“Handmade in Camp – What We couldn’t Carry” is a group show that displays over 60 items including furniture, jewelry, tools, paintings, needlework, scrapbooks, games, toys and quilts – all handcrafted items made by Japanese Americans during their WWII incarceration. On view July 6 – Nov. 6, 2016.The museum says that most are family heirlooms borrowed from area households and have never been seen in public. Accompanied by quotes from local families. Guest curator Ken Matsudaira speaks about the exhibit on July 12 at 7pm. White River Valley Museum in Auburn. For details call 253-288-7433 or go to http://wrvmuseum.org.
A group show of “Japanese Woodblock Prints” is on view at Davidson Galleries from July 7 – 30. 313 Occidental Ave. S. in Pioneer Square. 206-624-7684 or go to www.davidsongalleries.com.
- Gibson Gallery’s “25” is a group show celebrating the diverse roster of artists they represent. Includes the work of Saya Moriyasu and Thuy Van-Vu. On view through August 13 plus a selection of 20th century photography. 300 S. Washington. 206-587-4033.
Satpreet Kahlon whose work was recently profiled in the IE has a new show entitled “Stories Told, Remembered” through July 16 at Twilight Gallery. It features stories decolonizing the body, “told by, about, and for women of color,” depicted in a show featuring works in fiber, garments and paper. 4306 SW Alaska St. 206-933-2444 or go to twilightart.net. Open Wed. – Mon. Also look for a future installation by Kahlon at METHOD in the Tashiro Kaplan Building at 106 3rd Ave. S. Go to www.methodgallery.com for details.
What is your favorite lullaby? What do you sing to your little ones to put them to sleep? The Wing invites you to share your lullaby with them to be featured in the new upcoming KidPLACE exhibition, “Stars Above: Wrapped in Lullabies”, opening Sat., August 20, 2016. Go to http://www.wingluke.org/lullaby for details.
Seattle raised/ Germany-based installation artist Tamiko Thiel’s summer project at Olympic Sculpture Park set for June 25 – Sept. 30, 2016 is entitled “Gardens Of The Anthropocene.” She creates an augmented reality app that can be downloaded to your mobile device. This virtual tour imagines the future for the landscape as we enter a new geological age defined by human activity’s impact on climate and environment. You can download the free Layar app onto your iPhone or Android smartphones now and get ready for a surreal landscape.
“Monkey Way” is the title of a catchy multi-media installation by Seattle artist Saya Moriyasu. It’s in the walkway window just past Starbuck’s as you transition from Chinatown/ID to the street across that leads to the trains that take commuters to Everett and Tacoma. In a lot of ways, this transition between cultures/places parallel’s the artist’s work as well. Her statement reads, “The current political situation is awkward in that it seeps into the work via monkeys and lots of shelves that are not functional. This moment of instability in US politics leads to inspirations from moments in history in France and China. Putting all these elements all together is a visual mash-up that comes from my life in a family mixed both in class and culture.” History, culture and identity mixed with whimsy comes from this display and grabs the attention of passersby. The work is up until October, 2016. For information on the artist, go to Saya Moriyasu.com. for information about the work, go to GGibsonGallery.com.
“Unsettled/Resettled: Seattle’s Hunt Hotel” is a new exhibit that tells the story of the Hunt Hotel’s role in the resettling of the Japanese community in Seattle after WW II. Within the walls of the present-day historic buildings at 1414 S. Weller St. now known as the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington, the site served as temporary housing for Seattle Japanese and Japanese Americans during resettlement. Most residents were returning from the Minidoka Incarceration Camp in Hunt, Idaho. In the wake of WWII, over thirty families began to rebuild their lives. Here, children were raised and loved ones were lost until gradually the rooms were vacated to give way to community organizations and classroom as families moved out and resettled. This exhibit will help raise awareness of the long-lasting consequences of Executive Order 9066. Organized by Elisa Law, there will be a traveling exhibit and book coming as well. Free. Open M – F from 10 am – 5pm. For details, go to www.jcccw.org.
“Seeing The Light: Four Decades in Chinatown”, is a new book of essays and photos by respected and beloved Seattle Chinatown/ID photographer/writer Dean Wong out now from local publisher Chin Music Press. Concurrently some of the dynamic new work he’s been doing in Chinatowns up and down the West Coast – “Dean Wong: New Street Photography” is at Jack Straw Cultural Center now through Sept. 1. 4261 Roosevelt Way NE. Go to www.jackstraw.org for more details. In related news, another show of his work in the book is on view through July 24 at Kobo Gallery and Shop at Higo. Some talks and activities related to the show are planned. For details, go to http://www.koboseattle.com.
The Cascadia Art Museum is a new museum in Edmonds dedicated to the legacy of the Northwest from the late 19th century to the mid-modernist period of the 1960’s. Coming in May are two shows – “Northwest Photography at Mid-Century” which includes the work of Yoshio Noma & Chao-Chen Yang and “Against The Moon:The Art of John Matsudaira (1922-2007)”, one of the forgotten members of the “Northwest School”. Through August 23, 2016. 190 Sunset Ave. #E in Edmonds. Hours are Wed. – Sun. from 11am – 6pm and Artwalk Edmonds Third Thursdays from 5 – 8pm. 425-336-4809.
Local paper-cut artist Lauren Iida has a busy schedule of shows throughout the area. Her work can always be seen at ArtXchange Gallery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. In addition, more shows include the following. A new retail/gallery space in Ballard called Venue will also carry her work starting June 9. She has five works on view at The Gallery at Shoreline City Hall from June 9 – August 9. Her first public art project will be paper cutaways laser cut from metal and hung as banners along aurora between 175th and 205th. Sponsored by the city of Shoreline. Go to www.laureniida.com for full details. She is also always open to commissions. She has done custom cutaways for people from their special photos or a favorite poem etc. For details on commissions, go to http://www.laureniida.com/commissions.html.
“Patterned Lineage: Cultural Storytelling” is a show about “how pattern can help narrate personal cultural histories” by comparing work by Australian aboriginal artists and local Seattle sculptor/installation artist June Sekiguchi. July 7 – August 27. First Thursday reception on July 7 from 5 – 8pm. The work includes reconfigured large scale works made for the artist’s parents as well as a plaster, waxed paper piece done in honor of her children. Live music by Tx Trumbo accompanies the art. The second First Thursday on August 4 from 5 – 8pm will have the sculptor installing a scroll cut waterfall for the second month of the show. Humaira Abid’s carved wood sculptures and paintings use a personal approach to reveal world issues whether it’s the bombing of children in Pakistan by US warplanes or issues of women. A solo show of her new work opens August 4 and runs through Sept. 24. ArtXchange Gallery at 512 First Ave. S. 206-839-0377 or go to artxchange.org. Open Tues. – Sat.
“Bodies + Beings” is an invitational exhibition of figurative sculptures at Abmeyer + Wood running from July 13 – August 27. Includes work by Haejin Lee, Calvin Ma and Akio Takamori. Opening reception is Wed., July 13 from 5 – 8pm. 1210 2nd Ave. in down town Seattle. 206-628-9501 or go to abmeyerwood.com.
“Ceramics Invitational Exhibition: National Clay” is a group show that includes the work of Jun Kaneko and Steven Young Lee. On view from July 7 – 30, 2016. Traver Gallery at 110 Union St. #200 in downtown Seattle. 206-587-6501 or go to travergallery.com.
Lu Yang’s satiric work includes elements of science as it meets pop culture. On view June 11 – July 23 at Interstitial at 6007 – 12th Ave. S. Open on Sat. Go to interstitialtheatre.com for details.
Seattle Municipal Tower presents “Cultural Perspectives”, a group show from the Seattle Public Utilities Portable Works collection with a focus on the voices and experiences of communities of color. On view through Sept. 30, 2016. Part 2 has work by Minh Carrico, Carina del Rosario, Midori Hirose, Hyunju Kim, Cheryll Leo-Gwin, Naomi Shigeto, Roger Shimomura, Tara Tamaribuchi, Thuy-Van Vu and others. The Artist Reception is on Thurs., August 4 from 4 – 6pm.700 Fifth Ave. Open Mon. – Fri. Go to seattle.gov for details.
- Z. Wei’s by now familiar landscapes from travels in the Northwest will be shown in September at Patricia Rovzar Gallery. 1111 1st Ave. in downtown Seattle. 206-223-0273 or go to www.rovzargallery.com.
The Yakima Valley Museum has the current exhibit, “Land of Joy and Sorrow – Japanese Pioneers of the Yakima Valley” up until 2018. It tells the history of Japanese families who created a community there before the war. Only 10% of families returned to re-settle there after the war. 2105 Teton Dr. (509) 248-0741. In related news, a softball from this collection that saw play at Heart Mountain internment camp and owned by George Hirahara has been given to the Smithsonian and was on display in the incarceration section of the exhibit, “The Price of Freedom – Americans at War”. (As reported in the North American Post.) In other news, Hirahara’s Oregon photographs of the Japanese American post-WWII experience in the Pacific Northwest are now available online at Densho. To see his documentation of Nikkei Oregon life in “New Partner Collection: Frank C. Hirahara Photographs From The Oregon Nikkei Endowment”, go to http://www.densho.org/new-partner-collection-frank-c-hirahara-photographs-from-the-oregon-nikkei-endowment/. Also a profile of the Washington State University Hirahara Collection of photos from Heart Mountain is now featured on the Japanese American History Not For Sale Facebook Page by going to https://www.facebook.com/japaneseamericanhistorynotforsale.
The Portland Japanese Garden recently reopened after a six-month closure for construction on the Garden’s Cultural Crossing expansion project. For details, go to japanesegarden.com.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has the following upcoming shows. “Modernization in Meiji Japan (1868-1912) – Images of Changing Architecture, Transportation and War” through August 28, 2016. “China’s Favourite Pottery for Tea, Yixing Ware” from July 1 – Oct. 18, 2016. 1040 Moss St. in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Call 1-250-384-4171.
“Splashes of Color: Chinese Woodblock Prints from the You Wei Du Zhai Collection” is on view through Oct. 9, 2016 at Portland Art Museum. 1219 SW Park Ave. 503-226-2811 or go to portlandartmuseum.org.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art located on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene has the following –Remaining on view until July 24, 2016 is “‘True’ Korean Landscapes & Virtuous Scholars” and “Benevolence & Loyalty: Filial Piety in Chinese Art” up until July 31, 2016. 1430 Johnson Lane. (541) 346-3027.
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – “Everything Has Been Material For Scissors To Shape” is a new group exhibition on textiles and how they move through history and myth, commodity culture and art, linking women’s hands and machines to Asian American identities.” It features the work of Surabhi Ghosh, Stephanie Syjuco and Aram Han Sifuentes. This show is on display through April 16, 2017. “New Years All Year Round” closes on Sun. July 31. See how the New Year is celebrated in Japanese, Vietnamese, and Hmong cultures in this interactive and kid-friendly exhibit. Opening Sat., August 20 is “Stars Above: Wrapped in Lullabies”. Family Fun Day celebrates this show with a Pajama Party. The museum asks participants to wear their favorite pajamas to celebrate this opening day. Free with family fun activities like art workshops, lullabies, recording booth and kid -focused concerts throughout the building. Opening March 3 from 6 – 8pm is “Seeds of Change, Roots of Power: The Danny Woo Community Garden”, an exhibit that celebrates this neighborhood resource which preserves culture, tradition and identity. Tatau/Tattoo: Embodying Resistance. Explores the practices and cultural significance of tattoos, highlighting the unique perspectives of the South Pacific communities in the Pacific Northwest. “Khmer American: Naga Sheds Its Skin”. War has had a huge impact on Khmer culture and identity. Despite these challenges, the community continues to shape the US and Cambodia. “Tales of Tails: Animals in Children’s Books is a recent show to open at the museum. “Do You Know Bruce?” is a major new show on the personal, intimate story of martial arts artist and film star Bruce Lee and the significance of Seattle in his life. Opens Oct. 4th with the full support of the Lee Family. The Wing is the only museum in the world, outside of Hong Kong, to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee’s life. The Lee family has plans to eventually open a permanent museum on Bruce Lee’s life and legacy in the Chinatown-ID neighborhood. Year 2 of the exhibition opens Oct. 3rd, 2015 and digs deeper into the significance of Bruce Lee and his impact in media during a time of racial stereotypes and barriers. Includes text panels by national blogger Phil Yu (aka Angry Asian Man) plus Green Hornet toys, personal letters, behind-the-scenes photos from the sets of “Way of the Dragon” and “Enter the Dragon”, hand-written film notes, rare photos inside his early Chinatown studio and much more. Celebrate the closing of this Bruce Lee show on Sept. 3 & 4. Special activities include an outdoor film screening on Sat. and giveaways. A new installment of the Bruce Lee exhibit opens on Sat., Oct. 1, 2016 but if you become a museum member, you can attend the special member-only party preview before it officially opens to the public. On Friday, Sept. 30 from 5 – 8pm. To become a member contact [email protected] or call 206-623-5124×126. Toddler Story Time takes place Thurs., July 7 from 11am – 12pm. Free. The book, “Noodle Magic” will be read. August 4 from 11am – 12pm, you can hear a reading of “Mooncakes”. Sept. 1 at 11am brings a reading of “Cora Cooks Pancit.” Fun art activity will follow.The Museum is located at 719 South King St. (206) 623-5124 or visit www.wingluke.org. Closed Mondays. Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. First Thursday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm. Third Saturday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm.
“Voices of Nisei Veterans – Permanent Exhibition and Collections” is composed of rare collections preserved by the Nisei Veterans Committee and tells the story of Japanese American veterans before, during and after WW II. Access is by pre-arranged tour only. For reservations or information, email [email protected] or [email protected]. Jointly sponsored by the NVC Memorial Hall and The Wing. 1212 South King St.
“Pacific Voices” is an ongoing exhibit that celebrates the language, teachings, art, and cultural ceremonies of seventeen cultures from the Pacific Rim. Burke Museum at the University of Washington. 17th Ave. NE & E 45th Streets. (206) 543-5590 or try Washington.edu/burkemuseum.
New Zealand’s largest art show “World of Wearable Art” (tm ) makes its North American debut at EMP Museum in Seattle. A spectacular fusion of fasion and art, the exhibition showcases 32 award-winning garments from the annual competition in Wellington. One of the highlights is ‘Born to Die”, a dress made completely of cable ties woven into a sculptural “vertebrae” to look like a fish skeleton, by design student, Guo Xia Tong from China. On view through Jan. 2, 2017. 325 – 5th Ave. N. 206-770-2702.
Next 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. Seattle Art Museum downtown.
Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park – Opening April 9 and staying on view through Oct. 9, 2016 in the Tateuchi Galleries is “Mood Indigo: Textiles from Around the World.” The show looks at how the color blue creates so many moods in cloth around the world. Drawn primarily from SAM’s global textile collection, the show illuminates the historic scope of this vibrant pigment. On view will be tapestries from Belgium, a Chinese silk court robe, kimonos from Japan, batiks and ikats from Indonesia and Africa, and ancient fragments from Peru and Egypt. An immersive contemporary installation devoted to indigo by Rowland Ricketts with a soundtrack by sound artist Nobert Herber will also be featured. Also on view now – “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. Opening on July 2 and remaining 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 and 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. Now on view through Oct. 9, 2016 is a show entitled “GOLD: Japanese Art from the Collection.” Japanese art curator Xiaojin Wu created this show with diverse elements from the museum’s collection, which showcases all things gold including textiles-such as kimonos-as well as paintings, metalwork, and lacquerware. Gardner Center presents an Asia Arts Workshop entitled “Hand Papermaking of the Islamic World” on Sept. 10, 2016 from 10 am – 4pm with book artist and papermaker Radha Pandy. Pandey will share her rare expertise about paper history with samples of work made in the Islamic world. Paticipants will learn sheet forming, dyeing, sizing and burnishing. On Sept. 15 at 7pm, the Gardner Center presents their Asia Talks series with textile artist Azumi Hosoda who will show you how to use resist dyeing to create kimonos and more. She will discuss techniques that allow layering and depths of color and talk about her contemporary designs that explore themes of food, sea life, games and more. Tabimo 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. Opens Nov. 11, 2016 and remains on view through Feb. 26, 2017. Seattle Asian Art Museum is at 1400 Prospect St. in Volunteer Park. 206-442-8480 or go to seattleartmuseum.org/gardnercenter or [email protected].
The Seattle Asian Art Museum known for its classic Art Deco design built in 1933 will receive a major overhaul and renovation. The museum will close in the spring of 2017. The museum seeks input from the community in a series of meetings about what people envision for the Asian Art Museum of tomorrow. Go to visitsam.org/inspire or email SAM at [email protected] for more information about upcoming community forums about the future of SAAM. Some goals include expanding educational and programming spaces, protecting the collection, restoring a historic icon, enhancing the museum’s connection with Volunteer Park and adding new exhibition space.
The work of Malpina Chan, Julie Chen, Carletta Carrington Wilson and many others is included in “Just One Look”, a group show on view through July 29, 2016. Includes 32 newly commissioned art books by artists from across the country and the region inspired by a text proposed by faculty from the UW Humanities departments. Created as a component of the “Feminism and Classics Conference VII,” hosted by the Department of Classics and sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities. On view in the Allen Library in Special Collections in the Allen Library South Basement on the UW Seattle campus.
Seattle artist/performer/filmmaker Etsuko Ichikawa has won the grand prize Dave Bowen Award for her video entitled “Echo at Satsop”. Submissions were received from artists from over 40 countries. Juror and Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has this to say about the work. “Equal parts performance documentation and otherworldly cinematic experience the mesmerizing video reveals the dramatic potential of a simple gesture made in an extraordinary setting. I was not only struck by the professional and creative cinematography, but also by the powerful soundtrack. Nearly every shot would make a compelling still image; the meditative sound could also stand alone. Both contribute to a sense that this clearly real place could be on earth or elsewhere – in the past, present, or far-off future.” Congratulations, Etsuko! The artist is represented locally by Winston Wachter Fine Art Gallery/ [email protected]
Congratulations to local multi-media artist Jason Hirata who won the Brink Award from Henry Art Gallery in 2015. Established in 2008, the award goes to a younger artist on “the brink” of an outstanding professional career. The winner receives $12,500, a solo exhibition at the Henry and an accompanying publication. The Henry will also buy a piece from the artist for their permanent collection. The award comes from Seattle philanthropists John and Shari Behnke. Hirata’s solo show at the Henry entitled “The Brink: Jason Hirata” explores the dynamics of the corporate state and food industry that shapes contemporary life. On view now through Sept. 11, 2016. 15th Ave. NE & NE 41st St. 206-543-2280 or go to www.henryart.org
Akio Takamori has been experimenting with larger-than-life ceramic figures, so large that he’ll bake them in the kiln section by section and then re-assemble them in pieces. He’s also interested in adding a more abstract spin to his work. Expect to see his new work Feb./March of 2017 at James Harris Gallery. 604 – 2nd Ave. 206-903-6220.
Northwest Art Now@TAM 2016 is a juried group show of new contemporary art in the area. On view through August 21. Includes the work of artists like Humaira Abid, Paul Komada, Asia Tail and Lily Martina Lee. Tacoma Art Museum. 1701 Pacific Ave. 253-272-4258 or go to tacomaartmuseum.org.
Artist Lois Yoshida teaches a class entitled “Introduction to Ink and Brush Painting” at Frye Art Museum on July 5 – 8 from 10am – 4pm. 704 Terry. 206-622-9250.
Every year the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation gives out The Foundation of Art Award to worthy artists who have made a positive effect in the community with their art and activities. Artist candidates throughout Pierce County are highlighted and nominated. One of this year’s nominees was Silong Chhun. Chhun launched the clothing label Red Scarf Revolution in 2013. His aim was to bring silenced art, culture, and the darkest tragedy of Cambodia’s history to light with designs that incite the resilency of the Khmer people. To learn more, go to redscarfrevolution.storenvy.com/faq.
Coming this summer are two big art events. The Seattle Art Fair is happening a second year in a row in part sponsored by Paul Allen. This year’s version presents up to 83 galleries both local, national and international. Expect galleries from Asia, Europe and the East Coast plus our West Coast contingent. Aug. 4 – 7 at CenturyLink Field Event Center at 800 Occidental Ave. S. Go to centurylinkfield.com for details. And down the road at King Street Station at 303 S. Jackson, look for “Out of Sight”, a group show showcasing local artists also Aug. 4 – 7. Curator for Suyama Space, Beth Sellars is putting together a series of site-specific installations by artists who have been involved with Suyama Space among them, Lead Pencil Studio (Annie Han & Daniel Mihalyo).
“Matter” is the first North American retrospective to highlight two decades of art by Bharti Kher, a UK-born, New Delhi-based artist. The exhibition presents elements of painting, photography, and sculpture that have been the hallmarks of her practice over the past two decades. On view from July 9 – Oct. 10, 2016. Organized by Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis and Diana Freundl. Her use of the bindi (a popular fashion accessory that once was a symbol of the third eye) is reclaimed by the artist to show the resilience of women. Ideas of hybridity and the female cyborg are also explored in her art. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue co-published with Black Dog Publishing. Vancouver Art Gallery is at 750 Hornby St. in Vancouver BC, Canada. 604-662-4722 or go to www.vanartgallery.bc.ca.
On view through Sept. 4, 2016 is “Chino Otsuka: Arrival”, an audio visual multi-channel installation that combines archival images and new photographs as a way to explore the early history of Japanese immigrants in Canada, stories of young women who came as picture brides. It captures a time of anticipation, hope and adventure as they begin their journey to a new country. Otsuka is based in England and this project was inspired by a 2014 residency at the Nikkei archives here. Also ongoing is “Taiken – Japanese Canadians Since 1877”, photography and artifacts that chronicle the hardships of pioneers to the struggles of the war years to the Nikkei community today. Nikkei National Museum at 6688 Southoaks Cres. In Burnaby B.C., Canada. 604-777-7000 or go to nikkeiplace.org.
The Denver Art Museum has the following shows. “All That Glistens – A Century of Japanese Lacquer” has on display containers, trays, plaques, braziers and screens all handcrafted by the Japanese artisan tradition. On view through September 7, 2016. “Depth & Detail – Carved Bamboo from China, Japan & Korea” looks at this intricate decorative art that includes religious imagery, people, animals, birds, insects, plants and landscapes. All with a story to tell or having symbolic meaning. On view hrough Jan. 15, 2017. 100 W 14th Ave. Parkway in Denver. 720-865-5000.
Harry Koyama, a retired beet farmer living in the Yellowstone Valley has gained attention with his flamboyant colorful paintings of Montana wildlife and its people and places. His painting of a massive bison sits in the U.S. Ambassadors house in Beijing. To find out more, go to https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/jun/12/deep-in-the-american-west-beet-farmer-with-an-artists-soul.
The East-West Center Arts Program presents “China Through The Lens of John Thomson 1869-1872”. In 1868 the Scottish photographer and travel writer spent four years in Hong Kong and China documenting the people and landscape. The range, depth and aesthetic quality of his photographic vision makes him stand out as one of the pioneers of travel photography. On view through Sept. 11, 2016. East-West Gallery is located in the John A. Burns Hall at 1601 East-West Rd. in Honolulu. Hours are weekdays 8 – 5pm and Sundays noon – 4pm. 808-944-7177. Go to http://arts.EastWestCenter.org for details.
Four years ago, Greg Kimura of Alaska was appointed president and chief executive of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles in an effort to boast attendance and reach a wider audience for the institution. As of the end of June, he will be stepping down to pursue other possibilities. Kimura was the first hapa or person of mixed race to run the museum. He was hired in the aftermath of a recession. He had goals to make the museum more sustainable, expose the Japanese American story to a wider audience and to reach out to a younger generation of Japanese Americans. He told the L.A. Times, “I came in with a pretty bold agenda, and for the most part I feel I’ve accomplished that.” “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” which also showed in Seattle at EMP broke every record at the museum in terms of attendance and museum store sales. Kimura was also proud of the show entitled “Before They Were Heroes: Sus Ito’s World War II Images,” an exhibition of photography taken while Ito served the decorated 442nd Regiment during WWII. Kimura was formerly CEO of the Alaska Humanities Forum and has a master’s in divinity from Harvard and a Phd in philosophy of religion from Cambridge. He gave no hint of future plans.
The San Diego Museum of Art has opened a new exhibit entitled “Brush And Ink: Chinese Paintings from The San Diego Museum of Art Selected by Pan Gongkai”. On view now through Sept. 4, 2016. The show has works spanning over 500 years of Chinese ink paintings. Along with the classic paintings from the tradition, the show is graced with new work by guest curator/ink painter Pan Gongkai. 1450 El Prado in Balboa Park. 619-232-7931 or go to http://www.sdmart.org.
The Asia Society Museum in New York presents “No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki.” Co-organized with Colby College Museum of Art, it is the first retrospective of the work of this artist (1920-2013) in the United States. This Chinese-French artist melded eastern and western aesthetic sensibilities in his paintings to great effect and was a key figure of the post-WWII abstract expressionist movement. Zao was born in Beijing but grew up in Shanghai and Hangzhou, where he studied at the China Academy of Art. In 1948, he emigrated to Paris where he became a major name in the European art world. His work found its way into American collections in the 50’s and 60’s. He was one of the first artists to adapt the visual characteristics of Chinese art within twentieth-century oil painting idioms. The show is curated by Melissa Walt, Ankeney Weitz and Michelle Yun and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog. On view September 9, 2016 – January 8, 2017. 725 Park Ave. New York City, New York. 212-327-9721 or go to www.asiasociety.org.
“Narcissus Garden” was an installation created by the grande dame of contemporary Japanese art, Yayoi Kusama for the 33rd Venice Biennale back in 1966. She re-creates that piece consisting of over 1,000 mirrored spheres at the famed American architect Phillip Johnson’s historic glazed building in New Canaan, Connecticut known as the Glasshouse Museum. Kusama floats a landscape of metallic orbs that sweep across the meadow and forest of the grounds on the way to the building. Also as an added bonus during the month of September, visitors can see how she has turned the interior of the Glasshouse into a colorful polka-dot infinity room. “Narcissus Garden” is on view through November, 2016. For tickets for a tour, go to [email protected].
The Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University has the following – “The Artist as Activist: Tayeba Begun Lipi and Mahbubur Rahman up until August 7, 2016. A show by Yan Xing through Oct. 16, 2016. “Epic Stories and Cultural Flux: A Brief Visual History of South Asia” though Sept. 11, 2016. 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 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 August 27, 2016 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].
“Interlace: Three Artists In The Cambodian Diaspora” was a group show curated by Loredana Pazzini-Paracciani that featured three artists who blended into their work personal stories of growing up away from their homeland and the challenge of adjusting to another country that either ignored or misunderstood their native culture. It included the installation work of Amy Lee Sanford who smashed and reconstructed Cambodian clay pots filled with segments of her father’s letters re-configured into tiny cubes. LinDa Saphan, a seamstress’s daughter in Canada re-fashioned her mother’s skill to make a mannequin piece entitled “Stateless” covered with the fabric of her immigration forms. Recently re-located to Tacoma, artist Anida Yoeu Ali had two pieces from her “Red Chador” video series. Her interactive performances with local people highlight the anti-Muslim sentiment she felt in America and while visiting Paris. This show closed the end of June and was held at InCube Arts in New York. Taken from Suzy Sikorski’s review as found in ArtAsiaPacific Magazine’s webpage. Go to http://www.artasiapacific.com/Magazine/WebExclusives/INTERLACEThreeArtistsInTheCambodianDiaspora.
The Seoul Museum of Art celebrates the 10th anniversary of the passing of legendary video artist Nam June Paik with an exhibition that examines his work and that of the Fluxus movement of which he was a vital member. Also includes work by George Maciunas, Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono and other Fluxus members. Up until July 31, 2016. Free. Call 02-2124-8934.
KG Surbramanyan, a key figure in midcentury modern art in India died in Vadodara. He was 92.
Seoul-based Daehyung Lee has been selected as curator of the Korean Pavilion for the 2017 Venice Biennale. He’s most known for his “Korean Eye” series at London’s Saatchi Gallery.
The demise of industry in China’s Rust Belt has turned Harbin, a city founded by Russian colonists in the late 19th century and once known as “the Paris of the East” into a shadow of its former self. City officials are banking on the new Harbin Opera House designed by architect Ma Yansong and other architectural wonders such as a new museum to bring the city back into the world spotlight much like architect Frank Gehry did for Spain’s Bilbao Guggenheim Museum. From an article by Jacob Dreyer in The Atlantic Citylab link.
The June/July 2016 issue of Art in America profiles artists Mika Tajima, Nasreen Mohamedi and Heman Chong. Also in the issue Seattle sculptor/writer Robert Rhee’s “Critical Eye” column takes a look at the recent traveling exhibition “Art AIDS America” originating from Tacoma Art Museum and curated by TAM’s Rock Hushka and Jonathan D. Katz, director of visual studies at the University of Buffalo, N.Y. Rhee is one of many nominees for The Stranger’s 14th Annual Genius Awards. Come to the ceremony honoring the winners at the Moore on Sat., Sept. 24, 2016. Go to strangertickets.com to make reservations for this fun event.
The Barack Obama Foundation has announced that the Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, a firm best known for designing the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and the now demolished American Folk Art Museum in New York has won the design competition for the library. The building is expected to open in 2021 in Chicago.
The July/August issue of ArtAsiaPacific includes the following – A profile of London-based Filipino artist Pio Abad whose obsession with the Marcos family explores the influence of their power in the creation of a national identity. A look at the Japanese installation artist Chiharu Shiota. Profiles of Dutch-Filipino video artist Martha Atienza who delves into economic and environmental issues and New Delhi-based Pallavi Paul whose video work uses archival footage with her own documentary recordings of political protests. A digital edition is available for purchase via iTunes, Google Play, Zinio and Magzter.
Master photographer Fan Ho captured urban Hong Kong before it became a financial center. His masterful compositions of light, line and silhouette is a poetic homage to a city that harkens back to the mood of Wong Kar Wai’s film, “In The Mood for Love”. He came to Hong Kong from Shanghai as a teenager in 1949. He was self-taught, learning with a camera given as a gift by his father. He also directed a number of films during the heyday of Hong Kong cinema. He died in June in San Jose, California at the age of 84. Go to http://qz.com/714123/hong-kongs-perfect-serenity-before-it-was-a-financial-hub-by-master-photographer-fan-ho/.
“Hammer On The Square” is a retrospective of the work of nomadic Indian artist Himmat Shah held at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in New Delhi. It features 300 of his works including drawings, terracotta and bronze sculptures, collages, photos, etchings and his relief murals. It traces a career over 58 years. The artist is 82 and still creating. The show is up until July 20, 2016. Taken from Ritika Kochhar’s review found in Art Asia Pacific magazine’s current issue.
Summer festivals sprout up like wildflowers this time of year. The Japanese American community is especially active with things to see and do. Seattle Japanese Garden has their Tanabata Festival on July 9 from 10 am – 7pm. 1075 Lake Washington Blv. E. Go to seattlejapnesegarden.org for details. The Tanabata Star Festival in Portland takes place July 10 from 1 – 3pm at the Portland Japanese Garden. Free with garden admission. Uwajimaya in Seattle presents their annual “Natsu Matsuri” with food and entertainment on July 9 (starts at 11am) & 10 (starts at 5pm). Free. 600 Fifth Ave. S. Go to uwajimaya.com for details. Bon Odori is a time to honor the dead and celebrate through music and dance. Seattle Bon Odori takes place July 16 (4 – 10pm) & 17 (3pm – 8pm) at Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple. 206-329-0800 or go to http://seattlebetsuin.org/. White River Buddhist Church in Auburn celebrates Bon Odori on July 23 (4-9pm). 3625 Auburn Way N. 253-833-1442 or go to http://wrbt-temple.org. Tacoma Bon Odori follows on July 30 (5-9pm) at Tacoma Buddhist Temple. 1717 S. Fawcett Ave. Email [email protected] or visit www.tacomabt.org. Oregon Buddhist Temple’s Obon Fest takes place Aug. 6 (3-9pm). 3720 SE 34th Ave. in Portland. Go to www.oregonbuddhisttemple.com for details. Natsu Matsuri 2016 takes place on July 30 at Uwajimaya Beaverton Plaza in Beaverton, Oregon. Includes the Northwest Koi and Goldfish Club’s annual show. Funds will be raised for the Japan Tsunami and Earthquake Disaster Relief and Goodwill Homestays. 503-643-4512 or visit www.uwajimaya.com for details.
Re-Act under the direction of David Hsieh presents the Seattle professional premiere of Annie Baker’s award-winning play “The Aliens” which was named “Best Play” by The New York Times. This comedic Drama with music looks at the friendship between three millennial misfits. At West of Lenin in Fremont from July 1 – 24, 2016. 203 N. 36th St. Tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets. 206-352-1777.
“From Hiroshima to Hope” (6-9pm) is an annual memorial lantern floating event to commemorate the victims of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima/Nagasaki. Takes place Sat., August 6 at the northwest shore of Green Lake. 7312 W. Green Lake Dr. N. Go to www.fromhiroshimatohope.org for details.
“Autonomic” is the title of a sound and video installation by composer/percussionist Paul Kikuchi on view July 8 – August 26, 2016. The music is drawn from compositions that explore breath awareness, intention and perception. The music is paired with visuals inspired by slowly evolving, multi-layered movements of clouds by videographer James Reeves. Opening on Friday, July 8 at 7pm. Kikuchi gives an “Artist Talk” on Thurs., August 25 at 7pm. Jack Straw New Media Gallery at 4261 Roosevelt Way NE in the University District. 206-634-0910 or go to www.jackstraw.org.
The Taiwanese Association of Greater Seattle presents pianist Yi-Chih Lu in a recital of Liszt, Chopin, Brahms, Gershwin and Taiwanese folk songs. Tues., July 9 at 7pm. Benaroya Hall at 200 University St. in downtown Seattle.
DAIPANbutoh Collective returns with their annual summer series of performances. On Thurs., July 7 there will be an opening event entitled “Neither Will They Stay” with Ruth V. and Kaoru Okumura as part of the 1st Thursday Artwalk at CORE Gallery. An Artist Talk on Thurs., July 14 follows with Ruth V.’s talk and a short performance by Kaoru Okumura. Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/511385055733152/ for details. From July 9 – 17, they present a “Seattle Butoh Festival 2016 entitled “Cultivating Olympia Connections”. July 9 & 10 will be an “Embodying The Spirit Workshop” with Joan Laage on Sat. 11 – 3pm and Sun. from 12 – 6pm ($150 tuition/$125 early bird advance registration). July 15 & 16 features performances by DAIPAN members and Olympia guests at 8pm with a $15/$18 cover, also includes collaborations with Polish Butoh performers. The above events take place at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center at 4408 Deldridge Way SW. On July 17 from 12 – 3pm, there will be a free “Wandering & Wondering” performance at Kubota Garden located at 9817 55th Ave. S. On Fri.,July 29 at Seattle Japanese Garden there will be a Garden Party with a Butoh style parade led by Kaoru Okumura, Joan Laage and others. 6pm – 8:30pm. 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E. On Sunday, August 21 there will be a free “Wandering & Wondering” event at Seattle Japanese Garden led by Joan Laage. For details, go to http://www.daipanbutoh.com/performances/.
Local playwright Nickolas Vassili’s “The United States of China” (see related article in this issue) has its Northwest premiere July 8 – 10 at 7:30pm. The play is a courtroom drama that touches on terrorism, both political and capital, a society falling apart and the fall of empire. A concord is signed in 2017, giving America 2 years to pay its debt to China, but it’s not going to happen. The plot centers around the courtroom trial of Miriam Hopkins, former anti-American terrorist who now fights against the takeover of her country. It comes down to a conflict between the newly formed U.S. of China and the deceit of a nation that brought about its own downfall. The production has had difficulty securing a venue so this is a rare chance to catch this stimulating drama. Stars Stephen Sumida, Christopher Wong and others. At the Palladium Theatre at Hale’s Brewery at 4301 Leary Way NW in Ballard. Tickets at Brown Paper Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2563208. For details on the play, go to www.theusofchina.com.
Dancer/choreographer Crow Nishimura (co-founder of Degenerate Art Ensemble) joins dancer Joseph Blake and Lori Goldston on cello in a performance using one of Senga Nengudi’s nylon mesh sculptures. Sat., July 16 at 11:30am.This is followed by an opening day conversation between the artist and exhibition co-curator Elissa Auther. This activity is part of the programming around the exhibition “Senga Nengudi: Imporovisational Gestures on view through Oct. 9, 2016. Henry Art Gallery on Seattle’s UW campus. 15th Ave. NE + NE 41st Street. 206-543-2280 or go to henryart.org.
On “Your Best American Girl”, singer/songwriter Mitski sings “I’m Japanese and I’m also white American, and neither camp wants me in their camp.” Working out critical ideas as she moves from adolescence to adulthood, such honesty has won her many fans – first with “Bury Me at Makeout Creek” and now with her latest release entitled “Puberty 2.” She plays The Crocodile on Wed., July 13 at 8pm with Japanese Breakfast and Jay Som opening. 2200 2nd Ave. in Belltown. 206-441-4618 or go to http://thecrocodile.com/index.html.
On July 21 at 7pm, the “Music on the Ridge” series presents organists Seon Tingling and Hynja Choi in concert at St. Johns United Church. By donation. Go to stjohnunited.org for details.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the programs Seattle Symphony has to offer under the baton of Music Director Ludovic Morlot later this year going into 2016/2017. Bass vocalist Jonathan Lemalu is part of the choir performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Ludovic Morlot conducting January 5 and 7. Kevin Ahfat is featured pianist during the Symphony’s “Shostakovich Concerto Festival”. He’s perform with Pablo Rus Broseta conducting the following. On Thurs., Januanry 19 – Piano Concerto No. 1, Violin Concerto No. 2 and Cello Concerto No. 1. On Friday, January 20 – Cello Concerto No. 2, Piano Concerto No. 2 and Violin Concerto No. 1. Cellist Yo Yo Ma makes what seems to be one of annual Seattle visits when he performs a program of Bartok, Mozart and Haydn with Seattle Pymphony under the baton of Pablo Rus Broseta on Friday, October 14 at 8pm. On Sunday, March 26 at 4pm, the annual “Celebrate Asia” concert returns featuring movie music by famous Chinese and Indian composers including Grammy and Academy Award winners Tan Dun and A. R. Rahman. Finally on Friday, February 10 at 8pm, catch violinist Leonidas Kavakos & pianist Yuja Wang in a program featuring Medtner’s “Two Canzonas with Dances for Violin and Piano and other works by Schubert, Debussy and Bartok. For details on tickets, go to seattlesymphony.org or call (206) 215-4747.
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. No tea ceremonies will be held in August. Go to vistsam.org/performs for details. Also at Seattle Art Museum on Sept. 8 at 6pm will be an “Opening Reception for Travelers”. Travel from Shanghai to Bakersfield and beyond as visitors get a chance to explore the world with artists as they exhibit work based on their expeditions. Free and open to the public.
Emerald City Music is a new local organization specializing in chamber music. They recently announced their first season featuring over 40 world-class musicians with many performances all over Puget Sound. There will be seven in Seattle, two in Tacoma and five in Olympia. The concerts are curated by Kristen Lee, Artist Director and violinist. Some of the musicians include Ben Hong, Tien-hsin Cindy, David Requiro, The Dover Quartet, Gloria Chien, Hyeyeon Park, Windsync, Yura Lee and Kristen Lee. Concerts will be at Washington Center, 415 Westlake, Lagerquitt Concert Hall, Minnaert Center and St. Michael Westside Church. Go to http://www.emeraldcitymusic.org/blog/2016/5/16/announcing-season-one for details. Opening concert of Brahms kicks off on Sept. 16 at 415 Westlake in Seattle. Go to emeraldcitymusic.org.
Aerialist Rui Ling performs in Teatro ZinZanni’s romantic production of “Hotel L’Amore” staring Lilliane Montevecchi. Through Sept. 25. 222 Mercer St. in Seattle. 206-802-0015 for details.
Summer brings the annual Dragon Fest to Chinatown/ID neighborhood. July 16/17 weekend with taiko, dragon/lion dance, martial arts and other cultural performances plus kids activities, food booths and the food walk with $3 bites at more than 40 restaurants.
Theatre Off Jackson presents some interesting plays this summer. Sara Porkalob fresh off her starring role in Café Nordo’s spoof of James Bond espionage has continued to tinker with her one-person show on family characters entitled “Dragon Lady”. This new version looks at the lives of a Filipina gangster’s family with over 30 roles culled from various generations. July 21 – 30. Seayoung Yim brings back her Korean family stories in the mystery/comedy “Do it for Umma” which originally had its debut earlier. This re-vamped version is directed again by Sara Porkalob who did the original version. Aug. 18 – 27. 409 Seventh Ave. S. 206-340-1049 or go to theatreoffjackson.org.
The Seattle Chamber Music Society 2016 Summer Music Festival takes place July 5 – 20 at Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya downtown. Some leading soloists scheduled to perform in recital and concert include Violinist Andrew Wan, violist Richard O’Neill, cellist Bion Tsang, pianist Jee Won Park and pianist George Li. 206-283-8710 or go to [email protected].
California-based singer/songwriter Vienna Teng has a strong local following and she hasn’t played here for two years. She does two solo shows at 6:30pm & 9pm at Columbia City Theater on July 11. Tickets are $22. 4916 Rainier Ave. S. 206-722-3009 or go to www.columbiacitytheater.com for details.
ARC Dance Summer Dance at the Center presents a program of modern dance July 21 – 23 at Leo K. Theater in Seattle. The program includes the world premiere of a new work by Daniel Ojeda and other works by Edwaard Liang, Kirk Midtskog, Alex Ketley, Elizabeth Cooper and ARC Director Marie Chong. Seating is reserved and tickets can be purchased online at www.arcdance.org Group discounts available. 206-948-6506.
Friends of Asian Art present ceramic artist Thomas Batty in a talk/presentation on “Ikebana – A Contemporary Approach” on August 21 at 1pm. Members $15 and non-members, $20. Batty studied in the Ohara School, one of the more progressive schools of Japanese flower arrangement. Nagmi Teahouse at 519 Sixth Ave. S. in the Chinatown/ID neighborhood. Register at www.friendsofasianart.org/eventflyer2.html.
The weekend of August 27 – 28 brings the ancient and modern histories of Tibet alive at Tibet Fest with performances, dances, visual arts, sand mandala creation, activities and a marketplace of foods and herbal medicines. Sept. 11 is the annual “Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival”. Hula and mele performances, music, ono food and lei making workshops. All at Seattle Center. Free
Coming to Jazz Alley are two pianists of contrasting styles. The pop/jazz of singer/songwriter/pianist L.A.-based Keiko Matsui is on stage Sept. 1 – 4. Jazz prodigy Joey Alexander hails from Bali but is presently based in New York. He’s a storehouse of the jazz tradition and though only 12, plays with the warmth of a musician years older. See him with his trio Sept. 13. Shows start at 7:30pm. 2033 6th Ave. 206-441-9729 or go to jazzalley.com.
Book-It Repertory Theatre kicks off their 2016-17 season with an adaptation of Ruth Ozeki’s best-selling novel “A Tale For The Time Being” set fro Sept. 14 – Oct. 9. The story centers around a woman on an island off the coast of British Columbia who finds the diary of a young Japanese young girl washed up on the shore as part of the tsunami debris and how she imagines her story from reading the pages. For tickets, go to book-it.org or call 206-216-0833.
JAMFEST is the annual summer music event sponsored by the Wing. Tickets include access to all Museum galleries after hours. On Thurs., July 7 from 11am -12pm, the legendary San Francisco Chinatown senior women of Grant Avenue Follies show up with the all female teenage rock band Bleachbear and more. Thurs., August 18 from 4 – 9pm will find you shakin’ that thing with the kung-faux fighting troupe NANDA and more. $8 general, $6 for seniors/students and just $5 for all members. Enjoy the Happy Hour Food Walk along with a stocked bar in the Museum with tunes spun by Dj Kitman. July 21 and August 18 from 4 – 9pm.Go to wingluke.org or call 206-623-5124
Access To Ustads presents: Master of Tabla Anindo Chatterjee Institute of Tabla’s North Indian concert with Hindustani vocalist Srivani Jade and Master Artist Anindo Chatterjee on the table. Both artists perform and talk about their art form. Sat., Sept. 24 at 2pm. For more information, go to wingluke.org.
Chan Centre, the performing arts theatre space for the University of British Columbia in Vancouver B.C. presents Anda Union, a nine-member band that unites tribal and musical traditions from all over Inner Mongolia. A wide range of traditional instruments and vocal throat singing styles are used. They are part of the new season and will perform on March 26, 2017 at 8pm. Go to http://chancentre.com/subscribe/ for details on their complete season. Single tickets on sale on June 14, 2016 from noon on.
UW instructor/composer/trumpet player Cuong Vu continues his association with noted jazz guitarist Pat Metheny in a new recording on Nonesuch entitled “Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny”. It includes five tunes written by Vu and features a rhythm section of Stomu Takeishi on bass and Ted Poor on drums. For details, go to publicity.nonesuch.com or contact Melissa Cusick at [email protected].
Bleachbear is an all-girl Asian American indi-rock band consisting of two sisters and a cousin. They were named “Seattle’s Best Underage Band” by Seattle Weekly. Their sophomore EP entitled “Cowboy Movie Star” will be released on July 30, 2016. For details, go to www.bleachbear.com.
Ukulele whiz Jake Shimabukuro’s new tour includes a stop at Pantages Theater in Tacoma on Sept. 7, 2016. The musician’s new set up for his electric ukulele will give him “access to new sounds and timbers that I never incorporated before.” Go to http://www.jakeshimabukuro.com/ for details.
Indian tabla whiz and world music percussionist Zakir Hussain makes a welcome return to the area with “Zitar” (amplified sitar) master Niladri Kumar on Oct. 23 as part of Seattle Theatre Group Presents series. Go to stgpresents.org/season or call 206-812-1114 for details.
Coming early in 2017 will be the touring production of the new edition of the musical “The King And I” as re-imagined by former Seattle Intiman Theater director Bartlett Sher. Jan. 24 – Feb. 3. Part of Seattle Theatre Group Presents new season. Got to stgpresents.org/season or call 206-812-1114 for details.
Artists at Play is a new theatre group in L.A. that produces shows by Asian American playwrights featuring mostly Asian American casts. The group is composed of director Peter J. Kuo, actress Julia Cho, and producers Stefanie Wong Lau and Marie-Reine Velez. Their sixth main-stage production this fall and their first world premiere will be “The Two Kids That Blow (Stuff) Up” by Carla Ching. They also plan a spring reading series as a way to introduce Asian American playwrights to the community without the cost of a full production. Their Summer Salon series takes known plays usually cast with white actors and replaces them with all Asian American actors. For more information, go to artistsatplayla.blogspot.com.
Jazz icon Jimmy Borges was a pioneer singer in Hawai’i who was an inspiration and friend to fellow musicians. Journalist Heidi Chang tells his story. Go to http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/jazz-icon-jimmy-borges-inspired-others-brought-hawaii-world-n592371 for details.
Noted young Korean American saxophonist & singer/songwriter Grace Kelly has recently joined Jon Batiste’s big band called Stay Human who serve as house band for CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Her latest album entitled “Trying to Figure It Out” includes standards and some of her originals.
Composer Jack Perla and librettist Rajiv Joseph have collaborated on turning writer Salman Rushdie’s novel, “Shalimar the Clown” into an opera. The story concerns a young Muslim acrobat who falls in love with a Hindu dancer only to be thwarted by an American ambassador who whisks her away to Los Angeles. His quest for revenge turns him into a terrorist. Perla’s music uses western classical music blended with sitar and table drums. Joseph’s earlier play “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” starred Robin Williams and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His father hails from Kerala, India and his mother is from Cleveland where he grew up. He has written plays, essays and screenplays but “Shalimar the Clown” is his first attempt at opera. “Shalimar the Clown” as directed by James Robinson runs June 11 – 25 at St. Louis Opera Theatre. For information, go to opera-stl.org.
Famed Japanese theater director Yukio Ninagawa died in May at age 80 in Tokyo. Ninagawa was known for fusing Japanese theatrical traditions with Western realism to mount productions of classic Greek and Shakespearean plays in Europe and the US. It was his way of making the stories understood to a Japanese audience.
Congratulations to Jen Shyu and Aparna Ramaswamy, both recipients of the prestigious 2016 Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards.
Cellist Yo Yo Ma has received the J. Paul Getty Medal for his contributions to and support of the arts.
Playwright David Henry Hwang has been elected chairman of the board of the American Theatre Wing, the nonprofit that founded the Tony Awards and works to promote theater.
Film & Media
The Frye Art Museum presents the U.S. premiere of “Dragonfly Eyes” (trailer), a work-in-progress which will culminate in the first full-length cinematic feature by the internationally know Chinese artist Xu Bing. The film foregoes camera operators and on-screen actors, and instead employs publicly available video surveillance footage of everyday life. A snippet of this film will be screened from July 9 – Sept. 4. 704 Terry Ave. 206-622-9250.
The Japanese adaptation of a French story in a pioneer animated feature “Belladonna of Sadness” continues a run at the Grand Illusion Cinema with final show times on July 2, 5 & 6. A new restoration of Toshiya Fujita’s “Lady Snowblood” follows the path of vengeance taken by a young woman in late-nineteenth century Japan to avenge the death of her parents by a gang of criminals. It’s an effortless balancing out between stark beauty and violence. The sequel “Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance” finds our heroine sentenced to die for her crimes of revenge unless she carries out a dangerous mission for the government. Both films play July 1 – 7. 1403 NE 50th in the University district. 206-523-3935.
Kudos to Shannon Gee, Randy Eng, Stephen Thomas Cait, and Lawrence Matsuda who won Emmy Awards from the Northwest Chapter of the National academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the Seattle Channel feature, “An American Hero: Shiro Kashino”. The award was given for excellence in the historic/cultural program category. The short piece was about a WWII veteran who grew up in Seattle’s Central District. Gee produced and directed, animation was by Eng with audio engineering and sound design by Cavit, and script by Matsuda. Kudos also to Matt Sasaki who did the powerful illustrations. Because he did not join the NATAS organization, his work was not acknowledged with an Emmy though it was an integral part of the final creative process.
Recently screened at the SIFF annual festival, the new documentary film by Morgan Neville (“Twenty Feet From Stardom”) entitled “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble” returns to SIFF Uptown for a longer run on June 24. Covers this touring band of ethnic music virtuosos led by this celebrated American classical cellist. Also returning from the SIFF Festival are new prints of two classic martial arts films by King Hu. Set for July 22 – 24 are “Dragon Inn” about a brother-sister team sent to thwart an assassination attempt on the emperor’s children and “A Touch of Zen” in which a bumbling swordsman gets help from friends. 511 Queen Anne Ave. N. Go to [email protected] for tickets.
South Korean director Hong Seng-Soo’s “Right Now, Wrong Then” looks at a male-female encounter in two versions, one you might suspect and another through a different perspective. Screens July 14. Northwest Film Forum. 1515 12th Ave. 206-267-5380.
See the Seattle premiere of a documentary film on Eddy Zheng entitled “Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story” which traces his journey as prisoner, immigrant, son and activist. Screens August 4 at 6:15pm at the Wing’s Tateuchi Story Theatre. Director Ben Wang and Zheng will be present for a discussion after the screening. 719 South King St. Go to wingluke.org or call 206-623-5124.
Missed academy-award-winning film “Life of Pi” by Ang Lee about a boy, a boat and a tiger? You’ve got another chance to catch it on the wide screen in the Seattle summer outdoors. August 27 at dusk at Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater.
The movie musical version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” starring Yul Brynner screens on Aug. 31 at the Varsity at 4329 University Way NE in the University District. 206-632-2267.
The Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, an annual event showcasing the best in Lesbian/Gay cinema world-wide has a name change. Now it is called “TWIST-Seattle Queer Film Festival”. It screens Oct. 13 – 23 later this year.
Three films by South Korean directors screened at Cannes this year. Park Chan-Wook’s (“Old Boy”) period drama “The Handmaiden” adapted from British writer Sarah Waters’ crime novel “Fingersmith” was shown. Also screening was Na Hong-Jin’s police drama, “The Wailing” and Yeon Sang-Ho’s zombie-virus thriller, “Train to Busan”.
“The Empty Chair” is a documentary film by filmmaker Greg Chaney that looks at Juneau’s Japanese American community who were unjustly incarcerated during WW II.
To accompany the current exhibit on the color blue in “Mood Indigo: Textiles from Around the World”, the Gardner Center presents three Friday evenings of blues music and films at the Volunteer Park Amphitheater this summer in the evenings. Kicking it off is the Japanese classic “Goyokin” (1969) set in Northern Japan that tells the story of samurai and villagers in heavy show. With the great actor Tatsuya Nakadai. July 15. July 22 brings “Rain the Color of Blue with a Little Red in It, a Tuareg version of Prince’s “Purple Rain” filed in Niger. The series concludes with the Coen brothers version of the American western, “True Grit” on July 29. 206-654-3210.
Moyoung Jin’s new documentary film entitled “My Love, Don’t Cross That River” looks at the day-to-day lives of two “100-year old lovebirds” who have been inseparable companions for the past 70 years. Set to open in theatres on June 17, 2016.
Other new films with dates not yet set for release but probably due by 2016 are the following – Jia Zhangke of all of China’s directors seems to have his pulse on a China evolving so quickly that its own people can barely keep up. “Mountains May Depart” (opening soon at SIFF Uptown) is a dark portrait of a capitalist-era family through the decades as they struggle to survive in China and abroad. Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees” opened at Cannes and was picked up by Roadside/Lionsgate for distribution. The film stars Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe who meet on Mr. Fuji bent on suicide. Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s newest entitled “Journey to the Shore” has a piano teacher going on a second honeymoon with her missing husband who returns as a ghost. Adapted from the novel by Kazumi Yumoto Stars Eri Fukatsu and Tadanobu Asano. Due out next year is the long-awaited new project by Martin Scorsese in which he adapts Shusaku Endo’s historical novel on Christians in Japan in a period when Christianity was not allowed. A priest played by Andrew Garfield travels to Japan to confront rumors that his mentor has abandoned the church. Shot on location in Taiwan. The director remarked that “The subject matter presented by Endo was in my life since I was very, very young.” Kazuhiro Soda’s 21/2 hour documentary entitled “Oyster Factory” was a Locarno Film Festival Official Selection and takes a close look as globalization comes to a small Japanese village whose sole industry is the harvesting of oysters. July Jung’s “A Girl at My Door” played the Cannes Film Festival and has received numerous awards on the festival circuit. Donna Bae plays a police officer removed from her post in Seoul following a sex-related scandal. She is re-assigned to a remote seaside town until the controversy dies down. The quiet town is struggling economically and run by an exploitive owner of the local fishing industry. When the police officer assists his shy stepdaughter who is being bullied at school and abused at home, things began to erupt. “A documentary film with the working titled of “Honokaa Hero: The Story of Katsu Goto” is busy trying to raise funds to complete production. Goto was an early Japanese immigrant who came to Hawai’i in 1885. He worked as a laborer along the Hamakua coast of Hawai’i island and then became a successful businessman and labor leader. He was lynched and killed in Honoka’a in 1889 while helping Japanese sugar plantation workers. Project Lead and Executive Producer is Patsy Iwasaki. “Afternoon” is the title of a new documentary film by noted Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang in which the director engages actor Lee Kang-sheng in a lengthy conversation. Mr. Tsai has appeared in nearly every film the director has made including “Goodbye Dragon Inn” and “What Time Is It There?”. The topics range from family, sexuality and art-making. New to the Honolulu International Film Festival are these recent entries from Asia – “Chongqing Hotpop” looks at how three high school students efforts to open a restaurant in an old bomb shelter turns into more than just a financial fiasco. “Mr. Six”, based on a true story, looks at a crime-filled underworld in Beijing and how a retired gangster returns to bring justice to the streets. Directed by Guan Hu and stars writer-director Feng Xiaogang. “Something Or Something Like It” is a new Japanese comedy. Vietnam’s blockbuster hit “Sweet 20” is an adaptation of the Korean comedy, “Miss Grannie.” “Yayoi Kusama: I Love Me” is a documentary film on the famed Japanese artist and designer who lives in a mental institution and whose manic, obsessive work has made her an icon. The Hong Kong Film Awards gave “Ten Years”, a controversial film depicting a bleak future for that city under Chinese control their “Best Film Prize.” The film cost only $70,000 and many of the staff worked for free. Set in 2025, it shows authorities persecuting locals for speaking Cantonese and not Mandarin. China’s state-controlled newspaper called the film as “thought virus” and it has not been shown in that country and many theatres in Hong Kong have stopped showing it.
Li Ling Ai was an actress/dancer/author/filmmaker from Hawai’i who won an academy award for her documentary film with Rey Scott entitled “Kukan” about Japanese aggression in China during WW II in 1941. Yet people today know very little about her or the making of this film. Now Hawai’i-based filmmaker Robin Lung hopes to change that with the release of her documentary film “Finding Kukan” later this year. Lung is seeking donations to complete production for this film so it can be ready for screening by the end of the year. You can follow her on twitter or facebook or email [email protected]. Checks can also be made to Nested Egg Productions, LLC, 574 Paulete St., Kailua, Hawai’i, 96734.
Noted documentary filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura has started a kickstarter campaign to help complete and distribute his latest project entitled “Mele Murals.” The film is a portrait of the transformative power of modern graffiti art and ancient Hawaiian culture for a new generation of Native Hawaiians. It is seen through the eyes of two street artists who return to their community and use graffiti and mural art as a way to help the youth. The film shows how public art rooted in underground graffiti combines with Native Hawaiian traditions and contemporary life to impact not only the students but rural Hawai’i and most of all, the artists themselves. To see a trailer for the film, go to https://vimeo.com/155597960. To help support the film by a donation, go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2042394643/mele-murals-a-documentary-on-native-hawaiian-ident.
“Margarita With A Straw” by writer/director Shonali Bose and starring Bollywood star Kalki Koechlin as a young Indian woman with cerebral palsy who explores her sexuality and independence after moving to New York was a hit at last year’s SIFF. Now it’s being released on DVD/VOD by Wolfe Video on June 14. To see the trailer, go to https://vimeo.com/161981001.
Opening on June 24 at the Guild 45th is “Dheepan”, a 2015 French crime drama directed by Jacques Audiard with Sam Peckinpah’s “Straw Dogs” as an inspiration. Three Tamil refugees flee the civil war in Sri Lanka in hopes of reconstructing their lives in Europe posing as a family unit. Upon arrival, the man lands a job as a caretaker of a housing project in a rough Paris suburb overrun by drug dealers. The conflict he fled from comes to him again in this new land. The film won the Palme d’OR at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. 2115 N. 45th in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. 206-547-2127.
Breaking Glass Pictures is releasing the Indian “Noir” thriller “Sunrise” written and directed by Partho Sen-Gupta in theatres and On Demand June 21, 2016. Starring Adil Hussain (Life of Pi) as a lonely man on a quest for justice through the rain-soaked alleys of Mumbai. For more information on this film, contact [email protected].
The Written Arts
The University Book Store’s “Reading Allowed” events include the following. On July 11 at 7pm, two UW author/professors present talks on recent books dealing with Japan and Okinawa. Andrea Arai will look at the uncertain lives of children and teenagers in post-bubble Japan as described in her book, “The Strange Child: Education and the Psychology of Patriotism in Recessionary Japan (Stanford University Press). Her colleague Davinder Brhowmik reads from her anthology, “Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa” (University of Hawai’i Press). Okinawa has a long history and cultural legacy of its own complicated by colonialism of foreign powers. This book gives voice to contemporary Okinawan writers. “The Devourers” (Random House) is the debut novel by Octavia E. Butler Scholar Indra Das which recounts the story of a monster who rapes a woman to conceive a child in 17th-century India. It’s a gripping tale of history, imagery, savagery, and wonder. Das reads and signs his book on Mon., July 25 at 7pm. An special off-store event brings author Marjorie Liu and illustrator Sana Takeda to the Naken City Brewery at 8564 Greenwood Ave. N. on behalf of their graphic novel entitled “Monstress” (Image Comics). Set in an alternate, early-20th-century Asia, a richly imagined world of art deco-influenced steampunk, it tells the story of a young girl who has suffered tremendous loss and struggles to survive the trauma of war. On July 27 at 7pm, Justin Jacobs talks about his new book entitled “Xinjiang and the Modern Chinese State” (UW Press). All readings above are at the University Book Store (unless otherwise noted) at 4326 University Way NE. 206-634-3400 or go to [email protected].
The Tengu Club is a local fishing group with over 70 years of history. Now, all that is celebrated in a book by author Mas Tahara entitled “Tengu – Tales Told by Fishermen & Women of the Tengu Club of Seattle”. The club holds an annual fishing event known as the Salmon Derby as well as a matsutake hunt in the mountains in the fall. The book is published by the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington. 206-568-7114.
Elliott Bay Book Company presents a series of readings and events. All are at the bookstore unless noted otherwise. Sandip Roy, longtime Bay Area resident and commentator on NPR’s Morning edition flies in from Kolkata to read from his debut novel, “Don’t Let Him Know” (Bloomsbury) about a modern Indian family on Th., July 7 at 7pm. Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche, a meditation master in the Nyingma lineage of the Buddhist tradition and long-time Bay Area resident will talk about his new book entitled “Our Pristine Mind: A Practical Guide to Unconditional Happiness (Shambala) on Sat., July 16 at 7pm. Sharon H. Chang celebrates her book on “Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World” (Rutledge) with great company including performer Brenda Xu, poet Brandy Lien Worrall-Soriano who edited “Completely Mixed Up: Mixed Heritage Asian North American Writing and Art (Rabbit Fool Press) and Minelle Mahtani, author of “Mixed Race Amnesia: Resisting the Romanticization of Multiraciality” (UBC Press). Wed., July 20 at 7pm with refreshments donated by local Asian American restaurateurs Chera Amlag of Hood Famous Bakeshop and Kamala Saxton & Roz Edison of Marination Station. Two professors from UW with deep interests in Japan and Okinawa share an evening. Andrea Gevurtz Arai talks about “The Strange Child: Education and the Psychology of Patriotism in Recessionary Japan (Stanford). It looks at the increasingly uncertain lives of children and young adults in the shifting ground of post-bubble Japan. Davinder Bhowmik discusses her new lively anthology entitled “Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa” (UH Press). Okinawa has its own distinctive culture and tradition and this collection records that imprint amongst the unsettling times of the U.S. military presence and the far-reaching power of Japanese post-war influence. On Thrusday, July 28 at 7pm. Each year twelve writers/writing teams are selected by a curator (Karen Finneyfrock this year) for Jack Straw Writers Program. Some of the writers appear tonight on Friday, July 29 at 7pm. They include Casandra Lopez, Shin Yu Pai, Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum and Carolyne Wright. Sjohnna McCray, born of a Korean mother and a Black G.I. father comes from Georgia to read from his Walt Whitman Award-winning debut poetry collection “Rapture” (Graywolf) this Sunday, July 31 at 3pm. As Tracy K. Smith, the judge for this year’s award-winner said, Sjohnna McCray’s is an ecstatic and original voice, and he lends it to family, history, race, and desire in ways that are healing and enlarging.” Elliott Bay Book Company is at 1521 Tenth Ave. in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. 206-624-6600.
The Gardner Center presents “Words on Water: Writers in Conversation on Sept. 28 at 6:30pm at Seattle Asian Art Museum’s auditorium. This annual event features writers from India and is presented in partnership with Teamwork Arts and Elliott Bay Book company. Check visitsam.org for updates on the writers who will be speaking.
Congratulations to Seattle poet Koon Woon who has received a grant from the CityArtist Program to complete “Paper-Son Poet” (Gold Fish Press), a memoir in multi-genre format of four generations of a Chinese immigrant family living in Seattle’s Chinatown/ID neighborhood. After publication, Woon will do a series of public readings. On Sun., July 17 he reads at 2pm at Beacon Hill Branch Public Library at 2821 Beacon Hill Ave. S. 206-684-4711. For more information, call 206-257-4637 or email [email protected].
Those book lovers with burning, seemingly unanswerable questions need not consult Dear Abby any longer – now there’s Hugo House’s program “Ask the Oracle” where a panel of writers will light the proverbial path using passages from their respective books at the Sorrento Hotel. July 5 at 7:30pm finds you in the good hands of writers EJ Koh, Rich Smith and Alexis M. Smith. One of Hugo House’s literary deals is back. “WRITE-O-RAMA” is back. On June 25, you can take on a marathon five classes in five hours for just $45. That rounds out to $9 a class. Plus membership is ½ off to all attendees. So if you sign up during the event, for a $30 membership you got a yearly access to all the benefits of being a Hugo House member. Student and low-income tickets are available for “WRITE-O-RAMA” for $25 as well. 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. Hugo House is gearing up for summer with a myriad of new classes to help you get your writing engine started up again. Samples include the following – Seattle University Professor/novelist Sonora Jha offers an 8 week course entitled “Writing Fiction that Dares” starting July 7. Local writer Anne Liu Kellor offers an 8 week course entitled “Memoir as Collage” starting July 14. 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 May-August 2016 double issue of World Literature Today’s cover story feature is “4 Asian Voices” devoted to coverage of writers Han Kang, Bernice Chauly, Wang Ping and Ming Di. Poems by Amit Majmudar are also included. Go to worldliteraturetoday.org/blog for more.
St. Paul first-generation Filipino American poet Chris Santiago has won the fifth annual Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry from Milkweed Editions. Competition judge A. Van Jordan called the manuscript entitled “Tula”, “a hypnotic blend of languages and land.” Santiago who teaches at the University of St. Thomas said that he is fascinated by the mystique of language. “Tula” will be published in December. Go to http://milkweed.org/blog/awards/chris-santiago-wins-2016-lindquist-vennum-prize-for-poetry/.
“Your Body of Water” is the title of the new poetry on the buses competition. Deadline is Sept. 30, 2016 by 11:59pm. In 50 words or less, local poets can send in their poems inspired by the theme of water. Go to poetryonbuses.org for details.
One finds it hard to keep up with the steady stream of new titles coming out even in the limited categories of works by or about Asian Americans and new titles on Asia but here’s a recent sampling. Please contact me if anyone is interested in reviewing any of the below titles for the International Examiner. Thanks! –
“Mission Mumbai – A Novel of Sacred Cows, Snakes, and Stolen Toilets” (Scholastic) by Mahtab Narsimhan is a young adult story of a street-wise New York kid who joins his best friend Rohit Lal on a family vacation to one of the largest cities in India. Both get more than they bargain for and more adventures than they ever expected to test the bonds of their friendship.
“between MEMORY and MUSEUM – a dialogue with folk and tribal artists” (Tara) edited by Arun and Gita Wolf looks at the indigenous communities where a wide range of rich and vibrant traditional art forms are still practiced. The book forms a dialogue between folk and tribal artists and the museum.
“Screen Ecologies – Art, Media, And The Environment In The Asia-Pacific Region” (MIT) is a new anthology of essays edited by Larissa Hjorth, Sarah Pink, Kristen Sharp, and Linda Williams.
“The Star-Touched Queen” (St. Martin’s) is a new young adult fantasy novel by Roshani Chokshi that delves deeply into Indian mythology.
“A Fantasy Chinaman- Fantasy And Failure Across The Pacific” (Harvard) by Hua Hsu looks at Chinese American immigrant writer H. T. Tsiang and the handful of writers and thinkers who helped shape the construction of China in the American imagination in the 1920s and 30s.
Mike Masilamani’s “Th3 8oy Who 5p3ak5 1n Num83r5” (Tara) is a dark tale of life in times of war, violence and refugee camps set in Sri Lanka. A boy who is a witness to these troubled times seeks solace in the company of a constantly chattering and prophetic cow. This surreal, satiric tale captures the daily horror of prolonged civil strife.
“Before We Visit The Goddess” (Simon & Schuster) is the latest novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni that tells the story of three generations of mothers and daughters both in India and America as they struggle to find home.
“Points Of Origin” (Comma Press) by Diao Dou as translated by Brendan O’Kane is a series of short stories that make palpable the Kafka-esque absurdity that accompanies modern Chinese life.
“Half a Lifelong Romance” (Anchor) brings back into print a classic novel by a sometimes forgotten author. Eileen Chang is considered a giant of modern Chinese literature and her novel of the complex relationships between men and women through love and betrayal carries a convincing power. Translated by Karen S. Kingsbury.
“JewAsian – Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews” (Nebraska) by local Washington authors Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt. The authors look at the intersection of race, religion and ethnicity in cases where Jews and Asian Americans marry.
“The Taxidermist’s Cut” (Four Way Books) by Rajiv Mohabir was the winner of the Four Way Books Intro Prize In Poetry. This poet delves into what its like to be human and how different it is from being animal in incisive poems that cut close to the bone.
Vancouver, WA-based author Curtis C. Chen is getting good reviews for his new sci-fi thriller entitled “Waypoint Kangaroo” (Thomas Dunne). What can a spy do when he discovers a plot that could unravel the entire solar system?
“The Book Of Tokyo – A City in Short Fiction” (Comma) edited by Michael Emmerich, Jim Hanks & Masashi Matsuie. It’s often said that you remember your travel experiences not from just seeing places but meeting people. This slim anthology of short stories allows you to do just that. With stories by Mitsuyo Kakuta, Kaori Ekuni, Nao-Cola Yamazaki, Banana Yoshimoto and many others.
“Japanese Prostitutes in the North American West, 1887-1920” (UW Press) by Kazuhiro Oharazeki sheds light on a little known chapter of Japanese American history.
“The Halo” (Four Way Books) by C. Dale Young is a new book of poetry that is a quasi-autobiography about a man with wings who desperately wants to be simply human.
“Yayoi Kusama -Inventing The Singular” (MIT Press) by Midori Yamamura grounds this internationally known Japanese artist within the fabric of pre and post WW II history from which she emerged to engage the world with her artistic visions from Pop Art to Minimalism.
“Alien Capital – Asian Racialization And The Logic Of Settler Colonial Capitalism” (Duke University) by Iyko Day explores what the dynamic of the Asian workforce brought to the American economy at the turn of the century.
The Global Music Series from Oxford University Press has interesting volumes which all come with music CD inserts. Recent titles include Gavin Douglas’s “Music in Mainland Southeast Asia” and “Music in Pacific Island Cultures” by Brian Diettrich, Jane Freeman Moulin and Michael Webb.
William Wei’s “Asians in Colorado – A History of Persecution And Perseverance in the Centennial State” (UW Press) by William Wei gives breath and depth to the history and contributions of that immigrant population to that state.
Noriko Manabe’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Protest Music After Fukushima” (Oxford University Press) is a vital new contribution to the way music plays such a vital part in protest and social movements.
Terayama Shuji’s surrealistic theatre works rose out of the ashes of WWII to bring forth a ribald humor and energy and that may be what he’s best known for in the West. But Terayama was also a writer of fiction. In “The Crimsom Thread of Abandon” (MerwinAsia), translator Elizabeth L. Armstrong has done us all a favor by collecting his stories that read like thought-provoking fairy tales for adults.
“The Face” (Restless Books) is a new series of personal non-fiction in which well known authors are asked to write essays about their face and its place in race, culture and identity. March 2016 has essays by Ruth Ozeki, Chris Abani and Tash Aw. Other volumes will follow.
“Diamond Head” (Harper Perrenial) is a new paperback edition of the debut novel by Cecily Wong that tells the story of a Chinese family’s immigration to Hawai’i and how a tragic sense of fate and history haunt them wherever they go.
Two Sylvias Press, a small local publisher in Kingston, WA has over the years been bringing out some fine poetry titles. Some recent titles of note by Asian American writers include the following. “The Cardiologist’s Daughter” by Natasha Kochicheril Moni explores her dual Indian/Dutch heritage with tender poems that explore the mysteries of the human condition in and out of the operating room. “Blood Poems” is the debut collection by West Seattle poet Michael Schmeltzer that embraces our shared humanity, imperfect as it is with poems of redemption and compassion. And “Naming The No-Name Woman” is an homage to silver screen icon Anna May Wong and the trials and tribulations of Asian American women in a society that would rather stereotype rather than confront the real. Written by third-generation Chinese American poet Jasmine An who won the 2015 Two Sylvia’s Press Chapbook Prize. Go to www.twosylviaspress.com for details.
“Tropical Renditions – Making Musical Scenes in Filipino America” (Duke) by Christine Bacareza Balance continues the tradition of Filipino American scholars looking deep into their own contemporary musical traditions and culture.
“Radicalism in the Wilderness – International Contemporary and 1960s Art in Japan” (MIT) by Reiko Tomii explores the burst of energy in Japanese modern art in the 60’s and how it related to the world.
“Global Asian American Popular Cultures” (UH Press) edited by Shilpa Dave, Leilani Nishime and Tasha Oren expands the field of Asian American cultural studies with some insightful essays addressing a variety of topics.
“The Fortunes” (HMH) by Peter Ho Davies due this fall is a new sly and witty collection of short stories exploring the lives of Chinese Americans throughout our tumultuous history here on Gold Mountain and beyond.
“Islands of Protest – Japanese Literature From Okinawa” (UH Press) is a crucial and much needed collection edited by Davinder L. Bhowmik and Steve Rabson that offers literary riches from that island nation in various forms such as poetry, fiction and drama showing what a vital and distinct culture it really is.
Sean Michael Wilson continues his exploration of Japanese classics by re-telling stories in the graphic novel form. “Cold Mountain –The Legend of Han Shan and Shih Te” (Shambhala) with illustrations by Akiko Shimojima tells the tales of famous Chinese zen monks whose spiritual poems have resonated through the years. In “Lafcadio Hearn’s The Faceless Ghost And Other Macabre Tales from Japan” (Shambhala), Wilson collaborates with graphic artist Michiru Morikawa to re-tell these chilling ghost tales discovered by Hearn.
“Ancestral Places – Understanding Kanak Geographies” (OSU Press) by Katrina-Ann R. Kapa’anaokalaokeola Nakoa Oliveira explores the deep connections native Hawaiians have with their environment.
NYRB Books continues to re-print and find classics that have gone out of print. Two recent Chinese masters of modern fiction have re-surfaced thanks to their efforts. The late Taiwanese writer Qiu Miaojin’s last book “Last Words From Montmarte” as translated by Ari Larissa Heinrich explores her impassioned letters to the world that are part-love letter, part-fiction, part-memoir and part-suicide note. “Naked Earth” brings back to print the much loved Hong Kong writer Eileen Chang. Perry Link’s translation tells the story of two young people during the early years of Mao’s China and uncovers the dark corners of human experience where idealism is replaced by repression.
“Ruined City” (Oklahoma) by Jia Pingwa as translated by Howard Goldblatt looks at the rapid transformation of today’s China through the eyes of a Chinese writer who goes through a myriad of sexual and legal difficulties. Originally banned in China for its sexual content, it is now considered a classic.
“Postcards from Stanland – Journey in Central Asia” (Ohio University Press) by David H. Mould explores the complex issues at hand in this forgotten intersection of cultures in the world.
“A Good Time For The Truth – Race in Minnesota” (Minnesota Historical Society Press) is a fascinating anthology of first-hand essays edited by Sun Yung Shin that goes way beyond the Vikings and Lake Wobegon to get at the real ethnic strands of that state’s diversity and how, in some ways, it has failed many of its citizens.
Janice Y. K. Lee, bestselling author of “The Piano Teacher” is back with “The Expatriates” (Viking) that tells the story of three American women living in an expatriate community in Hong Kong struggling with demons of the past, trying to move on.
A Chinese teenager lures his best friend into a trap, kills her and moves on in A Yi’s “A Perfect Crime” (Point Blank), winner of the English Pen Award.
Bamboo Ridge Press continues in its mission to publish the freshest and best writing by writers in Hawai’i. Their latest issue (#106) of the magazine features Editors’ Choice Awards with new work by Rajiv Mohabir, K.L. Quilantang, Jr. and Joseph Han. Also an Artist Portfolio by Joy Enomoto and the usual evocative variety of Island talent. Guest edited by Gail N. Harada and Lisa Linn Kanae. Also two new titles. Brenda Kwon’s “The Sum of Breathing” mixes genres as the author ventures to find an identity she can call her own moving from Hawai’i to Korea and L.A. and dealing with issues of memory, loss, feminism, racism and place. D. Carreira Ching’s “Between Sky and Sea – A Family’s Struggle” is a powerful debut novel about three Hawaiian brothers and how love, loss, addiction, violence set against the backdrop of a colonial past keep their lives churning through waves of doubt while still trying to find a way back home.
“Red Juice: Poems 1998-2008” (Wave ) collects a decade of poems culled from handmade chapbooks, journals and out-of-print books by Hoa Nguyen, co- editor of the important literary magazine, Skanky Possum with Dale Smith. Her use of language remains funny and refreshingly honest.
Local author Sharon H. Chang is the author of “Raising Mixed Race – Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World” (Routledge). It is one of the first books to look at the difficulties of raising mixed-race Asian children in a system that neither embraces or welcomes their participation.
“Everything Begins Elsewhere” (Copper Canyon) is the new poetry title by Tishani Doshi, poems real and written with a beautiful simplicity that resonates across borders of migration and cross-cultural context.
The dark consequence of China’s “one child” policy is deeply explored in two new titles. “One Child – The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment”(HMH) by Mei Fong and “China’s Hidden Children – Abandonment, Adoption, and the Human Costs of the One-Child Policy” (University of Chicago Press) by Kay Ann Johnson.
“The Future of Silence – Fiction by Korean Women” (Zephyr) is the latest translation by Seattle couple Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton that spans generations of writers from the 1970’s to the present as they grapple with day to day complex issues in Korean life and literature. Includes important writers such as O Chong-hui, the late Pak Wan-so and younger ones like Kim Sagwa, Han Yujkoo and Ch’on Un-yong. Again, another crucial contribution to the life of women in today’s Korea.
“Apricot’s Revenge” (Minotaur) is a new crime novel by Song Ying translated from the Chinese by the prolific Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-Chun Lin. Not just an ordinary mystery but a in-depth look at human relationships and the complexities of social issues in today’s China.
“Here Come the Dogs” (The New Press) is a new novel by Malaysian Australian performance poet, &hip hop artist Omar Musa that looks at the world of suburban, multicultural youth in Australia dealing with issues of powerlessness, ethnicity and masculinity.
“What Lies Between Us” (St. Martin’s) by Nayomi Munaweera looks at the struggles a daughter and mother must go through leaving war-town Sri Lanka for the promise of America. The author’s first novel won the Commonwealth Book Prize in 2013.
“Hard Love Province” (Norton) is the new and powerful book of love poems by Marilyn Chin that can’t stay still, fueled by a passion that crosses borders, cultures and snatching bits of victory from the hands of defeat.
In Alexander Chee’s “The Queen of the Night” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a sprawling epic of a novel looks at the career of a true diva – an opera singer that through continual self-reinvention ascends to the role of a lifetime.
Local poet/translator gives us another powerful slice of the powerful Korean poet Kim Hyesoon with “Poor Love Machine” (Action Books) where myth, politics and the everyday engage in a stimulating conversation.
“A Girl on the Shore” (Vertical) is a book of yearning and teenage romance by Inio Asano. Asano is the author of “Solanin” and “Nijigahara Holography” and has been nominated for the Eisner Award.
“Standing Water” (FS&G) is the powerful debut of poet Eleanor Chai who looks at Little Hanako, the bust of a head by Rodin and weaves a tale of loss and longing and the separation of mother and child across time.
Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri sets the bar even higher by writing “In Other Words” (Knopf) in Italian. She bumps up the limitations of a newly acquired language and takes us along in her search for those words that can express what she has to say. Translated into English by Ann Goldstein.
“Wild Grass on the Riverbank” (Action Books) by Japanese poet Hiromi Ito as translated by Jeffrey Angles in which she explores the fecund yet hazy border between the living and the dead in a wasteland of our own making.
Hmong American poet Mai Der Vang won the Walt Whitman Award for outstanding debut book by the Academy of American Poets. Her book entitled “Afterland” will be published by Graywolf Press in 2017.
Congratulations too go out to Sjohnna McCray whose title “Rapture” was the winner of The Walt Whitman Award Of The Academy Of American Poets for 2015 as selected by Tracy K. Smith. In this award-winning debut, Mc Cray movingly recounts a life born out of wartime to a Korean mother and an American father serving during the Vietnam War. Go to www.graywolfpress.org for more details.
Ocean Vuong’s “Night Sky With Exit Wounds” makes her poetic debut with a new book from Copper Canyon Press. She appears in a recent video by the press enlisting donations to continue their goal of publishing new books of poetry.
Congratulations to UW instructor Third Andresen who received a 4 Culture Award to fund the project, “Hip Hop Archiving in the 206 And Beyond”. It’s a collaborative project between Andresen and the UW Washington Libraries to research the past and present scale of Hip Hop in King County.
Asia Pacific Cultural Center presents “Tea Experience:Thailand” on July 7 & 8 at 10am with a$10 fee. Go to asiapacificculturalcenter.org/teaexperience for details. There is also a “Taste of Asia, Cooking Lesson: Tahiland on July 7 & 8 at 12pm with a $25 fee. Go to asiapacificculturalcenter.org/tasteof asia for details. 4851 South Tacoma Way in Tacoma.
Japanese taiko drummer Yuichi Kimura presents a taiko lecture/performance/workshop on Tues., July 12 from 10am – 12pm. St. Martin’s University’s Kreieisheimer Hall at 5000 Abbey Way SE in Lacy. Free. To register, email Yuko Saika at [email protected].
The 41st Annual Pig Roast takes place on July 15 at 6pm and July 16 at 1pm. Potluck party – bring a dish to share. Go to dannywoogarden.org for details.
Northwest Asian Weekly’s Trashion Fashion, Fashion Design Contest takes place July 16 (submission deadline is July 8). 412 Maynard Ave. S. or go to bit.ly/1Szy4e2 for details.
Celebrate Southeast Asian Culture festival takes place July 16 at Saltwater State Park at 25205 8th Place S. in Des Moines. 11am – 4:30pm. Free. Go to discoverpass.wa.gov for details.
OGC instructor Dick Benbow gives a guided tour of his personal bonsai collection on July 16 at 10am. $15. Oriental Garden Center at 30650 Pacific Highway S. in Federal Way. 253-839-1639.
The Wing offers Game Day BBQ’s from July – September. July 22, 29/, August 19/26 and Sept. 23/30. Go to wingluke.org/tours for details. And for kids, register for Youth CAN’s free summer intensive on art and business skills. Due July 4. Register your kids online for two more workshops. By July 24. August 8 – 12’s “Threads of Discovery” and August 15-19’s “Curtain Call”. Go to wingluke.org/summercamp for details. The series “Summer Reading with The Wing” lets kids into the museum if they read all 10 required books. Go to wingluke.org/summerreading for details for this.
The annual rummage sale, “All Things Japanese Sales” hosted by Hoseki Bako will be held on August 20 and 21 from 10am – 4pm. At Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington at 1414 S. Weller St. 206-568-7114 or email [email protected].
A call for entries for The Annual Betty Bowen Award to visual artists working in WA, Oregon and Idaho. The award was established to honor Betty Bowen, an enthusiastic supporter of NW contemporary art. Winner receives an unrestricted prize of $15,000 and a show at SAM. There is a $10 application fee. Application available at callforentry.org. For more information about the application, go online to visitsam.org/betty-bowen or 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. Go to FriendsOfAsianArt@earthlink or call (206) 522-5438.
Nominations for the 2016 edition of the Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards are now open. The awards recognize significant contributions to arts and cultural development in Washington State and are among the most prestigious awards conferred by the governor. Deadline is July 7, 2016 for this year’s nominations. Go to the ArtsWA website or contact Glenda Carino at 360-586-8093. Presented by the Washington State Arts Commission. Announcement of award recipients is expected to be made in September with an awards dinner scheduled for mid-November in Seattle at Teatro ZinZanni.
Washington 129 is a projected anthology of poems to be written by Washingtonians. Deadline is Jan. 31, 2017. Go to http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/03/28/23877586/submissions-are-now-open-for-washington-129-an-anthology-of-poetry-from-citizens-of-washington-state for details.
The Conductive Garbail Award is an annual award of $3,000 given out to artists of all disciplines who have a connection to the Pioneer Square neighborhood. Deadline is August, 2016. Go to http://www.4culture.org/appl// for details.
Willapa Bay AIR offers month-long, self-directed residencies to emerging and established artists, writers, scholars, singer/songwriters and musical composers. The Residency provides lodging, meals and work space, at no cost, to six residents each month from March 1 through September 30 of the year. There is a $30 application fee and the SlideRoom online application system is used. Applicants must be over the age of 21 and not currently enrolled as a student in an academic program. Deadline is July 31, 2016. Go to www.willapabayair.org for details.
The Storyteller Award in fiction of $10,000 is given out to a Washington State artist who is engaged in storytelling through their work. The award recognizes excellence in storytelling through their primary artistic discipline. The discipline for 2016 is fiction. Deadline is Sept. 12, 2016. Go to www.callforentry.org.
Hawai’i-based journalist Heidi Chang won two 2015 Excellence in Journalism Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists Hawai’i Chapter for stories aired originally on NPR. Congratulations, Heidi!