan Pacifica perform traditional and contemporary works composed for this instrument prevalent in Indonesia. In 2017, they celebrate the centenary of great American composer Lou Harrison who wrote many modern compositions for gamelan on Sat., May 13 at 8pm. Chapel Performance Space at 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. (4th floor) in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood.
The Theatre at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue has the following events scheduled at their venue. Chinese Radio Seattle has a program set for Feb. 4, 2017. 11100 NE 6th St. in Bellevue. 425-637-1020.
“Those Who Remain: Concerto for Installation and Improviser” is an international collaboration which will feature a sound and video installation by video artist and DJ Yohei Saito and dancer/choreographer Yukio Suzuki from Japan and a new electronic score by Seattle composer/musician Wayne Horvitz and contributions by Seattle artist Barbara Earl Thomas. Suzuki who was named “Choreographer for the Next Generation” by Toyota will perform several short dance improvisations daily within the installation. Horvitz will give an evening performance with Sherik and Beth Fleenor and Suzuki on Jan. 27 at 7:30pm. Additional after-hours performances on Jan. 31 with Suzuki, Stuart Dempster and Greg Campbell at 7:30pm, Feb. 3 with Suzuki, Alex Guy and Raymond Larsen and Feb. 4 with Suzuki and Ivan Arteaga and Peggy Lee. Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park.Performances start at 7:30pm. $9 for the exhibit and $15 for the perfornaces. Go to visitsam.org/gardnercenter for more details. Supported by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program.
UW School of Music presents a “Faculty Piano Recital: Cristina Valdes Sourced”
In which she plays a program of composers inspired by composers. Includes works by Richard Karpen, Joel-Francois Durand, Oliver Messiaen and Kotoka Suzuki. Feb. 8, 2017 at 7:30pm in Meany Theater on the Seattle UW campus. More at www.music.washington.edu or call 206-543-4880. You can get your tickets in person at the ArtsUW Ticket Office.
Fans of Hawaiian music will want to take note of this. Masters of Hawaiian Music group plays the Triple Door Feb. 6 – 8. 216 Union St. in downtown Seattle. 206- 838-4333. Keola Beamer and Jeff Peterson appear at the Edmonds Center For The Arts with Moanalani Beamer representing the younger generation on March 25, 2017 at 7:30pm. 425-275-9595.
In the January 23, 2017 issue of The Japan Times, Seattle singer/songwriter Emi Meyer got a nice write-up for her guest vocal turn on DJ Okawari’s latest recording entitled “Compass” (Space Shower Music) just released in Japan.
Debbie Chin is the newly appointed Executive Director of Bay Area-based Opera Parallele. Previously she was Executive Director of Carmel Bach Fest. She currently sits on the board of The Network of Ensemble Theater. Chin is from Long Island, New York where her Chinese immigrant parents ran a family restaurant and nightclub. Excerpted from SF Classical Voice.
Company Wang Ramirez combine their talents to perform in “Monchichi” at Spoleto. Honji Wong is a martial arts-trained dancer born in Frankfort Germany of Korean parents and Sebastien Ramirez, French with Spanish origins is a former B-boy. They will teach a master class at Spoleto as well on May 25.
Chinese classical pianist Lang Lang has given a fundraising concert and pledged to do more to improve the situation of children in rural China where parents often leave home to work in the cities leaving their children in the care of grandparents. These “left-behind” children are a growing social issue.
Film & Media
The Disney-inspired take by a Pacific Islander cultural hero “Moana” continues a local run through Feb. 2 at the Varsity. Go to www.farawayentertainment.com for details.
As part of the upcoming “Silent Movie Mondays” series “Love Stories” produced by STG, they will be screening “The Dragon Painter” starring the then Hollwyood hot male actor Sessue Hayakawa (who would go on to later fame in the Academy-Award winning film, “The Bridge Over the River Kwai”) on March 6 at 7pm. Includes an original score performed live by local group Aono Jikken Ensemble known for their sterling work dealing with cinema and theatre. The Paramount Theatre in downtown Seattle. (800) 745-3000.
Yukihisa Fujimoto is a documentary filmmaker who has covered issues related to the U.S. base development in Okinawa for over ten years. In his latest project, he collaborates with journalist/filmmaker Asako Kageyama on a two part documentary series titled “Takae-Mori ga Naiteiru” (The Forest is Crying) which tells the story of local Okinawans efforts to protect a sub-tropical forest in an area where the U.S. military is building helipads. The area is a habitat for 200 endangered species and rare plants. Both documentaries are being screened in Osaka and Tokyo during January. Excerpted from Japan Times.
Shintaro Shimosawa is not the name of your newest Japanese director but instead is the non de plume of Nisei filmmaker Edward Shimosawa. His parents emigrated to Chicago from Kobe in the 1970s. The family spoke Japanese at home and forced their son to go to Japanese school on Saturdays. Though he hated it, it would come in handy” when he served as co-producer on the 2004 Hollywood re-make of Takashi Shimizu’s “Ju-on” (“The Grudge”) and its sequel. Shimosawa’s directorial debut was “Misconduct” starring Josh Duhamel which didn’t overwhelm Hollywood critics upon its initial release. Undaunted, he has just produced a new horror film entitled “M.F.A.”. Excerpted from Japan Times.
China makes a bid for global recognition in the film industry with the release of Zhang Yimou’s “The Great Wall” starring Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Wilem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Li Han and Jing Tian. The big test comes when it is released in North America on February 17. Some have accused Yimou of white-washing by giving the hero role to a Hollywood star instead of a Chinese actor but the part was written specifically for Damon because they wanted a proven box office star with international drawing power the director explained. The plot revolves around the efforts of humans to defend the great wall against mythical flesh eating creatures who invade the wall every sixty years. To appeal to world audiences, 80 percent of the dialogue is in English, the rest being in Chinese. The production was done with Universal Pictures, China’s Le Vision Pictures and the China Film Group. Disney-owned Industrial Light & Magic did the special effects. Chinese mogul Dalian Wanda is building a movie facility and tourism complex in the eastern-port city of Qingdao to attract American productions. Whether China emerges as a world power in the international film industry to rival Hollywood, time will tell. Excerpted from the New York Times.
A new Japanese feature length animated feature film “Your Name” by Makoto Shinkai has the premise of two teens exchanging genders in their dreams and falling in love in their waking lives. It has captured the imaginations of viewers both in Japan and China becoming a mega-hit. It has garnered praise at film festivals in the U.S. and Europe as well as generating Oscar talk. The lead of Shinkai’s animation team is Masahi Ando who was one of master animator Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest disciples. His other lead artist is Masayoshi Tanaka. Though Shinkai is mentioned sometimes as the “new Miyazaki”, the 43 year old filmmaker gets uncomfortable hearing it. “Of course I’m happy when people mention his name and mine in the same breath. It’s like a dream. But I know they are overpraising because I am absolutely not at his level. Honestly, I don’t want Miyazaki to see it because he will see all its flaws.” Shinkai’s next project will be about teched-up Japanese teens. “Your Name” has been picked up by Funimation Entertainment for distribution in the U.S. Look for an expected release of a sub-titled version this April.
New York-based Janus Films has acquired North American rights to the late Japanese filmmaker Junzo Itami’s entire catalog. A new 4K digital version of “Tampopo” about a woman on the ultimate quest for the perfect bowl of ramen flopped in Japan but was a big hit abroad has already been released in the U.S. and Criterion will provide a home video version. Look for the rest of his films to be re-distributed in the U.S. soon.
Coming soon are these films. “Tharlo” directed by Pema Tseden and starring Shide Nyima as a Tibetan shepherd who is forced to go into town and interact with people where he meets a certain woman who opens up his world. “M. S. Dhoni: The Untold Story” is a biopic look at the rags-to-riches story of cricket star starring Sushant Singh Rajput as directed by Neeraj Pandey. Go to siff.net for details. “Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang” is a documentary film by Kevin McDonald on this Chinese artist who uses pyrotechnics, fire and gunpowder for his performance works set again the canvas of a dark night sky (although those in Seattle may know him for his hanging cars installation recently taken down at Seattle Art Museum downtown). Release date is Oct. 14, 2016.”Creepy” is a redundant title for the new film by Japanese master of horror Kiyoshi Kurosawa in which a former detective is called back to work on a very peculiar case. In November, look out for these films. “Lion” is taken from a true story and a book that tells the story of an Indian boy found on the streets of Calcutta who is eventually adopted by an Australian couple. When he is an adult, he returns to India determined to find his real parents. Stars Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and directed by Garth Davis. “Red Stone” is a Chinese film of injustice and retribution by Johnny Ma who wrote and directed. A taxi driver distracted by a customer accidentally hits a motorcyclist and then takes him to the hospital. For his good deed, he is forced to pay medical fees and almost loses his job.
The Written Arts
On one of his many visits to the West Coast, the late Kyoto-based professor, editor, poet and translator Yo Nakayama picked up a copy of the Northwest classic and cornerstone of Asian American literature, “No No Boy” (UW Press) by the late Seattle author John Okada. He translated it and the Japanese version came out on Shobunsha in 1979. Noted contemporary Japanese novelist Kenzaburo Oe praised it as an authentic new look at American culture. Eventually the Japanese version went out of print. To fill that gap, Japanese journalist Ryusuke Kawai undertook the task of a new translation which came out in December, 2016 on Junposha Press. Seattle filmmaker/journalist/writer Frank Abe was one of the local consultants for issues of American idiom, Japanese American history and Seattle geography. The book can be ordered via http://amzn.to/zilOfp9. Kawai hopes to do a West Coast tour later this year to promote the new translation.
Elliott Bay Book Company presents a series of readings and events. All are at the bookstore unless noted otherwise. Robert Francis Flor reads from a new book of poetry entitled ‘Alaskero Memories” (Carayan Press) along with fellow poet Michelle Penaloza, Victor Pineda and Emily Lawsin who will also explore the theme of that first generation of Filipino Americans who worked in the canneries and fields up and down the West Coast. Saturday, February 4 at 7pm. A joint presentation with Pinoy Words Expressed Kultura Art. Music provided by Roger Rigor and friends. The Saturday University Series presented by Gardner Center For Asian Art & Ideas with the UW Jackson School of International Studies and Elliott Bay present a new series entitled “Islam Across Asia: Art Practices/Cultural Politics”. Now that Seattle Asian Art Museum is undergoing renovation, the series has moved to Seattle University’s Piggott Auditorium on campus. Saturdays at 10am. University of Texas professor emeritus Azfar Moin kicks it off with the topic ”Islam After the Mongols, Saints, Shrines, and the Stars” on Febriuary 4. On February 11, University of Pennsylvania Professor Jamal Elia addresses the topic of “Images and Emotion: Society And Art Practices in the Islamic World”. Location for this series is at 901 12th Ave. on the Seattle University campus. 206-654-3210 or go to www.seattleartmuseum.org for details. Writers Mira Shimabukuro and Bob Shimabukuro speak on Sunday, February 12 at 3pm. Hear from two generations of a Seattle activist family on the subject of “Writing, Redress and Social Justice: 75 Years After Executive Order 9066”. Given the current political climate they ask “What are our (Japanese American Community and allies) responsibilities now?”. Elliott Bay Book Company is at 1521 Tenth Ave. in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. 206-624-6600.
Viet Thanh Nguyen, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize winner in Fiction comes to Seattle’s Central Library to read from a new collection of short stories on Feb. 24. 1000 Fourth Ave. 206-386-4636.
Curator, designer, activist S. Surface (on the cover), poet Jane Wong and playwright/performance artist Sara Porkalob were all featured in the January 2017 “Future List” of CityArts magazine. The list honors emerging local talent. The same issue has an “Epilogue” Op Ed column by Seattle writer/musician Hollis Wong-Wear.
Hugo House has announced its temporary re-location during construction of its new building across from Cal Anderson Park. Beginning in mid-2016, Hugo House’s public programs and offices will be based in a building owned by, and adjacent to, the Frye Art museum at Boren Avenue and Columbia Street on First Hill. Hugo House will operate a full schedule of readings, classes, book launches, workshops, teen programs, and more at the Frye while its new building is being constructed. Events will take place here and in the Frye’s auditorium as well at the nearby Elliott Bay Book Company and Sorrento Hotel. Beginning May 21, classes continue at Hugo House’s temporary home at 1021 Columbia near Frye Art Museum. By 2018, Hugo House will return to its original site and occupy a ground-floor space in a new six-story, mixed-use building. In related news, Hugo House has produced “The Writer’s Welcome Kit”, an exclusive e-course that combines guidance on the writing craft and resources to help the writer excel. Go to hugohouse.org for details. The organization has announced their “Writer-in-Residence and Made at Hugo House Fellows” for 2016-2017. Local journalist-turned-novelist and Seattle University professor Sonora Jha will be a writer-in-residence. She will assist writers during free hour-long appointments. She is currently working on a memoir entitled “This Little Matter of Love”. She writes that “As woman writer and professor of color whose research and active service work is rooted in representation, I am particularly excited also about extending the reach of Hugo House into under-represented communities in Seattle to clear the path for such writers to emerge in mainstream, meaningful, and lasting (rather than token) ways.” Shankar Narayan was chosen as one of the “Made at Hugo House Fellows” Narayan is a 2016 Kundiman Fellow whose work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He works as an attorney and advocate for civil rights. “Made at Hugo House” is a yearlong fellowship for emerging writers selected by an anonymous advisory panel of writers. The six fellows chosen will complete writing projects with guidance and support from Hugo House. Narayan is working on a chapbook of poems influenced by technology, race and power. Spoken word artist Anis Mojgani who spins sublime tales of the imagination from personal encounters and childhood memories of the deep South comes in from Portland to perform on April 7, 2017. Hugo House now adds manuscript consultations to its long list for resources for writers. There are currently five consultants for short fiction, novels, memoirs, essays, poetry, young adult and literary journalism and more to be added as the program continues. For details on this, go to hugohouse.org/manuscript-consultants. For general information, try 206-453-1937. Hugo House is at 1021 Columbia St. in Seattle.
“Sherman Alexie Loves” is a new series that Seattle Arts & Lectures has started with the noted Northwest writer. It features three evenings of conversation with authors that the author loves. Of special note is the evening entitled “First Loves: Debut Novelists Alexie Loves” on Thurs., May 11, 2017 at Town Hall Seattle. Includes a conversation with Patricia Park, Ariel Schrag and Sunil Yapa. For tickets & information, go to lectures.org.
A new book by popular Japanese writer Haruki Murakami is always considered a major literary event. Japanese publisher Shinchosha has announced that his new book entitled “Kishidancho Goroshi” (“Murder of the Knight Commander”) will hit bookstores on February 24. The book will be divided into two parts subtitled “Emerging Ideas” and “Moving Metaphor”. No word yet when a translation into English will be made available.
The 156th Akutagawa Prize, one of the most highly esteemed literary prizes in Japan for up-and-coming writers this year went to 50-year old author Sumito Yamashita for his book entitled “Shinsekai” (“New World”). The book explores his experiences as a teenager attending a theater school in Hokkaido. A long established playwright and actor, he expanded to fiction in 2011. The Naoki Prize is reserved for more experienced writers who write entertainment-style pieces. This year’s winner was Riku Onda for her book “Mitsubachi to Torai” (A Honey Bee And Distant Thunder”) which tells the story of a young pianist competing in an international competition.
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! –
Xiaolu Guo, a Chinese writer and filmmaker is based in London.. She was list4d as one of Granta’s best young British novelist and has been shortlistd for the Orange Prize. Her memoir entitled “Once Upon A Time in the East” (Chatto & Windus) came out this January.
“Becoming Misako Kikuchi: The Story of a Japanese American Adoptee’s Journey to Japan and Back to Find Her Family” by local author Lynn Hammonds has been published by Create Space Independent Publishing Platform.
The late Xu Hongci, acused of being a “rightist” spent 20 years in China’s gulag archipelago. He is the only person known to have escaped and lived to write about it in his newly translated memoir “No Wall Too High” (Farrar Straus & Giroux). It was originally published in Hong Kong in 2008 but makes its American debut now.
Open call to professional artists or artist teams from Oregon or Washington with prior public art experience to develop site-specific artwork and design elements for the Aurora-Licton Springs Corridor Neighborhood Street Fund Project along Aurora between N. 85th St. and N. 105th St. Deadline is Feb. 7, 2017 by 11am. Information? Call Kristen Ramirez at 206-615-1095.
Barry Chan and business partner Raymond Kwan of Lucky Envelope Brewers in Ballard , local brewers of beer were profiled in The Stranger recently for their Chinese New Year Celebration featuring their own brew.
Friends of Asian Art Association is an all-volunteer organization that connects its members and the community to educations, cultural and social events tied to Asia and its diverse art forms and culture. Enjoy year-round activities and meet new friends who share similar interests by becoming a member. All are welcome to the activities but members get special discounts and perks. Go to FriendsOfAsianArt@earthlink or call (206) 522-5438.
The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing is now accepting non-fiction submissions. Winner receives $10,000 and publication by Restless Books. Submissions accepted until Feb. 28, 2017. Go to Restlessbooks.com for details.