In some ways, the artist bears witness and chronicles the landscape before it changes. “New Works” by Keven Furiya is a series of cityscapes both from Seattle and his hometown in Indiana. The artist notes that many of the paintings of Seattle are of places that no longer exist even though they were done within the last couple of years due to urban growth and gentrification. On view through June 4, 2017. Dendroica Gallery. 1718 E. Olive Way, Suite A in Seattle. Th./Fri. from noon to 6:00 p.m. and weekends from noon to 5:00 p.m. 206-324-2502 or try [email protected]
When artist Julie Chen went with her friend to Mills College, she didn’t know what she was walking into what would be a major career shift. Her curiosity was piqued when she looked in the college catalogue and noticed a program entitled “Book Arts.” She took note of it and made an appointment to see the department chair. The rest is history. She applied for the program and was accepted and is now considered one of the best practitioners of her art. “Every Moment of a Book: Three Decades of Work by Julie Chen” is a survey of her work that reveals her ability to play with relationships of image, text and the structure of what we think of as a book. On view through June 30, 2017 in the Allen Library’s Special Collections on the UW campus in Seattle. Curated by Sandra Kroupa, Book Arts and Rare Book curator for the University of Washington. 206-543-1929 or go to http://calendar.washington.edu/122339804/EXHIBITEveryMomentofaBook-ThreeDecadesofWorkbyJulieChen.
“Community by Design: Main Streets in a Changing America” is a new gallery exhibition presented by the Seattle Architecture Foundation at the Center for Architecture & Design. On view through June 10. Seattle’s Chinatown/ID is one of the community case studies featured in the show. It was chosen because it’s one of the few neighborhoods across the country to persist and maintain its character, despite constant threats from everything such as highway construction to major public & private development projects. Much of that success is due to strong community engagement. 1010 Western Ave. Open 10 – 6pm daily. 206-667-9184.
Kriangkrai Kongkhanun’s mixed media series “The Anatomy of Desire” is on view at Davidson Galleries. Kriangkrai is a contemporary artist from Thailand influenced by Theravada Buddhism where spiritual practice aims at breaking away from samsara or the endless cycle of life and death. His work recalls the diffuse compositions of cosmological maps. His creatures symbolize our extreme states of emotion and stand counter to our capacity for compassion and respect. The artist went to art school in Thailand but traveled throughout Europe. In his work he tries to forge a link between Buddhist symbolism and the Western imagery of the 19th century Renaissance. His fantasy painting evokes spirits rising from our own subconscious. Since 2003 his works have been show at numerous exhibitions in Europe, South America, Japan, China and the U.S. This show marks his 5th solo exhibition. Also on view is a group show entitled “Abstract Impressions” that includes work by modern and contemporary artists like Sam Francis, Robert Motherwell, Wes Wehr, Mark Tobey, Charles Arnoldi, Eunice Kim and Jean-Luc Le Balp. All shows through May 27, 2017. Forthcoming shows include “Contemporary Japanese Prints” in June and “Recent Woodcuts” by Korean printmaker Lee Chul Soo in July. 313 Occidental Ave. S. Open Tues. – Sun. from 10am – 5:30pm. 206-624-7684 or go to www.davidsongalleries.com.
An upcoming group show entitled “Cuidado! – The Help” at Greg Kucera Gallery June 1 – July 15, 2017 features work by Roger Shimomura and Lynne Yamamoto, among many others. 212 Third Ave. S. 206-624-0770 or go to www.gregkucera.com.
Seattle artist Jill Beppu has a show of drawings/paintings up until the end of June, 2017 at the UW Tower Building. Located on the main lobby level along the walls leading to the sky walk bridge. 4333 Brooklyn Ave. NE.
Puget Sound Sumi Artists Group Show “Ink Studies on Basho’s Pond” opens May 13 from 12pm – 4pm and remains on view through June 10, 2017. Local graphic designer Aldo Chan’s exemplary, sensitive eye for detail and design has made a lot of things look good throughout the years in Seattle like newspapers such as ours, Seattle Times’ Pacific Magazine and even exhibits at the Wing. But what some of you may not know is that all along he has done beautiful work as a ceramic artist as well. Now his exquisitely designed ceramics can be found for sale at KOBO. All the above activities take place at KOBO at Higo at 604 South Jackson. 206-381-3000 or [email protected]. There is another branch of KOBO on Capitol Hill at 814 E. Roy St. 206-726-0704.
The work of photographer Frank Asakichi Kunishige and painter Yasushi Tanaka is included in the group show entitled “Botanical Exuberance: Trees & Flowers in Northwest Art” at Cascadia Art Museum. On view through June 25, 2017. 190 Sunset Ave. in Edmonds, WA. 425-336-4809.
“Filled With Grace – Japanese Americans in the South Sound” is a new exhibit that covers the history of early Japanese Americans in the South Sound prior to World War II. Presented in partnership with Asia Pacific Cultural Center. The exhibit runs through May 21, 2017 at Washington State Historical Society at 1911 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma. 1-888-238-4373.
“Singularity Now” is a group show featuring the futuristic visions of super-intelligence that reveals itself to be omnipresent love as seen through the eyes of Jonathan Wakuda Fischer, Jazz Brown and Gabriel Marquez. New work that explores our relationship to nature and the ultimate truth that “All is one and one is all. First Thursday opening on June 1 from 5 – 8pm. Show is on view until the end of June. Closed Mondays. All events are free and open to the public. Artxchange Gallery at 512 First Ave. S. in Pioneer Square. 206-839-0377 or [email protected]
In December of last year, a painting depicting Gordon Hirabayashi’s legacy by Roger Shimomura was installed at Hirabayashi Place. The piece faces the front lobby window and will greet visitors as they enter explaining his life and legacy. 442 South Main St. in downtown Seattle.
The Henry Art Gallery located on the campus of the University of Washington joins MOTHRA and Chris E. Vargas in presenting the group show “TRANS HISTORY in 99 Objects” through June 4, 2017. This show gathers archival materials and works by contemporary artists that narrate an expansive and critical history of transgender communities. The work of Ding Jin and Scott Tsukamaki is included in the UW 2017 MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition which runs from June 3 – 25, 2017.Opening reception on Friday, June 2 at 7pm. On the Seattle UW campus. 206-543-2280 or go to henryart.org for details.
The PCNW 21st Juried Exhibition of photography as juried by Sandra Phillips former curator at SFMOMA is an annual group show of local photographers. On view through June 11. Photographic Center Northwest at 900 – 12th Ave. 206-720-7222 or go to pcnw.org.
“Lingering Presence” is a new series of portrait paintings by Kathy Liao on view May 4 – July 1. Liao’s portraits go deep into the soul with vibrant color and disturbing truths about the human condition. This series catches anonymous poses of people in transit, starring at cellphones or facebook pages and catches her grandmother behind the curtain of her memory loss. Opening reception on May 4 from 6 – 8pm. Prographica Gallery at 313 Occidental Ave. S. 206-999-0849 or go to prographicadrawings.com.
From May 4 – 27, Lisa Kinoshita and Susan Surface (S. Surface) explore ideas related to their Japanese American identities, inheritance, freedom and the American West. SOIL Art Collective at 112 Third Ave. S. 206-264-8061 or go to soilart.org.
Seattle artist Paul Komada is a multi-media artist whose latest work features paintings layered with chroma-key technology and audio pieces which “preemptively memorialize” the Alaskan Way Viaduct before it meets the wrecking ball. A profile of him is in the April 2017, 2017 issue of CityArts. He also has work in April at the Napolean Gallery in Philadelphia. His local show entitled “Monument in Memory: Abstract Alaskan Way” is up from June 1 – 29 at Gallery 4Culture at 101 Prefontaine Pl. S. 206-296-7580 or go to 4culture.org. Open M – F.
Seattle artist Junko Yamamoto’s delicious color-popping abstract paintings are in a solo show of new work at Taste at SAM next to the Seattle Art Museum downtown through August 6 , 2017. 1300 First Ave. 206-903-5291 or go to tasteart.com.
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – “Out in the Open” is the new YouthCAN group exhibition. From street writing to installations, students explored their neighborhoods and looked at ways art is able to influence the places you live. On view through June at the Frank Fujii Youth Gallery. “Teardrops that Wound: The Absurdity of War” is a group show that looks at how art can deflate war’s destructive weight by exposing its absurdity. Contemporary Asian Pacific American artists pull back the curtain and invite visitors to examine war from another angle. Curated by SuJ’n Chon. Opening Thursday, May 11 from 6 – 8pm. “Year of Remembrance: Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner” with poems by Lawrence Matsuda and art by Roger Shimomura is a small but potently meaningful show up until February 11, 2018 . “We Are the Ocean: An Indigenous Response to Climate Change” explores how indigenous communities are responding to the ways climate change is affecting waters and lives. Through Nov. 12, 2017. 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. “Khmer American: Naga Sheds Its Skin”. War has had a huge impact on Khmer culture and identity. Despite these challenges, the community continues to shape the US and Cambodia. “Tales of Tails: Animals in Children’s Books” is a recent show to open at the museum. “Do You Know Bruce?” is a major new show on the personal, intimate story of martial arts artist and film star Bruce Lee and the significance of Seattle in his life. The Wing is the only museum in the world, outside of Hong Kong, to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee’s life. The Lee family has plans to eventually open a permanent museum on Bruce Lee’s life and legacy in the Chinatown-ID neighborhood. A new installment of the Bruce Lee exhibit entitled “Day in the Life of Bruce Lee: So You Know Bruce? opened on Sat., Oct. 1, 2016. The new installment explores what it took to become “Bruce Lee”. It delves into his daily work habits, routines and strategies to his written & visual art, reading, and personal time spent with family and friends. Toddler Story Time for Thursday. June 1 features “Morning With Grandpa”. All story time’s start at 11am. May 20th’s “Family Fun Day” on Sat. from 10 am – 5pm brings free admission with face painting, story time and art workshops for the entire family. On Tuesday, May 23 at 2pm, the Wing and the US Citizenship Field Office host a special ceremony where the public is invited to witness the swearing in of new U.S. citizens. Free although seating priority to the families of those being sworn in. A new addition to The Wing’s daily Historic Hotel Tour is “APT 507” which is the story of Au Shee, one Chinese immigrant woman who helped build Seattle’s Chinatown. Her living room is interactive with objects meant to be felt, opened and experienced. Starting in 2017, The Wing offers four seasons of food tours where participants not only get a taste of a variety of food but also hear about the people and the stories behind the food. “The Rice Stuff” tours are on May 26/June 2, 9, 16 & 23.To book a tour, go to wingluke.org/tours quickly as spots fill up fast. In other news, two week-long sessions of day camps for kids aged 6 – 12 will be offered. August 7 – 11 is “Playtime: Games and Toys from Around the World” and August 14 – 19 will be a storytelling session with world-renowed storytelling duo Eth-No-Tec. To sign up, go to wingluke.org/summercamp. If you have questions you can email [email protected] or call 206-623-5124×116. More activities for teens include these – “Second Life” explores sustainability through art by working with trash and making treasured art pieces. For ages 10 – 14. “Finding Voices: Art Portfolios and More” is for teens ages 15 – 19. Learn how to create and polish up your art portfolios. Contact [email protected] for an application by July 2, 2017. 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.
*“Infinity Mirrors” is a show by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama spanning over five decades and one she is most known for. “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 June 30 and remains on view through Sept. 10, 2017. Tickets go on sale to the general public on May 30 at 10am following a SAM member pre-sale on May 15. The exhibit comes from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. Also as part of their “Asia Talks” series, the Museum presents “Preserving The Floating World”, a lecture by Stephen Salal, Curator of Japanese Art at the Honolulu Museum of Art. He will discuss the renowned collection of Japanese wood block prints assembled by novelist James Michener in the museum’s collection. Tues., May 23 at 6pm in the auditorium. Light refreshments served prior to the talk. Seattle Art Museum downtown at 1300 First Ave. 206-654-3100.
Local installation artist Satpreet Kahlon has been selected to exhibit as part of the 2017-2018 Gallery4Culture Season. From Nov. 2 – Dec. 7, 2017, she will show a series of labor-intensive sculptures and video installations the rise in demand for “handmade” objects and how the term actively erases the labor, oppression, and high societal cost of importing mass-produced goods bade by brown hands in developing nations. Deadline for the next round of selections for shows at 4Culture is Mon., Jan. 8, 2018.
The work of June Sekiguchi and Leslie Wu is included in the group show entitled “Revering Nature” now on view at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art through June 4, 2017. The show addresses issues of pollution, endangered species and global warming. 550 Winslow Way E. 206-451-4013 or go to biarymuseum.org
Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park is now closed for what is projected to be a renovation and extension that will take several years.
The exclusive West Coast premiere of “Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor” comes to Pacific Science Center on view through Sept. 4, 2017. This one-of-a-kind exhibition is a joint project between PSC and The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. It is limited to a two-city tour. These warriors tell the story of the First Emperor of China and the literal formation of the China that we know today. Also “Mysteries of China” is a new IMAX documentary film that tells the story of the warriors and how they were accidentally discovered by farmers digging a well in 1974 in Xian. This film opens on March 10, 2017. 200 Second Ave. at Seattle Center. 206-443-2001.
The art collective SOIL has their 22nd Annual Art Auction on Sun., June 4 at 1pm at CANVAS Event Space at 3412 – 4th Ave. S. Go to canvaseventspace.com for details.
Congratulations to local sculptor Humaira Abid who is the cover story for the May 2017 issue of CityArts. She is profiled by Amanda Manitach within its pages. Abid is represented locally by Artxchange Gallery . Go to cityartsonline.com for details. Her one-person show opens at Bellevue Arts Museum on Sept. 22, 2017.
“Familiar Faces & New Voices: Surveying Northwest Art” opens May 13, 2017 and stays on view through the summer of 2017. This group show is a chronological walk through of Northwest art history, illustrated with the works of noted artists from each time period as well as lesser-known but just as important figures. Different works will be displayed throughout the run of this show. Includes the work of Patti Warashina, Joseph Park, Alan Lau and many others. “In Search of the Lost History of Chinese Migrants and the Transcontinental Railroads” is the title of a new exhibition by UW Professor and internationally acclaimed artist Zhi Lin who looks at the thousands of Chinese men who came to California to work on the railroads and mine for gold. He travelled extensively to historic sites and painted at these locations to evoke the contributions of Chinese to the history of the American west. This multi-media work on view from June 27 – Feb. 4, 2018. Writer/Professor Shawn Wong of the UW English department has contributed an essay to the exhibition catalog and will give a talk on Chinese Americans in the early West in August. Artist Zhi Lin will lead an historic walking tour at an historic Chinese American site in September. Stay tuned for details.Tacoma Art Museum at 1701 Pacific Ave. 253-272-4258 or email [email protected].
“SIFT” is a show of new work consisting of found-objects-mixed media by Portland artist Yoonhee Choi on view through May 27 at Blackfish Gallery. 420 NW 9th Ave. in Portland. 420 NW 9th Ave. 503-224-2634.
Photographer Seiya Bowen’s new series entitled “Nadachi” looks at the crisis in rural towns in Japan as the younger generations move to the larger cities. On view through May 28. Blue Sky Gallery, Oregon Center for Photographic Arts. 122 NW 8th Ave. in Portland. 503-225-0210 or go to blueskygalleryorg.
“Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps During World War II” tells the story of Japanese Americans who worked as seasonal farm laborers during WW II. Includes interpretative text panels and a short documentary film. On view through May 25, 2017 at Lane County Historical Museum at 740 W. 13th Ave. in Eugene, Oregon. 541-682-4242 or go to www.lchm.org.
Now on view through July 16, 2017 is “Yellow Terror: The Collections and Paintings of Roger Shimomura” which includes not only his artwork but his collections of memorabilia and objects depicting racial stereotypes of Asians and Asian Americans accumulated during the last 20 years. Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center at 121 NW Second Ave. in Portland. 503-224-1458 or go to www.oregonnikkeir.org.
Portland Japanese Garden collaborates with architect Kengo Kuma on the launch of a major expansion opening April 2, 2017. The Cultural Village expansion provides additional space and will enhance its ability to immerse visitors in traditional Japanese arts and culture. Three new Japanese gardens will be added as part of this. The garden will host three major art exhibitions this year with related lectures, demonstrations and activities. “Hosokawa Morihiro: The Art of Life, A Rebirth in Clay” is a celebration of tea culture and opens in the spring. “KABUKI: A Revolution in Color and Design” looks at Japan’s most flamboyant performance art through elaborate kimonos and opens in summer. “Mirrors of the Mind: The Noh Masks of Otsuki Koukun” is a display of hand-carved masks by a master artisan and elegant brocade costumes from the traditional silk looms of Orinasu-kan in Kyoto. Also in development is the International Institute for Japanese Garden Arts & Culture which will offer classes in traditional garden arts such as tea ceremony and calligraphy. This opens to the public in 2018. For more information, go to japanesegarden.com.
Tokyo-based artist Ken Matsubara is in a group show entitled “Convergence: Digital Media And Technology” through May 27, 2017. The Schneider Museum of Art on the Southern Oregon University campus on the corner of Indiana St. & Siskiyou Blvd. M – F from 10am – 4pm. 1250 Siskiyou Blvd. 541-552-6245 or go to sma.sou.edu.
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria presents “Mirror With Memory”, a photo history of the Japanese Canadian community mirrored through the creative lens of the Hayashi/Kitamura/Matsubuchi Photo Studio which operated in Cumberland BC from 1912 – 1942. The images of people in the community speak to the vital contributions of Japanese Canadians to British Columbia’s social fabric. The exhibit is shown in a year which marks the 75th anniversary of the uprooting and exile of over 22,000 Japanese Canadians from the coast of this province. The exhibit is on view from June 17, 2017 to Sept. 4, 2017. “with wings like clouds hung from the sky” is an exhibit by Karen Tam on view from June 3, 2017 to Sept. 4m 2017. An artist named Lee Nam was a Chinese immigrant to British Columbia at the turn of the 20th century. He is known solely through the journals of noted Canadian painter Emily Carr. Montreal-based artist Karen Tam draws on archival research to speculate on the artistic influence and exchange between Carr and Nam. Tam re-imagines Lee Nam’s painting studio in Victoria’s Chinatown to evoke the presence of this unknown artist. 1040 Moss St. in Victoria, BC Canada. 1-250-384-4171.
On December 7, 1941 Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, launching America into war. In Canada, this action resulted in the confiscation of nearly 1,200 Japanese-Canadian owned fishing boats by Canadian officials on the British Columbia coast, which were eventually sold off to canneries and other non-Japanese fishermen. The exhibition entitled “The Lost Fleet” looks at the world of Japanese Canadian fishermen in BC and how deep-seated racism played a major part in the seizure, and sale, of Japanese Canadian property and the internment of an entire people. Curator Duncan MacLeod states that “the history of Japanese Canadian fishermen is inextricably linked to the history of Vancouver. The city was a gateway in the Pacific for all immigrants looking to forge a brighter future for themselves.” The exhibition will showcase a series of photographs as well as several models of Japanese Canadian built fishing vessels in its collection, made by model shipbuilder, Doug Allen. These models replicate some of the fishing boats seized during the war that have since been lost to history. On view through March 25, 2018. Vancouver Maritime Museum at 1905 Ogden Avenue in Vanier Park in Vancouver, BC Canada. Open Tues. – Sat. from 10am – 5pm and Sundays from noon – 5pm. Also open late on Thursday nights until 8pm. Go to https://www.vancouvermaritimemuseum.com/exhibit/lost-fleet-exhibition for more details.
The UBC Museum of Anthropology presents the following – Opening May 11, 2017 and on view until Oct. 9, 2017 is “Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia”, a survey of writing throughout Asia over a span of different time periods. Curated by Fuyubi Nakamura. 6393 NW Marine Dr. in Vancouver BC. 604-822-5087 or moa.ubc.ca.
“Pacific Crossings: Hong Kong Artists in Vancouver” runs through May 28, 2017. Twenty years ago when the transfer of Hong Kong sovereignty from the United Kingdom to mainland China occurred, tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents immigrated to Canada, many choosing to settle in Vancouver, and among them a significant number of artists. This show looks at those artist who stayed and continue their art making in this city. “Howie Tsui: Retainers of Anarchy” is a solo exhibition on view through May 28, 2017. Tsui considers wuxia as a narrative tool for dissidence and resistance. It is a traditional form of martial arts literature that expanded into 20th century popular film ad television creative out of narratives and characters from lower social classes that uphold chivalric ideals against oppressive forces during unstable times. Tsui’s scroll-like video installation sets the narrative in Kowloon’s walled city, an ungoverned tenement of disenfranchised refugees in Hong Kong demolished in 1994. Vancouver Art Gallery’s new public artwork by Hong Kong artist Tsang Kin-Wah will be shown at two locations through Oct. 15, 2017. These large scale compositions transform English texts to form intricate floral and animal patterns. The words are from discriminatory language that appeared in Vancouver during the 1887 anti-Chinese riots, the mid-1980’s immigration influx from Hong Kong and most recently, the heated exchanges around the foreign buyers and the local housing market. “Onsite/Offsite:Tsang Kin-Wah will be placed in the heart of downtown Vancouver at 1100 W. Georgia St. as well as on the Howe Street façade of the Gallery itself. Vancouver Art Gallery is at 750 Hornby St. in Vancouver, BC Canada. 604-662-4719.
The Denver Art Museum has the following shows. “Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s—90’s” gives you a look at 70 works by avant-garde designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, Kenzo Takada, Junya Watanabe, Kansai Yamamoto and Yohji Yamamoto. On view now through May 28, 2017. 100 W 14th Ave. Parkway in Denver. 720-865-5000.
Craft in America Center in Los Angeles has the following – Upcoming May 20 – July 1, 2017 is “Kazuki Takizawa: Catharsis Contained.” This LA-based artist puts human emotions in the shimmering, fragile form of glass. Of his work, he says “The harmonization of the radically different, such as violence and meditation, spontaneity and meticulousness, and destruction and repair is found in the process, as well as the result of my work.” Craft in America Center is at 1120 South Robertson Blvd. #301 in Los Angels. Go to 310-659-9022 or [email protected].
The San Diego Museum of Art has a new exhibition running through August 13, 2017 that showcases the work of important Japanese artists from the museum collection for the first time. “Modern Japan: Prints from the Taisho Era (1912 – 26) and Beyond” highlights Shinhanga (New Prints) and Sosaku Hanga (Creative Prints). These prints document the Japanese response to the political & cultural transformation during the 1900s-1960s, themes include modernity, scenic tranquility and Japanese romantic fantasy.1450 El Prado in Balboa Park. 619-232-7931.
The Japanese American National Museum has the following shows –Opening March 12, 2017 and remaining on view until August 20, 2017 will be “New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei” which looks at the life and career of Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu. 100 N. Central Ave. 213-625-0414 or go to www.janm.org/
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has the following exhibits – An installation entitled “Pause” by Abdulnasser Gharem until July 2, 2017. “Monsoon: Indian Paintings of the Rainy Season” until July 2, 2017. “Unexpected Light – Works by Young Il Ahn” which marks the first show given to a Korean American artist here on view through July 22, 2017. “Chinese Ceramics from L.A. County” on view until July 22, 2017. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. 323-857-6000 or try [email protected].
The Asia Society Museum in New York presents from through June 4 the show, “Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in China, Southeast Asia and the Islamic Middle East” which features 76 items from the wreck of an Arab merchant ship discovered in Southeast Asian water. It will be on view for the first time in the U.S. The exhibition explores the robust exchange of goods, ideas and culture among ancient China, Southeast Asia and the Islamic Middle East. There will also be special family day activities for the museum’s youngest visitors to give them a chance to explore the show as well. “Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions: South Asian Art in The Diaspora” includes the work of nineteen contemporary artists who come from all over the world where ever South Asians have migrated to. All artists currently reside in the U.S. Opens June 27 and remains on view through August 6, 2017.725 Park Ave. New York City, New York. 212-327-9721 or go to www.asiasociety.org for more details.
“Minidoka And Beyond” is the title of a show of new work by Seattle-raised artist Roger Shimomura. Through June 3, 2017. Flomenhaft gallery at 547 West 27th St, Suite 200 in New York City.
“Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin & Han Dynasties (221 B.C. – A.D. 220)” on view through July 16, 2017. This show examines the unprecedented role of art in creating a new and lasting cultural identity and China’s relationship with the rest of the world. “An Artist of Her Time: Y. G. Srimati and the Indian Style” looks at the work of this early modern Indian artist. On view through June 18, 2017. “Comme des Garcons – Art of the In-Between” looks at the work of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo with approximately 150 examples of her work from the 1980s to her more recent designs. Through Sept. 4, 2017. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1000 Fifth Ave. in New York City. 1-800-662-3397 or go to www.metmuseum.org.
“Descension” is the title of a new Anish Kapoor public installation that is a giant pool of continuously spiraling water. It was unveiled at Pier One on a narrow park along Brooklyn’s East River edge. The pool of water spins in a vortex that looks like it collapses at its center and descends into the ground. Kapoor has called out for artists to engage with issues such as nationalism and the regime of Donald Trump. He has stated that this piece has an “obvious association with American politics. I toyed with the idea of the title ‘Descension in America’ to be more particular and to point harder at the current state of things, but I don’t think I need to.” Kapoor is one of Britan’s most decorated artists and won the prestigious Tiurner Prize in 1991. Earlier this year, he formed a coalition called “Hands Off Our Revolution” which will stage contemporary art exhibitions to confront right wing populism. The installation will be up daily from 9am – 9pm until September 2017.
“Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” is the title of Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei’s latest project which will build over 100 fences around New York City. Inspired by the international migration crisis and political turmoil facing the US government’s policy on immigration. Commissioned by the Public Art Fund.
“Self-Interned, 1942” tells the story of American artist Isamu Noguchi who voluntarily went to Poston War Relocation Center where Japanese Americans were interned during WW II with the idea to improve conditions with art and design. He made small pieces of driftwood sculpture. His efforts came to naught and he petitioned to be released. His time spent here however may have proven to be a catalyst for future work. On view through January 7, 2018. Noguchi Museum in New York. 718-204-7088 or go to nogiuchi.org for details.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the city of Philadelphia plans a year long series of public art installation as activities. The celebration will include an outdoor installation by artist Cai Guo-Qiang Sept. 14 – Oct. 8. The artist plans to light up the Parkway with “Fireflies” which will consist of twenty-seven luminous kinetic sculptures in the form of free pedicabs that will move through the area. Participants can experience the Parkway by riding inside the sculptures as passengers. Qiang has previously done work in the city back in December of 2009 with his “Fallen Blossoms” explosion project at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fabric Workshop.
The Art Institute of Chicago presents the following. “Zhang Peili: Record. Repeat” shows the work of a major Chinese artist tracing his practice from his earliest experiments with video in the late 1980s to new digital formats in the 2000s. On view through July 9, 2017. “Batik Textiles of Java” explores the richly patterned wax-resist textiles known as batiks, their flourishing in the Indonesian island of Java, and their inspirations and functions. On view through Sept. 17, 2017. “The Foundation of the Japanese Print Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago: Frank Lloyd Wright And the Prairie School” is comprised of Japanese prints purchased from Wright plus photos of the 1908 exhibition that Wright designed for the Art Institute and drawings by the Prairie School members. On view through July 23, 2017.111 South Michigan Ave. 312-443-3600.
“Do Ho Suh” is a multi-media installation that presents large-scale architectural structures, documentary films, illuminated sculptures and works on paper by the artist through May 14, 2017 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The centerpiece is a full- scale replica of the artist’s New York City apartment and studio created by translucent colored fabric. Organized by the Contemporary Austin with support from Lehmann Maupin Gallery. 227 State St. in Madison, Wisconsin. 608-257-0158. Suh recently received the Ho-Am Prize worth $266,000 at an awards ceremony in Seoul.
Yayoi Kusama whose work comes to SAM in June now has shows regularly around the world. The National Art Center in Tokyo gives her a large-scale retrospective “MY Eternal Soul” which brings together over 250 works spanning her entire career. Through May 22, 2017. 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Go to [email protected].
A retrospective of photographer Teiko Shiotani entitled “To Things Beloved: Shiotani Teiko 1899 – 1988” is on view at Shimane Art Museum in Matsue, Japan. Over 300 prints and related objects showcase the career of one of the most influential Japanese photographers of the early 20th century but one of the least known. His work focused on the people and landscape of his San’in region which faces the Japan Sea. 1 – 5 Sodeshi-cho in Matsue. Go to http://www.shimane-art-museum.jp for details.
Sao Paulo has perhaps the single largest Japanese diaspora of any city in the world. Japanese first settled here in 1912. Japanese botanic artist Makoto Azuma has created a fleet of 30 flower bicycles that will ride through the streets of the city, giving flowers to people along the way. Part performance art, part installation, the project is sponsored by Japan House Sao Paulo which says, “the project is an interruption in the city’s nervous flow, with a completely entertaining and inspiring message. Suddenly that place that was empty yesterday is filled with flowers today. Soon they disappear, but they remain a memory.” Excerpted from the website Spoon & Tamago – Japanese Art, Design & Culture.
Hiroshi Senju, a Nihonga-style painter has received the 2017 Isamu Noguchi Award which recognizes innovative designers, architects and artists.
From May 4 – 21, The REBATE Ensemble presents their adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Richard the III” transposed to 1930’s Seattle Chinatown/International District where an uneasy mix of cultures intermingled. This production will be a moving, chilling testament to Seattle’s own ghosts of tyranny in national politics. Directed by Elizabeth Woo. Last shows May18, 19 & 20. 7:30 pm. Matinees May 20 &21. 2pm. Go to theatreoffjackson.org for tickets online or also available at the door.
The Indian classical form of Dhrupad is given a showcase by Cornish. On Friday, May 19 performing artists Padmashri Gundecha Brothers will offer a talk introducing this art form with a listening guide from 6 – 7pm followed by “A Dhrupad Vocal Concert” by Sri Yvan Trunzler at 7:20pm. On Sat., May 20 “Parama Swara”, a Dhrupad vocal concert by Padmashri Gundecha Brothers takes place at 7pm. All events at PONCHO Concert Hall on the Cornish campus off Broadway on Capitol Hill. Go to http://www.cornish.edu/news/release/dhrupad_days_returns_to_cornish_kerry_hall/.
Seattle Symphony and Conductor Ludovic Morlot have issued the schedule for their 2017-2018 season. Some highlights include the following – “Celebrate Asia” this time around is conducted by DaYe Lin with sitar player Nishat Khan and Seattle erhu virtuoso Warren Chang. Kazuki Yamada will make a Seattle debut as guest conductor. A two-concert festival of Prokofiev features rising star pianists Nathan Lee, Charlie Albright and Conrad Tao with violinists Sophie Lee & William Hagen. Subscription packages available now and single tickets on sale August 5, 2017. Go to www.seattlesymphony.org for details.
Some annual events at Seattle Center not to miss – “A Glimpse of China-Chinese Culture And Arts Festival on May 20. Go to chinaartandculture.org for details. June 3 & 4 is the Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival which celebrates the arts and culture of the Philippines. All events are free at the Seattle Center Armory.
Carey Wong does the scenic design for the musical comedy “Murder for Two”, a collaboration between 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT. Runs through June 11 at ACT. 700 Union St. 206-292-7676 or go to www.acttheatre.org.
“Spring Festival/Haramatsuri” takes place on May 21 starting at noon at Seattle University’s Campion Hall. Welcome spring in with this Japanese cultural event. 914 E. Jefferson St. on Capitol Hill.
Sonarchy is the midnight program that features live-performance broadcasts from Jack Straw Productions studio as produced by Doug Haire. It aires on 90.3 KEXP Radio. The May 28 program features Paul Kikuchi’s “Bat of No Bird Island”, a new ensemble piece inspired by a family memoir and 78rpm record collection. Besides Kikuchi, performers are Tari Nelson-Zagar, Maria Scherer Wilson, Eyvind Kang, Bill Horist, Stuart Dempster and Rob Millis. Information is available at kexp.org or jackstraw.org.
Tea ceremony demonstrations continue at Seattle Art Museum downtown on Third Thursdays at 5:30pm and Third Sundays at 2:30pm in the Japanese teahouse on the third floor of SAM. Free with admission. Go to vistsam.org/performs for details.
“Filipino Night, 2017” takes place on May 20 at 6pm at UW’s Kane Hall 1410 on the Seattle UW campus at 1410 NE Campus Parkway.
The fusion jazz pianist Keiko Matsui from Japan plays Jazz Alley with her trio on August 10 – 13. 7:30pm nightly. Get your tickets early as this marks her 30th anniversary as a recording artist. 2033 6th Ave. 206-441-9729 or go to jazzalley.com.
Nabilah Ahmed stars in “ACME”, a new comedy by Andrew Shanks directed by Mary Hubert. This satire on technology runs from April 25 – May 20. Annex Theatre at 11th & Pike on Capitol Hill. Go to annextheatre.org for tickets.
The great Indian writer/artist/poet/playwright Rabindranath Tagore’s play, “Chitrangada – The Warrior Princess” as directed by Moumita Bhattacharya hits the stage of ACT Theatre as a joint production between ACT LAB and Pratidhwani. April 28 – May 20, 2017. 206-292-7676 or go to actheatre.org.
The Showbox has a “Massive Monkees Day” with the local hi-hop dance troupe taking the stage on Sat., May 20 at 7pm. 1426 1st Ave. downtown. Tickets at 1-888-929-7849 or go to axs.com or buy tickets at the box office. Go to www,showboxpresents.com for details.
Local actress/performance artist/curator Sara Porkalob co-curates Intiman’s “Barbecue”, a play by Robert O’Hara about two families, one black and one white who must work together to convince family members into a rehabilitation program. June 1 – 25 at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. 104 – 17th Ave. S. 206-684-4757 or go to langstoninstitute.org.
Sara Porkalob will also star in “Howl’s Moving Castle: A New Musical by Diana Wynne Jones” set for Book-It Repertory Theatre’s 2017-2018 season set for Nov. 29 – Dec. 30, 2017. It will be adapted and directed by Myra Platt. Many will be familiar with Studio Ghibli’s film adaptation of this story originally written by Jones.
UW’s very active jazz program presents Jazz Innovations, a concert workshop in which UW students will tackle new and innovative orchestral jazz works accompanied by trumpeter Cuong Vu, pianist Marc Seales, saxophonist Greg Sinibaldi and drummer Ted Poor. At Brechemin Auditorium in the Music Building on the Seattle UW campus. 7:30pm on May 17 & 18. Free.
“Persuasion” is a new musical based on Jane Austen’s novel. Novelist, playwright and screenwriter Harold Taw wrote the book and Chris Jeffries supplied the music & lyrics. It had a staged reading at The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Next Fest Festival of New Work and a workshop reading at Texas Musical Theatre Workshop. It will have its world premiere at Taproot Theatre July 12 – August 19. 204 N. 85th St. in Seattle. 206-781-9707.
Seattle Rep’s Bagley Wright Theatre will be transformed into a gigantic disco dance floor for the musical “Here Lies Love” by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. Fresh from New York’s Public Theater, the production tells the story of Imelda Marcos and her Filipino dictator husband Ferdinand Marcos and how they were toppled by a non-violent restoration of democracy in 1986. Directed by Alex Timbers and starring Jaygee Macapugay as Imelda and Mark Bautista as Ferdinand Marcos. Conrad Ricamora and Melody Butiu are also in the cast. Due to popular demand, the run has been extended to June 18, 2017.The theatre is located at Seattle Center at the corner of Second Ave. and Mercer St. 206-443-2222 or go to seattlerep.org.
Crossroads Bellevue, the Eastside’s live music venue presents free live performances every weekend. On the 2nd Saturday of every month at 5:30pm is 2nd Saturday Family Night with free kid-friendly music performances. On the 3rd Saturday of every month at 6:30pm is Northwest Folklife which presents diverse, family-friendly cultural arts performances. To see the schedule, go to crossroadsbellevue.com. 15600 NE 8th in Bellevue. 425-644-1111.
The Cathedral Trio composed of Naomi Kato, Brian Fairbanks and Joyce Ramee perform at McCaw Chapel at St. Mark’s Cathedral on May 19 at 7:30pm.
The Corda Quartet composed of Heather Borror, Judith Kim, Emmeran Pokorny and Yang Lu perform on May 27 at 7:30pm on the UW campus in Seattle at the Brechemin Auditorium. Free.
Book-It Repertory presents their adaptation of the novel “Welcome to Braggsville” by Geronimo Johnson from June 7 – July 2, 2017. When a southern good ol’ boy at UC Berkeley lets it slip that he’s going home, some of his classmates elect to tag along and decide to demonstrate their stereotypical assumptions of the racist South with mixed results. In the cast, Justin Huertas stars as a Malaysian student who wants to be “the next Lenny Bruce Lee, kung-fu comedian”. 206-428-6319×19 or go to www.book-it.org.
Catch comedian Bobby Lee of “MAD TV”fame on June 8 – 10 at Parlor Live Bellevue. 700 Bellevue Way NE #300 in Bellevue. 206-602-1441.
Seattle International Dance Festival takes place June 19 – 24. Performers come from around the country, around the world and from the Northwest. Indian choreographer Sudarshan Chakravorty and his company will be one of the guests. In tandem with the festival is the Seattle International Dance Festival Education:Summer Dance Program. The Threshold Institute for Dancers offers students a chance to learn with Seattle choreographers and the Advanced Master Classes will bring visiting international choreographers. For an application for a scholarship, email [email protected].
Local jazz musician/composer Bob Antolin has a newly released song on cdbaby entitled “The Trump Voodoo of 2017”, a project he recorded with local area Moroccan musicians in response to our present administration. For details, go to http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bobantolin.
Seattle native Byron Au Yong now teaches music at the University of San Francisco. The composer/musician/educator was just awarded a Ground Floor Residency at UC Berkeley with Eugenie Chan. He will be participating in the following upcoming free shows. “Trigger” at MDC Live Arts in Miami on April 21 and “Port City” at New Strands Festival in San Francisco on May 21.
Playwright Laureen Yee has a Seattle World Premiere of her play “The Great Leap” set for March 23 – April 22, 2018 at Seattle Repertory Theatre. The company shares this world premiere with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company. The plot revolves around Beijing University basketball coach Wen Chang and Manford, a young rough-around-the edges basketball talent from San Francisco’s Chinatown and how their worlds intersect. At the Leo K. Theatre. 155 Mercer St. Box Office # is 206-443-2222.
Francesco Lecce-Chong, Assistant Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony has been selected to become the new Chief Conductor of the Eugene Symphony in Oregon.
“Aunt Lily’s Flowerbook – One Hundred Years of Legalized Racism, Family Stories” by Brenda Wong Aoki & Mark Izu with Shoko Hikage & Masaru Koga takes place May 27 at 9:30pm, May 28 at 2pm and June 3 at 7pm. Their statement reads, “As artists who emerged from the Asian American Movement in the 70’s, we created the show to uplift the collective spirit and will to survive injustice and racism, just as our ancestors have done before us”. At Southside Theatre at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Tickets at bit.ly/Auntlily. For information, go to BrendaWongAoki.com.
John Doyle’s spare adaptation of Stephen Sondheim/John Weidman’s “Pacific Overtures” about the opening of Japan with George Takei and others is presently on stage at the Classic Stage Co. in New York City until June 18, 2017. 136 E. 13th near Flatiron/Union Square in New York City. 212-352-3101 or go to classicstage.org.
Ju Hyeon Han has been blind since she was a baby. She recently played a key role as Female Chorus in Benjamin Britten’s opera, “The Rape of Lucretia” when it was staged st Stony Brook University. It is claimed she is the first blind singer to be cast in a leading role in a US conservatory or university production. She is in her fourth year of a doctorate in Vocal Performance at Stony Brook University. Excerpted from Slipped Disc.
Since his comeback from throat cancer, musician/composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has returned to muic. His score for the movie, “The Revenant” was nominated for a Golden Globe. He has done music for Japanese artist Shiro Takatani’s “The Great Animal Orchestra” exhibition in Paris. He has also done scores for Yoji Yamada’s “Nagasaki: Memories of My son” and Japanese-Korean director Lee Sang-il’s film, “Anger.” His dream is to record the perfect album before he dies. It’s a project he is working on now.
Reggie Lee, known for his role as Sergeant Drew Wu fro ABC’s “Grimm” will return to the stage in the role of Sancho Panza in Portland Opera’s production of “Man of La Mancha.”
“Allegiance”, the Broadway musical inspired by actor George Takei’s childhood in internment camp during WWII will come to Los Angeles Feb. 21 – April 1, 2018 with previews from Feb. 21 – 25. East West Players and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center will co-sponsor the production set for the JACCC’s Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo. No word yet on whether the production will include the original cast. For updates, visit East West Players website.
The Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) in New York has announced highlights of their performing arts series for the coming year created to complement a full range of exhibitions held at all three New York locations. Choreographer Eiko Otake premieres three new pieces, one each at unexpected spaces at each location. Shanghai Peking Opera will perform the New York premiere of “Farewell My Concubine with “First Lady of Chinese Opera, Shi Yihong. Visual/sound artist Ryoji Ikeda creates “supercodex” which melds techno sound and multimedia art. Baritone Brian Vu is part of the cast that performs in a New York premiere of “Odyssey- A Youth Opera.” Yotam Ottolenthi teams up with fellow chef/author Madhur Jaffrey for a “Feast of India” and Carnatic vocalist Abhishek Raghuray performs as part of the activities around the exhibition “Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs.” “Immigration/Migration is a concert inspired by the immigrant experience and includes work by Chinese American composer Bright Sheng. The Aizuri Quartet will be the “2017-18 Quartet in Residence” performing at various venues. Members include Miho Saegusa, Ariana Kim, Ayane Kozasa and Karen Ouzounian. A concert celebrating “Thelonious Monk at 100” with a host of ethnic musicians interpreting or inspired by his work includes Min Xiao-Fen performing “Blue Pipa.” For details, email [email protected] or go to www.metmuseum.org/press/news/2017/metlivearts-2017-season.
When Koma Otake stopped dancing due to a foot injury, his wife and partner Eiko started a solo career. Koma turned to painting to sustain his creative spirit. With surgery, Koma got his dancing legs back and he embarks on a solo career himself with “The Ghost Festival” at Danspace Project in New York. Besides the dance, it features his paintings as a backdrop. The piece pays homage to his teachers and the “aware kaze no bon” performed yearly to honor ancestral spirits near his hometown in Niigata. Excerpted from the New York Times.
Film & Media
“Kore-eda – A Conversation with Filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda” takes place on Thursday, May 18 at 7pm. On the Seattle UW campus at Kane Hall 225. Kore-eda’s latest film “After the Strom” about a dead beat dad attempting to re-connect with his estranged family will be screened as part of the Seattle International Film Festival 2017 To reserve your seat for this conversation, go to jsis.washington.edu/japan/events.
Landmark Theatres & Photosynthesis Productions present the exclusive Seattle engagement of the film, “Angkor Awakens: A Portrait of Cambodia”, a new documentary film by Robert H. Lieberman. This film is an eye-opening portrait of a nation engaged in work to recover their culture and history in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge regime. Opens May 26 at Landmark’s Seven Gables Theatre at 911 NE 50th St. at Roosevelt in the University District. 206-632-8821.
Seattle artist Etsuko Ichikawa will be co-curating with NWFF, a collection of short films by NOddln, a Tokyo-based filmmakers collective set for August 18, 2017.Northwest Film Forum at 1515 – 12th Ave. 206-829-7863.
“Family Circle: The Films of Yasujiro Ozu” screens through May 18 every Thursday night at Seattle art Museum downtown. With “Late Spring”, “An Autumn Afternoon” and many other classics by this great Japanese film director who turned silence into another character and used his lens to look into the poetic soul of ordinary middle-class people. Go to visitsam.org/rickets or call 206-654-3260.
Haven’t got your tickets yet? Well, the Seattle International Film Festival (more than 400 films over 25 days) will be here before you know it. Special feature on contemporary Chinese cinema and five short films by Chinese film students from Beijing Film Academy which play prior to the screenings of new Chinese feature films Here’s a short run-down of films dealing with Asian Americans and Asia that you may keep an eye out for. Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjilani stars with his wife in a romantic comedy entitled “The Big Sick” which opens the festival on May 18 at 7pm at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda (“Our Little Sister”) is back with “After the Storm” about a loser of a dad trying to reconnect with his estranged family May 19 at 7pm at SIFF Uptown and May 20 at 4pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian. See elsewhere in this column of news of Kore-eda’s in person appearance at UW for a talk. What does an Indonesian wife when she finds out her husband has taken on a second wife? Find out in “Emma’ (Mother)” which screens June 2 at 9pm at SIFF Film Center and again on June 3 at 7pm at the same venue. Constance Wu (of “Fresh Off the Boat” fame) stars as a lesbian bachelorette at a girlfriend get-away in “The Feels” which screens June 9 at 7pm and June 10 at 1:30pm both at Pacific Place downtown. South Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s absurdist spin on romantic comedy “Yourself and Yours” plays May 21 at 6:30pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian, May 22 at 9:30pm at the Majestic Bay and June 24 at 6:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown. From Vietnam comes “She’s the Boss”, a slapstick office comedy on May 26 at 9pm at Lincoln Square, June 3 at 6pm at Ark Lodge Cinema and June 7 at 7pm at Pacific Place. Hong Kong is known for wacky comedies and their latest offering is “Vampire Cleanup Department” which plays May 23 at 6:30pm at Lincoln Square, May 25 at 9:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown and finally on May 26 at 4:30pm at Pacific Place. What happens when a Cantonese street cook and a French-trained chef join forces to defeat evil? Find out in “Cook Up a Storm” from Hong Kong on May 21 at 6:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown, May 28 at 4:15pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian and May 31 at 6:30pm at Lincoln Square. “Finding KUKAN” is a documentary film of a filmmaker-turned-detective who tries to find out about Li Ling-Ai, the un-credited Asian American female producer of a 1941 Academy Award-winning film. May 27 at 12pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown, May 28 at 7pm at Pacific Place and June 2 at 4:30pm at Ark Lodge Cinema. “Kakehashi: A Portrait of Chef Nobuo Fukuda” is an American documentary about a James Beard Award-winning chef which screens May 29 at 5pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown, May 31 at 4:45pm at Pacific Place and June 2 at 4:30pm at Kirkland PC. ”Angry Inuk” gives voice to the seal-hunting Inuit whose way of life has had unexpected impact by anti-sealing groups. Screens May 28 at 11:30am and May 29 at 11:30am both at SIFF Cinema Uptown. “Becoming Who I Was” is a South Korean film about a Buddhist boy in Northern India who discovers he is the reincarnation of a centuries-old Tibetan monk. Screens May 24 at 7pm at Majestic Bay, May 25 at 4:30pm at Pacific Place and June 1 at 6:30pm at Shoreline CC. Thailand is a country with a haunted past in “By the Time It Gets Dark” that looks at three characters and how their lives are interconnected. Screens May 29 at 7:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown and June 1 at 9:30pm at Pacific Place. “Chronicles of Hari” from India is a portrait of a performer noted for his work playing female characters in traditional theatre but as his performance begins to seep into his daily life, he finds himself trapped between genders in a prejudiced society. May 26 at 9pm and June 4 at 7:30pm both at SIFF Cinema Uptown. In “Fermented”, chef Edward Lee travels the world to discover how and why the fermentation process is a staple of world cuisine. A world premiere that plays May 29 at 6pm at Shoreline CC, June 3 at 6:30pm at Pacific Place and June 4 at 11:30am at SIFF Cinema Uptown. When a caretaker takes on the job of caring for an ex-boxer suffering from dementia, a close bond develops between her and her patient in the Chinese film “The Song of Cotton” adapted from Chinese American author Ha Jin’s short story. June 7 at 8:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown and June 9 at 11am at Pacific Place. “God of War” is set in 16th century China where marauding Japanese pirates threaten the coast and a Chinese commander must defeat them. May 26 at 9:45pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian and Mat 31 at 9:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown. “Tea Pets” is a magical animated adventure with glowing colors from China that plays May 20 at 1pm at Lincoln Square, May 21 at 11:30am at SIFF Cinema Uptown and June 4 at 1pm at Kirkland PC. “The Beautiful Kokonor Lake” is a Chinese film inspired by the difficult construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, it is a drama about a couple engineers who fall in love with the region. Screens June 7 at 6pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown and again on June 8 at 4:30pm at Pacific Place. “Come, Together” is the North American premiere of a South Korean family who drops out of the rat race to follow their dreams and screens on May 30 at 8:45pm at Shoreline CC, June 3 at 9pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown and again on June 4 at 11am at SIFF Cinema Uptown. The North American premiere of the Chinese film, “The Door” is a fantasy film of an auto mechanic who finds a magic door to an alternate world which turns him into a wealthy playboy who can have it all. June 8 at 7pm and June 9 at 4pm both at Pacific Place. The Chinese film “Knife in Clear Water” is the tale of an elderly farmer in the Muslim Ningxia refion and his beloved bull he must sacrifice in a religious ceremony on June 9 at 1:30pm and June 10 at 7pm both at Pacific Place. “Love and Duty” is a Chinese silent film starring the Greta Garbo of Shanghai, Ruan Lingyu who plays a woman who pays dearly for following her heart. Newly restored with live musical accompaniment. June 6 at 6pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown. The Filipino film “Ma’ Rosa” looks at a poor family barely getting by in their convenience store who sell drugs to make ends meet until they are pressed for bribes by corrupt police officers. Screens twice on June 4 at 1pm at Ark Lodge and June 5 at 8:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown. Japanese director Sabu is back with “Mr. Long”, a story about a hitman on the run who holds out in a village making friends and cooking noodles until the past catches up with him. Screens three times at SIFF Cinema Egyptian on June 2 at 9:30pm, June 8 at 9:30pm and June 10 at 9:15pm. “Napping Princess” is anime director Kenji Kamiyama’s look into the future in which a young woman is having strange dreams about warring machines that hints at long dormant family secrets. Screens twice at SIFF Cinema Uptown on May 29 at 12pm and May 31 at 6:30pm. “The Net” tells the story of a North Korean fisherman who accidentally drifts into South Korean waters and is arrested by a zealous, ambitious policeman. Plays three times on May 29 at 11am at SIFF Cinema Egyptian, June 6 at 7pm and June 11 at 3pm both at SIFF Cinema Uptown. A Chinese film entitled “Soul on a String” tells the story of a compassionate Buddhist on a journey through Tibet chased by a vengeful man and black market traders and meeting mysterious travelers along the way. Screens twice at SIFF Cinema Uptown on June 2 at 12pm and June 4 at 5:30pm. “White Sun” is a drama about a Maoist rebel who returns to post-civil war Nepal to bury his father in his village and struggles to re-connect with an estranged family. Twice at Pacific Place on May 22 at 4:30pm and again on May 30 at 9:30pm. “Meatball Machine Kodoku” is a wild Japanese cyberpunk comedy in which villianous Necro-borg turn unsuspecting humans into hyper-violent killing machines. Plays three times on May 27 at midnight at SIFF Cinema Egyptian & again on May 30 at 9:45pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown and finally at Ark Cinema on June 3 at 8:30pm. “Suffering of Ninko” is an erotic fantasy set in Japan’s Edo Period about a sexually irresistible Buddhist monk trying to stay chaste as he begins to have strange carnal dreams illustrated with flashes of brilliant animation. Screens three times on May 23 at 9:30pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian, May 27 at 9pm at Lincoln Square and May 29 at 9:30pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian. From Cambodia comes “Diamond Island”, the story of a teenage village boy who leaves to work construction sites on a wealthy island with his brother only to be seduced by the vibrant nightlife until tragedy strikes. Screens three times on June 3 at 12:30pm at SIFF Film Center Theater, June 5 at 8:45pm at Ark Lodge Cinema and again at SIFF Cinema Uptown on June 6 at 9:45pm. “Gook” is a comedy about two Korean brothers who spend the day hanging out in their dad’s South Central shoe shop on the first day of the 1992 Rodney King riots in this racially-charged comedy by Justin Chon. Screens three times on June 2 at 6:30pm at Ark Lodge Cinema and twice at SIFF Cinema Uptown on June 8 at 7pm and June 9 at 4pm. “Have a Nice Day” is a grim animated noir film from China in its North American Premiere about a car theft in which a construction worker finds himself pursued by a rogues’ gallery of crazed characters set to screen June 6 at 9pm and June 11 at 12:30pm both at SIFF Cinema Uptown. From China, “Free and Easy” tells the story of a soap-peddling con man in a desolate northern china factory town filled with more con artists. This Chinese film got a Special Jury Award at Sundance. Screens twice at SIFF Cinema Uptown on June 3 at 8:30pm and June 11 at 5:30pm. From Taiwan comes “Godspeed”, a tale of a down on his luck cabbie who accidentally picks up a drug mule in this violent road movie. Screens three times on May 28 at 6pm at Lincoln Square and June 1 at 8:30pm and June 2 at 3pm both at SIFF Cinema Uptown. “Newton” is a film from India, a black comedy about a rookie government clerk set down in the conflict-ridden jungle of Central India who remains unfazed as he sets about his task to conduct free and fair voting during the Indian election year of 2014. May 21 at 6pm at Lincoln Square and again on May 28 at 8:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown.The festival runs from May 18 – June 11, 2017. Go to siff.net/festival2017 for tickets.
Some of the Asian films that received awards at the 41st Hong Kong International Film Festival this year include the following – “Inmates”, a documentary film about two men with mental disorders in a psychiatric ward by Chinese director Ma Li. “Ten Mornings Ten Evenings and One Horizon”, a short film about wedding processions across bridges on the Yahagi River in rural Japan by Nishikawa Tomonari. “Happy Bus Day” by Lee Seung-won tells the story of a dysfunctional Korean family that veers between slapstick and satire. “Satoshi: A Move For Tomorrow” by Mori Yoshitaka is a portrait of a “Shogi” (Japanese chess) champion who eschews treatment for cancer in order to persue his passion and challenge one of the game’s greatest players. “Mad World” by Wong Chun is a Hong Kong Drama that tackles the subject of mental illness.
Chinese writer/director Li Ruijun’s “Walking Past The Future” has been selected to compete in the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The film stars Yang Zishan who plays a young woman who tries to give her parents a better life after their retirement to their rural hometown in China’s arid Northwest.
The BBC will adapt Vikram Seth’s novel, “A Suitable Boy” st in post-colonial India into a lavish eight-part series with a script from Andrew Davies who has previously done “Pride and Prejudice” and “War and Peace.” Filming starts later this year. It is the BBC’s first period drama featuring an entirely non-white cast. The announcement follows a warning from Ofcom, the BBC’s new regulator, that its television is too white and fails to appeal to viewers from ethnic minorities. Excerpted from The Telegraph News.
The Written Arts
The Jack Straw Writers Program presents their 2017 Writing Fellows curated by Jourdan Imani Keith with readings throughout May. May 19 at 7pm presents Quenton Baker, Ellie Belew, Hera McLeod and Ashland Runyan. Jack Straw Cultural Center at 4261 Roosevelt Way NE. 206-634-0919.
Sandra Vea, local author of “Masao: A Nisei Soldier’s Secret and Heroic Role in World War II” does several booksignings in the area. Sat., May 20 at 2pm she will be at Kinokuniya Books at 525 South Weller. On , she appears at the King County Administration Building in Seattle located at 500 4th Ave. Finally on , find her at Third Place Books in Seward Park at 5041 Wilson Ave. S. at 7:30pm.
Elliott Bay Book Company presents a series of readings and events. All are at the bookstore unless noted otherwise.
Toronto-based writer Scaachi Koul, senior culture writer for Buzzfeed will appear in conversation with local writer/editor/performer Lindy West. She will talk about her book of essays entitled “One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter” (Picador) in which she deploys her sharp humor to share all the fears, outrages and mortifying moments of her life. Co-presented by Seattle Public Library. Wed., May 31 at 7pm at Central Seattle Public Library located at 1000 Fourth Ave. downtown Seattle. 206-386-4636 or go to www.spl.org. June 7 at the bookstore, Lisa Ko reads from “The Leavers” (Algonquin), a debut novel about the disappearance of an undocumented Chinese immigrant and how her son left behind discovers the difficult choices she was forced to make. Finally the great Indian writer Arundhati Roy returns to Seattle with her first novel in 20 years entitled “Ministry of Utmost Happiness” (Knopf). June 27 at Town Hall Seattle. Advance tieckets available now at the Elliott Bay website BoldTypeTickets.com. Elliott Bay Book Company is at 1521 Tenth Ave. in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. 206-624-6600.
The Seattle poetry landmark bookstore Open Books continues to shine and prosper under new owner Billie Swift. Besides being one of the few bookstores in the country to stock poetry and nothing but poetry, they have a hot line-up of readings year around as well. UW Creative Writing Professor Pimone Triplett and East Coast poet Alessandra Lynch read together on June 9. On June 16, Seattle poet E. J. Koh reads from her stunning debut entitled “A Lesser Love” (her poetry appears in the May, 2017 issue of CityArts magazine) along with Bay Area poet Jacques J. Rancourt. Sept. 26 brings new-to-Seattle poet Ryo Yamaguchi who reads from “The Refusal of Suitors” (Noemi Press) and Mark Tardi from Poland where he reaches at the University of Lodz. He has translated contemporary Polish poetry. He is the author of “The Circus of Trust” and other books. All readings at 7pm. 2414 N. 45th St. in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. 206-633-0811.
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, 2016 classes continue at Hugo House’s temporary home at 1021 Columbia near Frye Art Museum. By 2018, Hugo House will return to its original site and occupy a ground-floor space in a new six-story, mixed-use building. In related news, Hugo House has produced “The Writer’s Welcome Kit”, an exclusive e-course that combines guidance on the writing craft and resources to help the writer excel. Go to hugohouse.org for details. Hugo House now adds manuscript consultations to its long list for resources for writers. There are currently five consultants for short fiction, novels, memoirs, essays, poetry, young adult and literary journalism and more to be added as the program continues. For details on this, go to hugohouse.org/manuscript-consultants. Hugo House plans “Scribes Summer Writing Camps for Teens” between July 10 – August 18 at MoPOP, Mohai and Henry Art Gallery. Instructors include Roberto Ascalon, Michelle Penaloza, Jane Wong and many others. To sign up or ask questions, email or call Jiuliann Petkov at [email protected] or call 206-322-7030. For general information, try 206-453-1937. Hugo House is at 1021 Columbia St. in Seattle.
365 poems will be published online at KC Metro Transit, Sound Transit Lightrail and Seattle Streetcar. April 2017 – April 2018. Among the poets included are ten year old Helen Zhang and Seattle Attorney Dennis Lam. For more info., call 206-263-1588 or 206-684-4337.
Seattle-raised poet/writer Paisley Rekdal who was featured in our April 19th poetry feature has been named Poet Laureate of the State of Utah where she teaches at the University of Utah.
Influential translator of classical Chinese and Japanese literature Burton Watson died in April in Japan. He served in the navy during WWII and was stationed at Yokosuka naval base in Japan after the war. He went to Columbia University where he studied Chinese and Japanese and earned his BA and MA. Some of the books translated include “The Selected Poems of Du Fu”, “The Complete Works of Chuang Tsu”, “For All My Walking:Free-Verse Haiku of Taneda Santoka”, “Ryokan:Zen Monk-Poet of Japan” and many others. He was admired for his natural and clear translations which were not strictly academic in nature but accessible to the general reader as well.
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! –
“The Emperor’s Riddle” (Aladdin) by Kat Zhang is a young adult novel. When Mia Chen’s family trip to China turns into a mystery when her favorite aunt disappears, the girl and her brother look for clues amidst rumors of an ancient treasure.
“Chemistry” (Knopf) is the debut novel by Weike Wang. When a graduate student in chemistry finds herself overwhelmed by family and society’s expectations, she leaves behind a promising future to find out what it is she really wants in life.
“The Hope of Another Spring – Takuichi Fujii, Artist And Wartime Witness” (UW Press) by Barbara Johns looks at the illustrated wartime diary of a Seattle Japanese American artist and how it opens another window into that troubled time of Japanese American internment and Northwest history.
“A Transpacific Poetics” (Litmus) by Lisa Samuels & Sawako Nakayasu due out in July, 2017 is a collection that mixes poetry and poetics, criss-crossing transpacific spaces to touch down in Hawai’I, Guam, the P.I., Chile, Australia, Korea, Aotaroa, Thailand, Japan and California. The poly-lingual works in this anthology conceive ocean as consequence, map, identity, visibility, invisibility layered over by histories of colonization in the globalized present.
“The Way Home in the Night” (Kids Can Press) by Akiko Miyakoshi is a spare yet evocative picture book that gives voice in words and images of the dark, quiet streets of a town as it goes to bed for the night. Bunnies supplant humans as figures in this charming, nocturnal ode to evening.
“The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era” (Basic Books) by Akhil Reed Amar looks with fresh eyes on our country’s document and its text, history and structure for grand themes relevant to American politics.
“Adrift At Sea – A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival” (Pajama Press) by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho and art by Brian Deines paints in vivid detail and vibrant colors, one family’s harrowing escape from Vietnam towards an uncertain future.
“Letters To Memory” (Coffee House Press) is award-winning novelist Karen Tei Yamashita’s memoir of Japanese American internment during WWII and its repercussions for her family. Handwritten letters, pictures, and paintings bring the past to life. Due out September, 2017.
“The China Sketchbook (Seagull) by I. Allan Sealy is a facsimile edition filled with sketches and scribbles that give insight into the mind of a fine Indian writer as he rides the railroads of China.
Nick Joaquin is considered one of the greatest Filipino writers but he is little known outside his home country despite writing in English. Penguin Classics hopes to rectify that situation with the first-ever publication of his seminal works, “The Woman Who Had Two Navels And Tales Of The Tropical Gothic.” With a foreword by PEN/Open Book Award-winning author Gina Apostal and an introduction by Vicente L. Rafael.
The Chicago Quarterly Review’s latest volume is “The South Asian American Issue”. It is collection of short stories, poems and essays with art work edited and curated by Moazzam Sheikh. With over 40 plus writers. Go to chicagoquarterlyreview.com for details.
“Wolves” (White Pine) by Jeon Sungtae as translated by Sora Kim-Russell is volume 23 in this publisher’s impressive series entitled “Korean Voices.” Many of these stories are centered on Mongolia which lies on the border between civilization and wilderness, the present and the past. Sungtae tells the stories of these people.
“Fever” (Seagull) by Samantha Basu as translated by Arunaua Sinha gets into the mind of a militant leftist revolutionary broken by torture who is eventually freed. That’s when memories of his life begin to haunt him.
“This Is Just a Test” (Scholastic) by Wendy Wan-long Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg combines the talents of two skillful young adult authors to tell the story of a Chinese Jewish boy caught in the middle of cultures, friends and a 1980’s “cold war.”
“No One Can Pronounce My Name” (Picador) by Rakesh Satyal is an surprising story about immigrants and outsiders trying to find their place in America and within their own families. It all takes place in a suburb outside of Cleveland.
“Gathering the Ashes” (Seagull) by Amritlal Nagare as translated by Mrinal Pande collects the missings experiences of ordinary people during India’s First War of Independence from British Colonial rule in 1857.
“Harmless Like You” (Norton) marks the fictional debut of Rowan Hisayo Buchanan in a book about multiracial identity, motherhood, familial bonds and the struggle to be an artist.
“Rani Patel in Full Effect” (Cinco Puntos Press) by Sonia Patel is a young adult novel like no other. It tells the story of a teenage girl rapper in Hawai’i who weaves words out of heartbreak, sorrow and patriarchy to the beat of her own voice.
“The Little Exile” (Stonebridge Press) by Jeanette S. Arakawa looks at the tumult and trauma of displacement and the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII through the unique perspective of a young girl’s eyes.
“The Shanghai Intrigue” (Seagull) by Michael S. Koyama is a political thriller. When a Chinese American intelligence officer at the US Embassy in Beijing intercepts a complex coded message, the race is on to decipher their meaning.
“Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab” (Akashic) by Shani Mootoo looks at how a young man travels to Trinidad to reconnect with a transgender parent, uncovering the complex realities of love and family. How does he reconcile the love he had for a mother to an elegant man now named Sydney?
“Spork” (Kids Can Press) by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault is a whimsical celebration of diversity and hybrid identities told as a “multi-cutlery” tale for all those who have ever wondered abut their place in the world.
Henry Chang continues his New York Chinatown detective series in “Lucky” (Soho). When a Chinatown gang leader is shot and survives, a detective races to save his boyhood friend before his plan for exacting revenge on his perpetrators wracks havoc on the neighborhood.
Indonesian American activist/author/artist Innosanto Nagara has written and illustrated two interesting picture board books for children on Seven Stories Press that inspires them to get involved in issues and community. “A is for Activist” encourages kids to participate in protesting what is unjust. “Counting on Community” encourages the little ones to learn meaningful change by doing positive things in the community in which they are part of.
“Selection Day” (Scribner) by Aravind Adiga looks at the youth leagues of cricket in Mumbai and finds a microcosm of India’s explosive conflicts over class and religion. The author received the Booker Prize for his previous novel.
“Pandemic – Tracking Contagions, From Cholera to Ebola and Beyond” (FS&G) by Sonia Shah covers outbreaks of disease throughout recent history.
“Iron Moon – An Anthology of Chinese Migrant Worker Poetry” (White Pine) edited by Qin Xiao Yu and translated by Eleanor Goodman. This book takes the ferment of a new 21st century working class in China by incorporating issues like migration, globalization and rank-and-file resistance.
“Things That Happen and Other Poems” (Seagull) by Bhaskar Chakrabarti as translated by Arunava Sinha. This late poet-laureate of Calcutta writes with urban angst expressing the spirit of sadness and alienation in delicate metaphors wrapped in deceptively lucid language.
“After The Bloom” (Dundurn) by Leslie Shimotakahara is a debut novel by a Japanese Canadian about one family’s struggle to face the darker side of its history and find some form of redemption. A mother and daughter fae the tension between two female generations working through the trauma of WWII Japanese internment and persecution.
It’s 1970s Seoul and some people hope for change while others demand it. Yoojn Grace Wuertz’s characters in her novel “Everything Belongs to Us” (Random House) navigate politics and romance in this dynamic era with some raising to the top, others sinking to the bottom but no one just standing still.
“New Expressions in Origami Art – Masterworks from 25 Leading Paper Artists” (Tuttle) by Meher McArthur shows the contemporary reach and imaginative vision of today’s artists in once was a more traditional craft medium. Includes the work of Giang Dinh, Tomoko Fuse, Maomoiselle Maurice, Linda Tomoko Mihara, Jun Mitani, Yuko Nishimura, Hoang Tien Quyet, Jiangmei Wu and many others.
Han Yujoo makes a disturbing debut in “The Impossible Fairy Tale” (Graywolf Press) as she examines the world of children, the rich & spoiled, the marginal and the violence that manifests itself in the widening gap of this disparity. Translated by Janet Hong.
“Community Garden For Lonely Girls” (Gramma) is Christine Shan Shan Hou’s newest collection of poetry that depicts a journey that traverses imagined histories and various states of consciousness.
Lonely Planet, the famous travel guidebook publisher expands their imprint with their “Lonely Planet Food” series. They will examine each country’s cuisine through the eyes of their creators “From the Source: Japan – Authentic Recipes From The People Who Know Them Best” by Tienlon Ho, Rebecca Milner and Ippo Nakahara with photographs by Junichi Miyazaki goes from steaming soups and silky ramen noodles to fresh, hand-rolled sushi and visits Tokyo, Kyoto, Okinawa, Nagano and Osaka.
“Becoming Misako Kikuchi: The Story of a Japanese American Adoptee’s Journey to Japan and Back to Find Her Family” by local author Lynn Hammonds has been published by Create Space Independent Publishing Platform.
Han Kang, author of the award-winning novel, “The Vegetarian” has a new novel also translated by Deborah Smith entitled “Human Acts” (Hogarth Books). She takes on South Korea’s violent past by re-visting Gwangju, a city in which a revolt by protestors resulted in the brutal slaughter of protestors and bystanders alike by the then Korean President, General Chun Doo-huan.
“Leftover Women – The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China” (Zed) by Leta Hong Fincher exposes the level of structural discrimination against women, and the broader damage this has caused Chinese society as a whole.
“The End of Imagination” (Haymarket) brings together the five of Arundhati Roy’s acclaimed books of essays with a new introduction by the author. Essays written with charm, wit and a powerful commitment to social justice.
“Music of the Ghosts” (Touchstone) by Vaddey Ratner tells the story of an adult Cambodian woman who lives in America and her return to the country she knew as a child refugee with a letter from a man who knew her father in a Khmer Rouge prison.
“Still Out of Place” (Bamboo Ridge) by Christy Passion opens a window to blue-collar life in the Hawaiian Islands with unflinching honesty and pain and yes, a hard-won beauty.
“Tropical Renditions – Making Musical Scenes in Filipino America” (Duke) by Christine Bacareza Balance looks at the music and performing arts to reveal dimensions of Filipino American history and cultural expressions.
“Lotus” (Henry Holt) is the debut novel by Lijia Zhang and was inspired by the secret life of the author’s grandmother and follows a young prostitute caught between past traditions and modern life in urban China.
“The Maids” (New Directions) by Junichiro Tanizaki as translated by Michael P. Cronin complements his classic novel, “The Makioka Sisters” but bears witness not to the masters of the house but instead gives voice to a chorus of servants.
Tara Books, children’s book publisher from India is out once again with two beautifully designed volumes. “A Village Is a Busy Place” by Rohima Chitrakar & V. Geetha is a brilliantly colored book that unfolds like a vertical mural illuminating the mosaic wheel of life contained in a single village. “This Truck Has Got To Be Special” by Rana, Kulaudor, Namaz & Khan shows you how truck drivers in India turn their vehicles into artistic creations that light up the landscape along India’s highways and byways.
“Sorry to Disrupt The Peace” (McSweeny’s) by Patty Yumi Cottrell is the story of a single woman who learns of her adoptive brother’s suicide and returns to her hometown to uncover the real reasons behind his death. Noted novelist Ed Lin calls it “a sort of Korean American noir, lean and wry and darkly compelling.”
“I Believe In A Thing Called Love” (FSG) by Maurene Goo tracks a Korean American teenage girl who’s a disaster in romance who comes up with the idea of using “K-Drama” as a map to true love with a boy she’s got a crush on with mixed results.
“Men Without Women” (Knopf) is a new translation of short stories by Haruki Murakami by Ted Goossen and Philip Gabriel that looks at men who find themselves alone. Originally published in Japan in 2014, it should serve to placate American fans until his most recent novel gets translated into English.
“Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh” (Lee & Low) by Uma Krishnaswami. A nine-year old girl wants to play softball for a girl’s team but the year is 1945 in Yuba City, CA. and her dad is from India and her mom is from Mexico and discriminatory laws still rule the land. How does she find a way to step up to the plate?
“Devils in Daylight” (New Directions) by Junichiro Tanizaki as translated by J. Keith Vincent is an early work by a master storyteller. It is a tense, erotic thriller about two friends who become deadly voyeur witnesses to murder.
“Sideways – A Memoir of a Misfit” (Diaspora Press) by Diana Morita Cole traces the life experience of her family imprisoned in Minidoka during WW II and how that experience even influenced the children who were born in imprisonment.
“The Malaysian Kitchen – 150 Recipes for Simple Home Cooking” (HMH) by Seattle author Christina Arokiasamy looks at Malaysian recipes adapted for the American kitchen.
“Resistance, Responsibility, Life: 50 Poems Now (Knopf) is a selection of new political poems by various poets selected and introduced by note poet/editor Amit Majmudar.
“The Best We Could Do” (Abrams Comicarts) bu Thi Bui is a graphic novel about the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family.
“Blue Light Yokohama” (Minotaur) is a crime novel by Nicolas Obregon that covers a quiet, troubled detective who tries to fight corruption in the gritty glitter of Tokyo with all odds against him.
“Paper Wishes” (FSG) marks Lois Sepahban’s literary debut. The book follows a ten year old Japanese American girl from Bainbridge Island who must accompany her family to a prison camp in the California desert during WW II. Losing her dog, she takes refuge by drawing pictures of him to keep his memory alive and hoping for his return and her own family’s return to a normal life.
“Swimming in Hong Kong” (Willow Springs) is a collection of short stories by Stephanie Han that cross borders and boundaries of Hong Kong and the U.S and looks at characters struggling with the politics of race, sex class, gender and culture.
“Queering Contemporary Asian American Art (UW Press) as edited by Laura Kina and Jan Christian Bernabe explores contemporary currents and experiences within the field, including issues of race, identity, queer bodies & forms, kinship & affect, and digital identities and performances. Includes artist interviews, art reproductions and critical essays.
“Dandelions” (New Directions) by the late Yasunari Kawabata and translated by Michael Emmerich is a fascinating discovery. It is the master Japanese writer’s last unfinished novel that charts the incommunicability of desire and the urge to hide.
“The Takedown” (Freeform Books) by Corrie Wang looks at a high-powered high school valedictorian who has everything going for her until a video supposedly showing her “doing it” with her English teacher shows up online. Time is running out as she races to track down this internet hacker and redeem her reputation in this cyber-thriller mystery.
“Everything Under the Heavens – How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power” (Knopf) is a new book by Howard French that looks unflinchingly at the issues facing China and its perception of today’s world.
“Tokyo Boogie-Woogie – Japan’s Pop Era and Its Discontents” (Harvard) by Hiromu Nagahara looks at the Japanese music industry and how it was a major force in creating popular consciousness between1920 – 1950. This book has been hailed as “a landmark of 20th century Japanese cultural history.”
Bao Phi, spoken word artist is back with a new collection of poetry entitled “Thousand Star Hotel” (Coffee House Press) in which he writes honestly about his childhood and his own initiation into fatherhood and how a history of trauma can be passed from generation to generation. This may keep readers occupied until he comes to your town with his own dynamic live performance.
Prolific graphic novelist/artist Gengorah Tagame tackles a new topic in “My Brother’s Husband – Volume 1” (Pantheon). When a single Japanese dad is forced to confront his painful past, it opens a window on a largely still-closed Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.
“The Golden Legend” (Knopf) is the new novel by Nadeem Aslam set in contemporary Pakistan. It tells the story of a Muslim widow and her Christian neighbors whose community is consumed by violent religious intolerance.
“Unidentified Suburban Object” (Arthur A. Levine) by Mike Jung is a funny story about a Korean girl who always felt like an alien only to discover that…… This young adult novel throws enough curve balls to keep you guessing until the surprising end.
“Lonesome Lies Before Us” (Norton) by novelist Don Lee traces the career of an Asian American alternate-country musician whose career and romantic relationship is on the skids.
In “The Girl At The Baggage Claim – Explaining the East-West Culture Gap” (Knopf), noted novelist Gish Jen tackles the study of East-West differences in the idea of self and what this means for our art, education, geopolitics, and business.
“Kra!” (Omerta Publications) is a new chapbook of poems by San Francisco Jazz Poet Laureate Genny Lim with tributes to writers & artists like James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Fred Ho and those innocent citizens of the world who become victims of war and imperialism.
“The Crystal Ribbon” (Scholastic) by Celeste Lim. What’s an eleven year old girl in rural China to do when her poor family is forced to sell her as a bridge for a wealthy family? Mysterious forces help her forge a path to freedom and finding her way back to herself.
“When I Carried You in My Belly” (Running Press) by Thrity Umrigar and illustrated by Ziyue Chen is a book for mothers to share with their children.
“The Stakes of Exposure – Anxious Bodies in Postwar Japanese Art” (Minnesota) by Namiko Kunimoto focuses on four artists of Japanese postwar art and what their work meant in the anxiety and confusions surrounding Japan’s new democracy as manifested in representations of gender and nationhood in modern art.
“Kingdom Come – A Fantasia” (Talisman) by Timothy Liu. With wry humor and sexuality, this writer of ten books of poetry produces his epic fantasy.
“Amina’s Voice” (Salaam Reads) by Hena Khan is a young adult novel of a Pakistani American girl who is devastated when her mosque is vandalized and wonders what she must give up to “fit in” with the “cool” girls in her class.
Post-Mao poet Bei Dao returns to Beijing after a long absence to find his beloved city totally changed. The shock of this experience released a floodgate of emotions and memories that culminated in “City Gate, Open Up” (New Directions), a memoir of a family and their everyday life together.
Friends of Asian Art Association is an all-volunteer organization that connects its members and the community to educations, cultural and social events tied to Asia and its diverse art forms and culture. Enjoy year-round activities and meet new friends who share similar interests by becoming a member. All are welcome to the activities but members get special discounts and perks. Some upcoming program events include the following – FA3 Asian & Global Arts & Treasure Sale May 27 at St. Mark’s Cathedral’s Bloedel Hall on Capitol Hill from 9:30am – 3pm. This event is free. Marilyn Rowlatka and Courtney Nevitt will talk about “Textiles of Gujurat” on June 11 at 1pm at Phinney Community Center. September 27 brings “Explore India” with Shelly Krishnamurty, Ram Prasad and Nona Dhawan. On Sunday from 2 – 4pm at the Mountaineers Center in Magnuson Park. October 19 from 1 – 3pm, Barry Broman will talk about “Up the Chindwin River to Nagaland” at the Phinney Center. Go to FriendsOfAsianArt.org or call (206) 522-5438 for details on all these events.
Congratulations to Nelson Daquip, wine and spirits director at Seattle restaurant, Canlis. The restaurant received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program. Daquip who hails from Hawai’i started out at Alan Wong’s on the island before coming to Seattle 15 years ago.
Sisters In Crime have announced that submissions are open for the fourth annual Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award which gives a $1,500 grant to an emerging writer of color who has not yet published a full-length work. Deadline is June 15, 2017. Guidelines are at www.sistersincrime.org.
The Asian American Monument Committee of New Mexico requests artists or artist teams to submit qualifications for designing a public art sculpture budgeted for $265,000 in honor of the landmark civil rights ruling from Territory versus Yee Shun which affirmed the competency of Chinese Americans to testify in court and have their testimony accepted. Deadline is June 2, 2017. Go to www.callforentry.org for details.
A Communities + Collections workshop entitled “Mapping Asian-Canadian Community Studies on Vancouver Island” was recently held on the island. The purpose of the project was “recovering and grappling with a difficult past” including Canada’s mass displacement and dispossession of people on racial grounds during the 1940’s alluding to treatment of Japanese Canadians during WWII. The objective of the workshop was to use maps as a community engagement tool to collect stories and prompt conversations about various communities in BC so project coordinators would then relate them to the history and experiences of Asian Canadians growing up on the island. For information on this project, go to www.landscapesofjustice.com.
Longtime organizer Sung Yeon Choimorrow has been selected to serve as next Executuve Director of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. NAPAWF is the country’s only national progressive organization dedicated to social justice and human rights for Asian American and Pacific Islander women and girls.