The United States Post Office will release its “Year of the Rooster” stamp on Jan. 5, 2017 in a ceremony at Wing Luke Asian Museum. It is the 10th stamp on the “Celebrating Lunar New Year” series by Kam Mark who was born in Hong Kong and grew up in New York. 719 S. King. 206-623-5124 or go to www.wingluke.org.
Politics, behavior, and a personal battle with cancer converge in Akio Takamori’s new work of ceramic sculptures of known figures attempting to apologize. Recent work not to miss by a major Northwest artist. Takamori shares the space with Efrain Almeida. Feb. 16 – April 1. James Harris Gallery. 604 2nd Ave. 206-903-6220.
Photographer David Jaewon Oh’s series on women in combat sports entitled “Combatants” is on view at 4Culture from Jan. 5 – 26. Oh recently received a GAP Grant from Artist Trust for his work on this series. 101 Prefontaine Pl. S. 206-296-7580.
Thuy-Van Vu has a show of new work at G. Gibson Gallery in the gallery owner’s new space in lower Queen Anne. Vu’s careful, sensitive lines add power and gravitas to whatever she chooses to depict. Jan. 12 – Feb. 25. 104 W. Roy St. 206-587-4033.
“A Closer look” is a group show of portraits by internationally known artists from the choice collection of Paul Allen (his collection of landscapes comes to Seattle Art Museum later as well). “Implied Fictions” is a companion group show of Northwest artists that includes the work of Akio Takamori. Both shows on view now at Pivot Arts & Culture. 609 Westlake Ave. N. 206-342-2710.
Stacya Silverman Gallery presents “Portraits from Prewar Japan”, a collection of prints made from found glass dry plate negatives featuring everyday life in the 1920s and 30s chosen and printed by artist Ron Reeder and master printer Tyler Boley. January 6 – April 15. 614 Opening reception on Jan. 6. 614 West McGraw on Queen Anne Hill. 206-270-9645 or try www.stacyasilverman.com/
Tacoma-based artist Asia Tail presents a group benefit show entitled “Protect The Sacred: Native Artists for Standing Rock” which features work by over 25 indigenious artists from the Pacific Northwest Dec. 31 – Feb. 16, 2017. Opening reception is “Third Thursday”, Jan. 19 from 6 – 9pm. All proceeds from sales go to fight against the DAPL construction on Native soil. 950 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma. Entrance on 11th St. 253-230-3980 or go to www.asiatail.com/news
Christopher Shaw’s “Tea Library – Part III” is now on view at Artxchange Gallery through Jan. 21, 2017. It is a celebration of ‘the way of tea’ with ceramic work by Shaw and art by New York City artist Red Square/Gultian Li. On Sat., Jan. 14 from 1 – 3pm there will be the following events. The artist will do a walkthrough of the show and discuss his Tea Library series. Then at 2pm there will be a community roundtable discussion on “Contemporary Issues in The Tea Community.” For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Minidoka: Artist As Witness” is a group show that details the incarceration of Japanese Americans along the West Coast on view until January 15, 2017. From 1942 – 45 more than 13,000 evacuees were incarcerated at Minidoka War Relocation Center in South Central Idaho. This show at the Boise Art Museum features significant works by five artists with personal or family history at Minidoka, now a National Historic Site. In this show are works by Takuichi Fujii, Kenjiro Nomura and Roger Shimomura. Sculptor/installation artist Wendy Murayama has a body of work including photos and found objects and an installation of 10 sculptures made from paper ID tags worn by internees. Photographer Teresa Tamura’s photo series from her book, “Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp” are also on view. The Boise Art Museum is closed on Mondays. Located at 670 Julia Davis Dr. in Boise, Idaho. 208-345-8330.
On view Jan. 5 – 28 are two contemporary Asian printmakers. Toru Sugita has intimate portraits of his life & travels using a variety of printmaking processes. Xiao Dai has lithographs of imagined worlds drawn from traditional folklore and his own creative vision. Davidson Galleries. 313 Occidental Ave. S. 206-624-7684 or go to www.davidsongalleries.com.
Cheryll Leo Gwin is a local multi-media artist with a new show of digital collages in “Farewell” on view at Sammamish City Hall Common s Gallery on view through Jan. 2017. 801 – 228th Ave. SE in Sammamish.
The Henry Art Gallery located on the campus of the University of Washington joins MOTHRA and Chris E. Vargas in presenting the group show “TRANS HISTORY in 99 Objects” through June 4, 2017. This show gathers archival materials and works by contemporary artists that narrate an expansive and critical history of transgender communities. On the Seattle UW campus.
“To:Seattle/Subject: Personal” is a group show of significant works of contemporary art acquired by The Board of Trustees at the Frye Art Museum between 2009 and 2016 during the directorship of Jo-Anne Birnie-Danzke who curated the exhibition. On view through January 8, 2017. It emphasizes the inclusion of work into the collection of local artists in the community. Includes work by DK Pan, Degenerate Art Ensemble, Liu Ping, Pan Gongkai and Susie J. Lee. 704 Terry Ave. 206-622-9250.
The work of artists Ron Ho, Cheryll Leo-Gwin, Taiji Miyasaka & David Drake and Midori Saito is included in the BAM Biennial 2016 entitled “Metal Morphosis” on view through Feb. 5, 2017. 510 Bellevue Way NE. 425-519-0770 or go to bellevuearts.org for details.
“Women Artists Coast to Coast West” is a group show that features work by Teiko Shimazaki, Seiko Konya, Hiroko Seki and Aiko Aoyagi. Through Jan. 11, 2017 at Washington State Convention Center at 800 Convention Pl. in Seattle. Go to www.womenpainters.com for details.
Local paper-cut artist Lauren Iida has spent extensive time in Cambodia. She will lead a 15 day Art Travel Tour of that country in February with visits to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang. Contact email@example.com for details.
Seattle artist Junko Yamamoto – Future events include work in Pratt’s window installation in the Tashiro Kaplan Building during the month of February, 2017 and a solo show at Taste at SAM next to the Seattle Art Museum downtown during the month of May, 2017.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has the following upcoming shows. “Millennia – Astonishing Asian Art Throughout the Ages” is a new group show that showcases one of the best collections of Asian art in Canada taken from the gallery collection and remains on view through March 31, 2017. 1040 Moss St. in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Call 1-250-384-4171.
The Audain Art Museum in Whistler, Canada has “From Geisha to Diva: The Kimono of Ichimaru” which showcases the kimono and personal objects of one of Japan’s most famous geisha. Remains on view through January 9, 2017. 4350 Blackcomb Way. 604-962-0413 or go to audainartmuseum.org.
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. Opening Sat., August 20 is “Stars Above: Wrapped in Lullabies”. Opening March 3 from 6 – 8pm is “Seeds of Change, Roots of Power: The Danny Woo Community Garden”, an exhibit that celebrates this neighborhood resource which preserves culture, tradition and identity. A new show entitled “We Are the Ocean: An Indigenous Response to Climate Change” is now on view. “Who’s Got Game? Asian Pacific Americans in Sports” is a new exhibition which opened Dec., 2016. Tatau/Tattoo: Embodying Resistance. Explores the practices and cultural significance of tattoos, highlighting the unique perspectives of the South Pacific communities in the Pacific Northwest. “Khmer American: Naga Sheds Its Skin”. War has had a huge impact on Khmer culture and identity. Despite these challenges, the community continues to shape the US and Cambodia. “Tales of Tails: Animals in Children’s Books” is a recent show to open at the museum. “Do You Know Bruce?” is a major new show on the personal, intimate story of martial arts artist and film star Bruce Lee and the significance of Seattle in his life. The Wing is the only museum in the world, outside of Hong Kong, to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee’s life. The Lee family has plans to eventually open a permanent museum on Bruce Lee’s life and legacy in the Chinatown-ID neighborhood. A new installment of the Bruce Lee exhibit entitled “Day in the Life of Bruce Lee: So You Know Bruce? opened on Sat., Oct. 1, 2016. The new installment explores what it took to become “Bruce Lee”. It delves into his daily work habits, routines and strategies to his written & visual art, reading, and personal time spent with family and friends. The Museum is located at 719 South King St. (206) 623-5124 or visit www.wingluke.org. Closed Mondays. Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. First Thursday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm. Third Saturday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm.
“Voices of Nisei Veterans – Permanent Exhibition and Collections” is composed of rare collections preserved by the Nisei Veterans Committee and tells the story of Japanese American veterans before, during and after WW II. Access is by pre-arranged tour only. For reservations or information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Jointly sponsored by the NVC Memorial Hall and The Wing. 1212 South King St.
“Conversations with Curators” is a popular series designed for SAM members. All talks start at 7pm in the auditorium with a Happy Hour preceding the event at 6pm. Curator of African and Oceanic Art, Pam McClusky talks on Jan. 18. Later this year will see a show by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama spanning over five decades. “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” will focus on her original series done in 1965 in which she displayed a vast expanse of red-spotted, white tubers in a room lined with mirrors, creating a jarring illusion of infinite space and move on throughout her whole career developing this concept. Opens Sept. 29, 2017 and remains on view through Sept. 10, 2017. The exhibit comes from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. where it will be exhibited Feb. 23 – May 14, 2017. Other dates for this touring exhibit TBA. Seattle Art Museum downtown at 1300 First Ave. 206-654-3100.
Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park – “Awakened Ones: Buddhas of Asia” comes from the museum’s own collection and features 20 sculptures and paintings of Buddhas from across Asia that span nearly 13 centuries.
On view through Feb. 26, 2017 is “Terratopia: The Chinese Landscape in Painting and Film.” The importance of landscape is a key feature of Chinese art and this show gives it a new wrinkle by comparing Chinese landscape paintings from the collection with the sounds and images of artist and cinematographer Yang Fudong taken from his five-part film entitled “Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest (2003-7). The film experiments with ideas about what nature holds for people in the modern world by reimagining ancient history’s seven philosophers as seven successful youths who are disenchanted with the banality of daily urban life. Filmed in the famed Yellow mountains of eastern China, a place that inspired poetry and literature for centuries as well as a major school of landscape art. Chinese art curator Foong Ping says, “It’s a thinking person’s show…You have to look at something and ask ‘Why is it there? Why did you choose this one?’ and there will be an answer. It’s a puzzle.”. Immersed in both the audio and visual elements of the film, viewers may very well begin to see the Chinese landscapes on the wall in a new light. Tabaimo is a Japanese artist who currently has her first solo show of video installations at San Jose Museum of Modern Art. She will curate a show of her existing and new works as well as works from SAM’s collection that she has selected for their close connections with her own work entitled “Tabaimo: Utsutsushi Utsushi.” Her immersive and thought-provoking installations combine hand-drawn traditional Japanese wood block prints with digital manipulations. This is the first major exhibition curated by the artist and it is organized around the concept of “utsushi” which refers to the emulation of a master artist’s work as a way to understand their technique. On view through Feb. 26, 2017. Please note that when the museum closes for extended renovation, Gardner Center’s Winter 2017 “Saturday University” series activities will continue at the alternative site of Seattle University at Pigott Hall and other places on the campus. Seattle Asian Art Museum is at 1400 Prospect St. in Volunteer Park. 206-442-8480 or go to seattleartmuseum.org/gardnercenter or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Portland Art Museum has big plans to raise money to renovate the museum and pay for the operating budget from the community. Members of the family of famed Portland-raised artist Mark Rothko have pledged to loan pieces of his work to the Museum for exhibition.
If you missed the “Juxtapoz x Superflat” group exhibition curated by Takashi Murakami and Evan Pricco, Editor of Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine that showed for a few days at Pivot Art + Culture during the Seattle Art Fair, you now have a second chance. It will be on view until Feb. 5, 2017 here in Vancouver. The emphasis is on art outside the mainstream dipping into subcultures of contemporary design, anime and manga. Includes work by Chiho Aoshima, Toilet Paper Magazine, Kim Jung Gi, Lucy Sparrow, Takashi Murakami and many others. Vancouver Art Gallery is at 750 Hornby St. in Vancouver BC, Canada. 604-662-4722 or go to www.vanartgallery.bc.ca.
The UBC Museum of Anthropology presents “Layers of Influence: Unfolding Cloth across Cultures” showcasing more than 130 handmade textiles from around the world, drawn from the museum’s collection. On view through April 9, 2017. On view until Jan. 31, 2017 is “In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man, Contemporary Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea.” 6393 NW Marine Dr. in Vancouver BC. 604-822-5087 or moa.ubc.ca.
“Taiken – Japanese Canadians Since 1877”, photography and artifacts that chronicle the hardships of pioneers from the struggles of the war years to the Nikkei community today. Also on view through Jan. 15, 2017 is “Warrior Spirit, the Bravery and Honour of Japanese Canadian Soldiers in the First World War.” Nikkei National Museum at 6688 Southoaks Cres. In Burnaby B.C., Canada. 604-777-7000 or go to nikkeiplace.org.
The first Honolulu Biennial looks at Hawai’i not as a remote outpost but more like the crossroads of the Pacific Rim showca March 8, 2017 and on view until May 8, 2017 at various venues. To get the whole schedule, go to honolulubiennial.org.
The Denver Art Museum has the following shows. “Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s—90’s” gives you a look at 70 works by avant-garde designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, Kenzo Takada, Junya Watanabe, Kansai Yamamoto and Yohji Yamamoto. On view now through May 28, 2017. “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 through Jan. 15, 2017. 100 W 14th Ave. Parkway in Denver. 720-865-5000.
“Japanese Photography From Postwar To Now” features over 400 recently acquired images from the 1960’s to the 1990’s with work by Daido Moriyama, Shomei Tomatsu and Miyako Ishiuchi. On view through March 12, 2017. “New Work: Sohei Nishino” is on view through Feb. 26, 2017. This Japanese artist creates his “Diorama Maps” by canvassing a city by foot for two months taking photos. He cuts out individual frames and makes a large-scale collaged maps which he then takes a giant photograph of. In this show, he has made a new map of San Francisco for the museum. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 151 Third St. 415-337-4000. Visit@sfmoma.org for details.
Asian Art Museum, San Francisco has the following shows – “The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe” remains on view through Jan. 15, 2017. This exhibit explores the personalities and perspectives of four main characters: Rama; his wife Sita; Rama’s faithful monkey Lieutenant Hanuman; and the 10-headed demon King Ravana. Also on view is “Koki Tanaka: Potters and Poets” until Feb. 14, 2017. Here, the artist assembles strangers with a common profession and asks them to work together simultaneously to create a new work. One project entitled “A Pottery Produced by 5 Potters All at Once” has the artist gathering five different Chinese potters together in a room to produce a piece of pottery together. In the other project entitled “A Poem Written by 5 Poets at Once”, Tanaka invites 5 Japanese poets of completely different styles to come together to write one poem. 200 Larkin St. 415-581-3500.
A new exhibition entitled “Gardens, Art and Commerce in Chinese Woodblock Prints” remains on view through Jan. 9, 2017. The show includes forty-eight examples of woodblock prints made from the 16th century to 19th centuries on loan from the National Library of China in Beijing, the Nanjing Library, the Shanghai Museum and 14 other institutions and private collections. At the Huntington Library located at 1151 Oxford Rd. in San Marino, California. 626-405-2100.
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@example.com.
Yuki Kimura’s photographs are like staged domestic environments with his own shots and those taken from other sources juxtaposed with furniture, potted plants and various objects. This marks Kimura’s first solo show in the US. On view through Feb. 25, 2017. CCA Wattis Institute in San Francisco. 360 Kansas St. 415-355-9670.
The Japanese American National Museum has the following shows –“Tatau: Marks of Polynesia” on view until Jan. 8, 2017 showcases the art and legacy of the over 2,000 year old Samoan tattoo tradition. 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.
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 through January 8, 2017. From March 7 – June 4 comes “Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in China, Southeast Asia and the Islamic Middle East” which features 76 items from the wreck of an Arab merchant ship discovered in Southeast Asian water. It will be on view for the first time in the U.S. The exhibition explores the robust exchange of goods, ideas and culture among ancient China, Southeast Asia and the Islamic Middle East. A symposium entitled “The Belitung Shipwreck: Sojourns in Tang Dynasty History and Art” takes place April 22 at the Tang Center for Early China at Columbia University. Stephen Murph, curator at Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore gives a talk on March 7. There will also be special family day activities for the museum’s youngest visitors to give them a chance to explore the show as well.725 Park Ave. New York City, New York. 212-327-9721 or go to www.asiasociety.org for more details.
The Japanese minimalist sculptor Kishio Suga gets his first US museum exhibition at DIA in Chelsea in New York City. Through April 2, 2017. Go to diaart.org for details.
Opening in the Spring of 2017 will be the Whitney Biennial which was started in 1932 and is still considered one of the pre-eminent biennials in the country. This 2017 edition is co-curated by Asian Americans, Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks. 99 Gansevoort St. in New York City. Go to www.whitney.org.
Drawings, paintings and photos illustrate the great architectural sites and buildings of Tibet in the exhibition entitled “Monumental Lhasa: Fortress, Palace, Temple” on view now through Jan. 9, 2017 at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. Go to rubinmuseum.org for details.
It’s not often that New York City gets a new subway line so they are celebrating in style with a variety of new public art pieces for their 2nd Avenue Subway Line.
“Blueprint for a Landscape” by Venice Biennale American artist representative Sarah Sze with the help of tile masters in Spain has fashioned a deep-blue immersive drawing of a whirl of birds, chairs, leaves and scaffolding as it impacted by the whoosh of a passing train. On the concourse she has left commuters with the images of blowing paper to match the hurried tempo of passengers coming and going, Jean Shin’s installation has a tile work of elevated girders from the 1940s and 50s being dismantled along with archival photos of trains and passengers to give today’s commuters a sense of history and place. Other artists with impressive public art for this project include Chuck Close and Vik Muniz.
“Isamu Noguchi – Archaic/Modern” explores how pyramids, burial mounds, temples and the gardens of the ancient world shaped one of America’s most innovative sculptors. Through March 19, 2017. Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. Free and open daily. 8th and G Streets NW. Go to AmericanArt.si.edu for details.
The Art Institute of Chicago presents the following. Coming up – “Ink on Paper: Japanese Monochromatic Works” in Gallery 107. This exhibit showcases the simple and striking use of dark ink on paper before the advent of color printing. Through Jan. 29, 2017. “Provoke”: Photography in Japan Between Protest and Performance, 1960-1975.” Opens Jan. 28, 2017 and remains on view through April 30, 2017. 111 South Michigan Ave. 312-443-3600.
The Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University has the following – Upcoming is a group exhibition that investigates a wide range of themes surrounding the changing role of women in China in an exhibition entitled “Fire Within: A New Generation of Chinese Women Artists”. Included are the work of twenty-eight emerging artists working in painting, installation, sculpture, video, animation, photography and performance. The generation of artists born in China during the 1970s and 1980s witnessed significant changes throughout their society as the country opened up to foreign markets and international exchange. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog with an essay by the curator, Dr. Wang Chunchen and interviews with the artists. There will be various activities including performances by Hu Jiayi, Lin Ran, and Luo Wei. On view through February 12, 2017. This museum was designed by the late Pritzker prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid. 504 East Circle Dr. in East Lansing, Michigan. 517-884-4800 or try firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Bingata! Only in Okinawa” is an exhibit on the textile art of that country that remains on view through Jan. 30, 2017 at George Washington University Museum’s Textile Museum in Washington D.C. Okinawa was an independent kingdom until 1879, with its own language, culture and distinctive textile traditions. This exhibition has textile treasures from Okinawan museum collections with brightly colored bingata traditional resist-dyed fabrics and contemporary works by Okinawan artists and fashion designers. Organized in partnership with the Okinawa Prefectural Government. 701-21st St. NW. Call 202-994-5200 or go to email@example.com.
Like Morandi, the Japanese artist Yamada Masaaki (1930-2010) spent his whole life doing the same paintings over and over again. His abstract pieces use unusual hues and imprecise horizontal stripes with drips. Remains on view through Feb. 12, 2017 at National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. 3-1 Kitanomarukoen, Chiyoda in Tokyo. Call 81 3-5777-8600.
Hats off to China Machado who recently passed away at 86. As a teenager she fled Shanghai with her parents in 1946 after the Japanese invasion. As a fashion model in New York, she was a pioneer. She was one of the first non-white models in the industry and led the way to what diversity there is in the business today. Of mixed race (Portuguese, Chinese and Indian), her career flourished into her 80’s. She was the first non-Caucasian to show up in the pages of an American fashion magazine and she celebrated the difference. As her daughter recalled in the New York Times, “she was proud to wear that mantle. She thought so much of fashion looked the same, and she wanted to celebrate the idea that everyone could be who they were.” Excerpted from New York Times.
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki is if anything, know for its subtle beauty. Now it’s about to get an lively make-over. Every year, local artists will cover the outer surface in vinyl with their own art. First up is Jonas Woods known for his bright still-lifes. In it are depictions of ceramics by Shio Kusaka, the artist’s wife. Excerpted from the L.A. Times.
Fashion designer Sonya Park was born in Seoul and raised in Hawai’i but for the last decade or so she has carved out a career with her Arts & Science stores all over Japan. She began selling vintage clothing and antiques but had ideas for creating her own line of clothing which she actualized working with a local seamstress. Now there are nine Arts & Science boutiques across the country and she just opened two new stores called HIN and &SHOP in Kyoto. When quizzed about where her aesthetic comes from she responded, “I’m a product of living in different places – Korea, Hawai’i, Japan. But it’s a borderless, genderless aesthetic.” Excerpted from The Japan Times.
Veronica Lee-Baik’s choreography propels her group The Three Yells in their Butoh-inspired take on the classic “Giselle” in a adaptation entitled “The Three Yells: Giselle Deconstructed” set for Jan. 6 & 7 at Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center. 206-726-5113.
Sara Porkalob has explored family stories in most of her previous performances and “Madame Dragon’s Birthday Party” is no exception drawing on a Filipino Grandmother with a gangster past. One wonder’s what mob-inspired cuisine will be served up at this party? Jan. 12 – 22 at Nordo’s Culinarium at 109 South Main in Pioneer Square. Try firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Meany Center For The Performing Arts at UW has as usual an exciting assortment of programs for every taste whether under the categories of “Dance”, “Piano”, “World Music” or “Chamber Music” for their 2016-2017 season. The Shen Wei Dance Arts group with their special blend of contemporary dance and Asian tradition performs “Neither” set to Morton Feldman’s opera of the same name with a libretto by Samuel Beckett March 16 – 18, 2017 at 8pm. KODO, the Japanese group that started the world phenomenon for the sound of the Japanese drum, the taiko make a welcome return as well. They take the stage on Feb. 3 – 4 , 2017 at 8pm. 206-543-4880 or go to MEANYCENTER.ORG for details. Single tickets and subscriptions on sale now.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the programs Seattle Symphony has to offer under the baton of Music Director Ludovic Morlot later this year going into 2016/2017. 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’ll perform with Pablo Rus Broseta conducting the following. On Thurs., January 19 – Piano Concerto No. 1, Violin Concerto No. 2 and Cello Concerto No. 1. On Friday, January 20 – Cello Concerto No. 2, Piano Concerto No. 2 and Violin Concerto No. 1. Finally on Friday, February 10 at 8pm, catch violinist Leonidas Kavakos & pianist Yuja Wang in a program featuring Medtner’s “Two Canzonas with Dances for Violin and Piano and other works by Schubert, Debussy and Bartok. For details on tickets, go to seattlesymphony.org or call (206) 215-4747.
Tea ceremony demonstrations continue at Seattle Art Museum downtown on Third Thursdays at 5:30pm and Third Sundays at 2:30pm in the Japanese teahouse on the third floor of SAM. Free with admission. Go to vistsam.org/performs for details.
Chan Centre, the premier performing arts theatre space for the University of British Columbia in Vancouver B.C. presents the following. Anda Union, a nine-member band that unites tribal and musical traditions from all over Inner Mongolia. A wide range of traditional instruments and vocal throat singing styles are used. They are part of the new season and will perform on March 26, 2017 at 8pm. Go to http://chancentre.com/subscribe/ for details on their complete season. Single tickets on sale on June 14, 2016 from noon on.
Seattle Gamelan Pacifica perform traditional and contemporary works composed for this instrument prevalent in Indonesia. In 2017, they celebrate the centenary of great American composer Lou Harrison who wrote many modern compositions for gamelan on Sat., May 13 at 8pm. Chapel Performance Space at 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. (4th floor) in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood.
The famed Peking Acrobats make two appearances in the Puget Sound area. They are at the Edmonds Center For The Arts on Jan. 25, 2017 at 7:30pm. 425-275-9595. They appear again hosted by the Broadway Center at Pantages Theater on Jan. 29, 2017. 253-591-5894.
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. Go to stgpresents.org/season or call 206-812-1114 for details.
On The Boards presents their new fall season of performance art. Geumhyung Jeong from Seoul was trained as a dancer and puppeteer. This Korean artist makes work centered around the human body and inanimate objects. She performs “CPR Practice” on Jan. 25 – 26 in the theatre and “Oil Pressure Vibrator” (in which she operates industrial equipment) at an outside site to be announced on Jan. 28 – 29. On The Boards is located in Queen Anne at 100 W. Roy St. 206-217-9886.
The Theatre at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue has the following events scheduled at their venue. Seattle East West Performing Arts Group hit the stage on Jan. 14, 2017. Chinese Radio Seattle has a program set for Feb. 4, 2017. 11100 NE 6th St. in Bellevue. 425-637-1020.
“Those Who Remain: Concerto for Installation and Improviser” is an international collaboration which will feature a sound and video installation by video artist and DJ Yohei Saito and dancer/choreographer Yukio Suzuki from Japan and a new electronic score by Seattle composer/musician Wayne Horvitz. Suzuki who was named “Choreographer for the Next Generation” by Toyota will perform several short dance improvisations daily within the installation. Horvitz will give an evening performance with Sherik and Beth Fleenor on Jan. 27 at 7:30pm. Additional after-hours performances on Jan. 31 at 7:30pm, Feb. 3 and Feb. 4. Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. Go to visitsam.org/gardnercenter for more details. Supported by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program.
Fans of Hawaiian music will want to take note of this one. Keola Beamer and Jeff Peterson appear at the Edmonds Center For The Arts with Moanalani Beamer representing the younger generation on March 25, 2017 at 7:30pm. 425-275-9595.
During January, 2017 world-renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma will run his own education venture in Guangzhou,China. “Youth Music Culture Guangzhou” is a 2 week long annual cultural event bringing together young musicians for musical training, artistic appreciation and cultural exchange. Ma will handpick a team of all-star performers and educators from around the world top assist him.
Boston-based South Korean cellist Taeguk Mun won the Janos Starker
Foundation Award which comes with a $25,000 prize and a schedule of promised engagements.
CalArts, the prestigious arts college in Southern California has named Ravi Rajan as its new president. He is the first Asian American chosen for that post. He is currently the dean of the School of the Ausat Purchase College State University of New York. He was born in Seattle and raised in Oklahoma. He brings a diversified resume and a passion for the arts. He has worked on technical aspects of installation design for mixed media projects including filmmaker Laura Poitras’s recent solo show at the Whitney entitled “Astro Noise” and is also a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee.
Actress Phillipa Soo from the Chicago area played the role of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton in the New York smash musical, “Hamilton.” For that, she was nominated for a Tony Award and received the Lucille Lortel Award. She follows it up with the title role in “Amelie, A New Musical” based on the hit French film from a few years back. It opened at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles with a Broadway run scheduled for spring.
Yip Wing-Sie at 56 is one of the few female conductors leading an orchestra today. She conducts the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. She comes from a prominent classical family. Her father founded the Hong Kong Children’s Choir and both her sisters are classical musicians.
Film & Media
“Mifune: The Last Samurai” is Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki’s new tribute to the glorious career of this Japanese actor who was Akira Kurosawa’s driving character in many of his great films. Opens Jan. 6 at Grand Illusion Cinema in the University District. 1403 NE 50th St. 206-523-3935.
How does a spunky little girl break the spell that turned her into another person and escape her captors? Find out in Hayao Miyazaki’s classic “Howl’s Moving Castle” screening at the Central Cinema on Jan. 20. 1411 21st Ave. 206-328-3230.
The International Children’s Film Festival is becoming a Seattle tradition with features, shorts and documentaries centering on the theme of children all over the world. Expect films like “In Fairness” by M. Balasubramanian from India or how a girl breaks the male role tradition in “Summer with the Monkey King” from China, an Indigenous Film Showcase and much, much more. Runs from Jan. 28 – Feb. 11. 1515 12th Ave. 206-829-7863.
China makes a bid for global recognition in the film industry with the release of Zhang Yimou’s “The Great Wall” starring Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Wilem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Li Han and Jing Tian. The big test comes when it is released in North America on February 17. Some have accused Yimou of white-washing by giving the hero role to a Hollywood star instead of a Chinese actor but the part was written specifically for Damon because they wanted a proven box office star with international drawing power the director explained. The plot revolves around the efforts of humans to defend the great wall against mythical flesh eating creatures who invade the wall every sixty years. To appeal to world audiences, 80 percent of the dialogue is in English, the rest being in Chinese. The production was done with Universal Pictures, China’s Le Vision Pictures and the China Film Group. Disney-owned Industrial Light & Magic did the special effects. Chinese mogul Dalian Wanda is building a movie facility and tourism complex in the eastern-port city of Qingdao to attract American productions. Whether China emerges as a world power in the international film industry to rival Hollywood, time will tell. Excerpted from the New York Times.
A new Japanese feature length animated feature film “Your Name” by Makoto Shinkai has the premise of two teens exchanging genders in their dreams and falling in love in their waking lives. It has captured the imaginations of viewers both in Japan and China becoming a mega-hit. It will eventually surface in the US when it gets a distributor so look out for it.
Coming soon are these films. “Tharlo” directed by Pema Tseden and starring Shide Nyima as a Tibetan shepherd who is forced to go into town and interact with people where he meets a certain woman who opens up his world. “M. S. Dhoni: The Untold Story” is a biopic look at the rags-to-riches story of cricket star starring Sushant Singh Rajput as directed by Neeraj Pandey. Go to siff.net for details. “Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang” is a documentary film by Kevin McDonald on this Chinese artist who uses pyrotechnics, fire and gunpowder for his performance works set again the canvas of a dark night sky (although those in Seattle may know him for his hanging cars installation recently taken down at Seattle Art Museum downtown). Release date is Oct. 14, 2016.”Creepy” is a redundant title for the new film by Japanese master of horror Kiyoshi Kurosawa in which a former detective is called back to work on a very peculiar case. “The Eagle Huntress” is a unique documentary film about Alshoipan, a 13 year old Kazakh eagle hunter in Mongolia, the first girl to be trained for the job in 12 generations of her family. Directed by Otto Bell. Opens Nov. 18 at a Landmark Theatre in Seattle. In November, look out for these films. “Lion” is taken from a true story and a book that tells the story of an Indian boy found on the streets of Calcutta who is eventually adopted by an Australian couple. When he is an adult, he returns to India determined to find his real parents. Stars Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and directed by Garth Davis. “Red Stone” is a Chinese film of injustice and retribution by Johnny Ma who wrote and directed. A taxi driver distracted by a customer accidentally hits a motorcyclist and then takes him to the hospital. For his good deed, he is forced to pay medical fees and almost loses his job.
The Written Arts
Elliott Bay Book Company presents a series of readings and events. All are at the bookstore unless noted otherwise. Bay Area novelist Shanthi Sekaran reads from “Lucky Boy” (G. P. Putnam’s Sons) on Tues., Jan. 17 at 7pm. This novel brings together two distant relatives on opposite economic realities in the same company. One is an upper-crust Silicon Valley visionary entrepreneur and the other, a lower class service worker. On Sat., Jan. 28 at 10am the Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas with the UW Jackson School of International Studies and Elliott Bay present Bruce Lawrence, Professor emeritus of Religion at Duke University who will talk about his book entitled “Aesthetics, Ethics and Politics in Muslim South Asia: The Saga of Artist M. F. Husain.” This event takes place at Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium. 901 – 12th Ave. on the Seattle University campus. For details, call 206-654-3210. Lawrence will give another talk on his new book entitled “Who is Allah?” (Univ. of North Carolina) on Sun., Jan. 29 at 3pm at Seattle Asian Art Museum’s auditorium located in Volunteer Park at 1400 East Prospect. Elliott Bay Book Company is at 1521 Tenth Ave. in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. 206-624-6600.
Viet Thanh Nguyen, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize winner in Fiction comes to Seattle’s Central Library to read from a new collection of short stories on Feb. 24. 1000 Fourth Ave. 206-386-4636.
Hugo House has announced its temporary re-location during construction of its new building across from Cal Anderson Park. Beginning in mid-2016, Hugo House’s public programs and offices will be based in a building owned by, and adjacent to, the Frye Art museum at Boren Avenue and Columbia Street on First Hill. Hugo House will operate a full schedule of readings, classes, book launches, workshops, teen programs, and more at the Frye while its new building is being constructed. Events will take place here and in the Frye’s auditorium as well at the nearby Elliott Bay Book Company and Sorrento Hotel. Beginning May 21, classes continue at Hugo House’s temporary home at 1021 Columbia near Frye Art Museum. By 2018, Hugo House will return to its original site and occupy a ground-floor space in a new six-story, mixed-use building. In related news, Hugo House has produced “The Writer’s Welcome Kit”, an exclusive e-course that combines guidance on the writing craft and resources to help the writer excel. Go to hugohouse.org for details. The organization has announced their “Writer-in-Residence and Made at Hugo House Fellows” for 2016-2017. Local journalist-turned-novelist and Seattle University professor Sonora Jha will be a writer-in-residence. She will assist writers during free hour-long appointments. She is currently working on a memoir entitled “This Little Matter of Love”. She writes that “As woman writer and professor of color whose research and active service work is rooted in representation, I am particularly excited also about extending the reach of Hugo House into under-represented communities in Seattle to clear the path for such writers to emerge in mainstream, meaningful, and lasting (rather than token) ways.” Shankar Narayan was chosen as one of the “Made at Hugo House Fellows” Narayan is a 2016 Kundiman Fellow whose work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He works as an attorney and advocate for civil rights. “Made at Hugo House” is a yearlong fellowship for emerging writers selected by an anonymous advisory panel of writers. The six fellows chosen will complete writing projects with guidance and support from Hugo House. Narayan is working on a chapbook of poems influenced by technology, race and power. Spoken word artist Anis Mojgani who spins sublime tales of the imagination from personal encounters and childhood memories of the deep South comes in from Portland to perform on April 7, 2017. Hugo House now adds manuscript consultations to its long list for resources for writers. There are currently five consultants for short fiction, novels, memoirs, essays, poetry, young adult and literary journalism and more to be added as the program continues. For details on this, go to hugohouse.org/manuscript-consultants. For general information, try 206-453-1937. Hugo House is at 1021 Columbia St. in Seattle.
“Sherman Alexie Loves” is a new series that Seattle Arts & Lectures has started with the noted Northwest writer. It features three evenings of conversation with authors that the author loves. Of special note is the evening entitled “First Loves: Debut Novelists Alexie Loves” on Thurs., May 11, 2017 at Town Hall Seattle. Includes a conversation with Patricia Park, Ariel Schrag and Sunil Yapa. For tickets & information, go to lectures.org.
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! –
“Gone To Gold Mountain” (MoonPath Press) is a new book of poems by Seattle area Peter Ludwin in which he tells the story of the 1887 massacre of Chinese miners in Hells Canyon, Oregon through their eyes.
“Honor Before Glory” (Da Capo) by Scott McGaugh documents the history of the 442nd and their efforts to recue the lost battalion during WWII.
“A Century Of Chinese Fashion 1900 – 2000” (China Books) by Ze Yuan and Yue Hu looks at the tremendous changes and transformations of fashion in China during the twentieth century.
Anyone who follows Haruki Murakami’s fiction knows he loves music since he often mixes tales of jazz and classic music into his stories. Now comes “Absolutely on Music – Conversations with Seiji Ozawa” (Knopf) in which the popular fiction writer talks to famed classical conductor Ozawa about the subject of music.
“Tula” (Milkweed Editions) is a new book of poetry by Minnesota poet Chris Santiago in which he traces the relationship of his American present to his Filipino family’s past. This debut collection won the Lindquist & Vennum Prize For Poetry.
“Changing Season – A Father, A Daughter, A Family Farm” (Heyday Books) by David Mas Masumoto with Nikiko Masumoto. Masumoto has written extensively about his life as a small farmer in California in previous popular titles. This new collection charts the gradual transfer of the farm to his queer mixed race daughter and the challenges they face together in a life devoted to the land.
“Afterland” (Graywolf Press) by Mai Der Vang is the winner of the 2016 Walt Whitman Award Of The Academy Of American Poets as selected by Carolyn Forche. It covers the Hmong people’s exodus from Laos and the fate of thousands of refugees seeking asylum.
“The Harlem Charade” (Scholastic) is a young adult novel by Natasha Tarpley that looks at contemporary Harlem through the young eyes of teenagers including a Korean American girl whose family runs a bodega. Together three kids who are strangers to each other band together to foil gentrification and find the lost history of a Harlem Renaissance artist.
“Blue Light Yokohama” (Minotaur) is a new crime novel by Nicolas Obregon in which Tokyo police inspector Iwata is assigned to investigate a disturbing multiple murder. He’s in a department whose superiors don’t want him there and an uncooperative female partner. He’s in a race with time as he struggles to solve the case before his boss has him transferred.
“Women of Abstract Expressionism” (Denver Art Museum in association with Yale University Press) edited by Joan Marter with an introduction by Gwen F. Chanzit, Exhibiton Curator is a new book that serves as a catalog for a traveling exhibition that seeks to give renewed attention to the women artists in that American art movement. Although the exhibition only highlights the work of twelve of the women artists, the book encompasses more with reproductions and information on other women not represented in the show itself. In the essay entitled “The Advantages Of Obscurity – Women Abstract Expressionists in San Francisco” by Susan Landauer, the work of painters Bernice Bing and Emily Nakano is discussed. The only West Coast stop for this groundbreaking exhibition is the Palm Springs Art Museum, February – May, 2017
“The Blind Photographer – 150 extraordinary photographs from around the world” (Princeton Architectural Press) is a collection edited by Julian Rothenstein and Mel Gooding with an introduction by Candia McWilliam. These revelatory photographs suggest a deeper truth: that blindness is itself a kind of seeing, and that those who can see are often blind to the strangeness and beauty of the world around them. Includes work by Pragati, Pranav Lal, Satvir Jogi. Shivam Naik, Fahim Tamboli, Dharmarajan Iyer, and Rahul Shirat from India and Li Yan Shuang, Fu Gaoshan, Li Qi, Ma Tao and Jin Ling from China.
“The Crystal Ribbon” (Scholastic) by Celeste Lew tells the tale of a girl in Malaysia from a poor family forced to sell her to a wealthy family where she is expected to be a wife and nursemaid to a three-year old son. But with help from magical spirits and enchanted animals, she finds a way to reunite with her family and find her true place in the world.
Anuradha Roy’s new novel “Sleeping on Jupiter” (Graywolf Press) has three old women on their way to a seaside town who witness an assault on a young documentary filmmaker. Disturbed, they shrug off the encounter until all their lives intersect in the long, dark history of the place.
“Biography of Cancer” (Hatje Cantz) is an unusual photography book and journal by Jason Sangik Noh, a doctor who explores the cases of his patients.
“The Kidney Hypothetical Or How To Ruin Your Life In Seven Days (Scholastic) by Lisa Yee turns the classic stereotype of the straight “A” Asian American student going to an ivy league college success story on its head.
“Subversive Lives – A family History Of The Marcos Years” (Ohio University) by Susan F. Quimpo and Nathan Gilbert Quimpo is an oral history of the tumultuous years of resistance during the Marcos regime as personally witnessed by every member of a single family.
In “Ghost Month”, writer Ed Lin created a memorable character in Jing-nan, a guy who works in Taipei’s night market with a group of mis-fits. Now he’s back with a sequel entitled “Incensed – A Taipei Night Market Novel” (Soho). When the character’s gangster uncle asks Jing-nan to look after his troubled sixteen-year-old daughter, he and she get into more trouble than they bargained for.
In “Super Sushi Ramen Express – One Family’s Journey Through The Belly Of Japan” (Picador) by Michael Booth, the title says it all as he takes his family through a culinary journey throughout the country exploring its food and culture.
“In Medias Res – Inside Nalini Malani’s Shadow Plays” (Hatje Cantz) by Mieke Bal is a detailed look at the installation work by this female Indian artist whose work occupies a unique universe of personal exploration.
“Problems” (Coffee House Press) by Jade Sharma tells the story of a young woman with a smart mouth, time to kill and a heroin habit that isn’t much fun anymore. How she tries to survive in New York when her life turns to chaos is the tale here.
National book Award-winning author Ha Jin is back with a new novel entitled “The Boat Rocker” (Pantheon). The story is about a Chinese expatriate internet reporter known for his exposes of Chinese Communist corruption. When his ex-wife, an unscrupulous novelist who becomes a pawn of the regime in order to realize her dreams of literary fame, he is assigned to take her down. But in doing so, he jeopardizes his life and career.
As part of the “Made in Michigan Writers Series” comes a new volume of poetry by South Asian poet Zilka Joseph entitled “Sharp Blue Search of Flame” (Wayne State University) that Linda Gregerson calls “Deeply felt and lushly rendered, these poems weave a tapestry of sorrow and celebration, tenderness and outrage, bodily longing and bodily vulnerability.”
“Filipino Studies – Palimpsests of Nation and Diaspora” (NYU) as edited by Martin F. Manalansan IV and Augusto F. Espiritu offers up a collection of vibrant voices, critical perspectives, and provocative ideas about the cultural, political, and economic state of the Philippines and its diaspora and gives convincing evidence that the field of Philippine studies has come into its own. Includes an essay by UW Professor Rick Bonus.
“Justin Chin – Selected Works” (Manic D Press) edited by Jennifer Joseph. Chin was a queer Asian American poet from Southeast Asia who found his home in the Bay Area. A legend for his spoken word performances, his poems found dualities from the sacred to the profane, health to illness and hope to despair. He also explored the experience of living with HIV which progressed into AIDS in his final years. With commentary and appreciations by fellow writers like R. Zamora Linmark, Timothy Liu, Michelle Tea and many others.
“Dothead” (Knopf) is a new book of poems by Amit Majmudar. Don Patterson writes that his poems “reflect the uncomfortable complexity of the human animal. He has no hesitation in juxtaposing the serious and the grave, the base and the transcendent, and those acts of gentleness and brutality which define us, but his ability to turn on a dime will often have the reader laughing or shivering before he has a chance to prepare his defenses.”
“Blackacre” (Graywolf Press) is a new collection of poetry by Monica Youn already longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award For Poetry. The title refers to a term for a hypothetical plot of land. Youn uses that term to suggest landscape, legacy or what is allotted to each of us. This book fearlessly explores new territories of art, meaning, and feeling.
“The Attention Merchants – The Epic Scramble To Get Inside Our Heads” (Knopf) by Tim Wu looks at how the internet has absorbed and taken over our lives. Wu looks at this industry that works 24/7 at the capture and resale of human attention and how it grew into the defining industry of our time and at what cost to our personal lives.
In “100 Chinese Silences” (Les Figues Press), poet Timothy Yu uses his wicked humor to take on stereotypes of Asians in the media, Hollywood, popular culture and literature and skewers the Western representation of China and the Chinese.
Deepak Unnikrishnan’s “Temporary People” (Restless Books) won the “Restless Books Prize For New Immigrant Writing” and this book of stories is one of the first to look at the lives of foreign nationals in the United Arab Emirates who make up the 80 percent of the population, brought in to construct the towering monuments of urban wealth. This group works without the rights of citizenship, endures harsh working conditions and must eventually leave the country. This debut novel gives voice for the first time to these “guest workers” of the Gulf.
Respected Japanese literary scholar Donald Keene is out with a new book entitled “The First Modern Japanese – The Life of Ishikawa Takuboku” (Columbia) which looks at the short life of a Japanese poet who served as a pivotal figure of modernity as Japan ushered itself into the 20th century.
9/11 completely changed the landscape of America but it also threw suspicion upon any Americans who remotely looked like they came from the Middle East or South Asia as possible terrorists or threats to national security raising again the specter of wrong-headed patriotism that threw Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II. Two books address this issue head-on. “The 9/11 Generation – Youth, Rights, and Solidarity in the War on Terror” (NYU) by Sunaina Marr Maira looks at how young people from Muslim and Arab American communities born after 9/11 have forged political coalitions based on new racial and ethnic categories, even while under constant scrutiny and begun to fight for their civil and human rights as American citizens. “Brown Threat – Identification in the Security State” (University of Minnesota) by Kumarini Silva is a contemporary meditation on the issues of race in this post 9/11 era. He argues that “brown” is no longer just a cultural, ethnic or political identity but now after 9/11, the Patriot Act and wars in the Middle East has codified into a strategy of identification rife with xenophobic, imperialistic and racist ideologies to target those who do not fit neatly into ideas of nationhood.
“The Story Of A Brief Marriage” (Flatiron) is a novel by Anuk Arudpragasam that captures intimate human emotions in the face of war. During the civil war in Sri Lanka, a young man in an evacuee camp is desperate to avoid conscription into the rebel army. Fate hands him an offer of escape when he gets an unexpected proposal from a stranger to marry his daughter. Poetic and philosophic, this slim novel is unafraid to look at issues of death, war, life and love when everything else has been uprooted and torn asunder.
“Hurry Home Honey” (Burning Deck) is a new book of love poems by poet/translator Sawako Nakayasu collected over ten years. Craig Watson calls it “An extraordinary voice—“ and “A sense of youth that is marked by a hope, a sense of possibility.”
Internationally known Japanese crime novelist Keigo Higashino’s sweeping new novel entitled “Under the Midnight Sun” (Minotaur) looks back at a twenty-year old murder, two teenagers linked by the crime, and a detective’s obsession to finally uncover the truth. A complex, psychological story that looks at crime and its reverberating after-effects.
“VIETNAM: A New History” (Basic Books) by Christopher Goscha looks at the events that created the modern state of this country, forty years after the end of the American war in Vietnam. The author examines the many ways Vietnam has historically been divided, and shows how Western colonialism was far from the only force bringing the country into the modern age.
“A Tibetan Grammar” (Burning Deck) by Benedicte Vilgrain as translated from the French by Keith Waldrop. Cole Swensen says this book “explores language from an almost architectural perspective, using the structure of Tibetan to examine how a language creates categories—and then immediately overflows them.”
“The Black Panthers – Portraits From An Un finished Revolution” (Nation Books) Edited by Bryan Shih and Yohuru Williams. In this book, photojournalist Bryan Shih and historian Yohuru Williams offer a reappraisal of the party’s history and legacy using portraits, interviews with surviving Panthers and illuminating essays by leading scholars to tell their unique story.
“The Human Jungle” (Chin Music Press) is a scathing look at China as it heads into the 21st century not fully cognizant of its own uncontrollable power in this new novel by Cho Chongnae. The author is one of Korea’s accomplished writers and he sees China through the eyes of the immigrant. Another masterly translation by Seattle couple, Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton.
“Goze – Women, Musical Performance, and Visual Disability in Traditional Japan” (Oxford) by Gerald Groemer looks at the tradition of blind women musicians who once roamed rural Japan and makes their story come alive.
“Slow Boat To China And Other Stories” (Columbia) by Ng Kim Chew as translated and edited by Carlos Rojas gives us a look at Malaysian Chinese literature today. The author observes issues of ethnicity, language, and culture and how they create both identity and conflict in the multiethnic world of Southeast Asia.
“Eve Out Of Her Ruins” (Deep Vellum) by Ananda Devi as translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman gives us a rare look at the hidden life of an impoverished neighborhood in the capital of Mauritius and the hopes and dreams of this island nation.
“Meet Me at the Bamboo Table – Everyday Meals Everywhere” (Chin Music) by A. V. Crofts explores the intimate ritual of breaking bread and sharing food amongst strangers all over the world.
“Memorials To Shatterted Myths – Vietnam to 9/11” (Oxford) by Harriet F. Senie looks at how Americans today honor the loss of civilian life and what we make of memorials to those we lost.
“Ten Thousand Waves” (WingsPress) by Wang Ping gives collective voice to the people of China, their cries of outrage, their wishes and their unfulfilled dreams.
The Idemitsu family and brand is well known in Japan as Shell Oil is in the West. Now comes a novel by Mako Idemitsu, daughter of that family entitled “White Elephant” (Chin Music) as translated by Julie Winters Carpenter. The story revolves around two sisters from an illustrious Japanese family who struggle to uphold the family legacy while maintaining their own identity as women on both coasts of America.
“Not A Self-Help Book – The Misadventures Of Marty Wu” (Shade Mountain Press) is a novel by Yi Shun Lai. When her career melts down in the states, a young woman returns to what she hopes will be the comforts and security of home in Taiwan only to find it isn’t easier there either. This is the journey of a woman who tries to balance familial expectations and her own creative dreams.
“A Japanese Name – An American Story” (Third Place Press) by Suma Yagi is a beautifully designed and illustrated volume of poetry by this Seattle Nisei poet about the internment camp experience and how it affected her family. From the poem, “December, 1941” comes this opening stanza. “Our lives turned like a glass jar/flipped upside down, suffocating us./ Hairline cracks grew deep and wide/until the glass shattered and our world/ collapsed.” Go to www.thirdplacepress.com for details.
“The Invisibility Cloak” (NYRB) is a comic novel by Ge Fei translated by Canaan Morse about an amiable loser just trying to survive in contemporary Beijing. Peppered with witty commentary and an emotional depth that will have you turning the pages as you root for the protagonist.
Joy Kogawa is one of Canada’s most revered novelists and “Gently To Nagasaki” (Caitlin Press) is her look back on a life and family filled with heartache, the history of internment, connections to Hiroshima/Nagasaki. She comes away from it all in the end, not bitter, but compassionate and forgiving.
“Bushido – The Soul Of The Samurai” (Shambhala) is a graphic novel taken from the book by Inazo Nitobe adapted by Sean Michael Wilson and illustrated by Akiko Shimojima.
“The Problem With Me And Other Essays About Making Trouble In China Today” (Simon & Schuster) by Han Han collects the thoughts of one of China’s most popular bloggers. For the younger generation looking for a way to process today’s China, its culture and politics.
“The Conjoined” by Jen Sookfong Lee tells the story of a foster mom whose death sets off a controversy. Her daughter discovers the bodies of two teenage Chinese Canadian sisters frozen in her mom’s freezer. Authorities had always assumed that they had run away. Re-opening the case, this taut thriller of a novel reveals the cracks in society’s social fabric based on family, class and race. This novel comes out on ECW Press of Toronto in Sept., 2016. Email is email@example.com.
“Land Of Fish And Rice-Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China” (Norton) is the latest book on the cuisine of China’s Lower Yangtze region by award-winning China food specialist author Fuchsia Dunlop.
“Gendered Bodies – Toward A Women’s Visual Art In Contemporary China” (UH Press) is a new book by Shuqin Cui that zeroes in on the art of women artists in today’s China.
“Deep Singh Blue” (Unnamed Press) by Ranbir Singh Sidhu tells the story of a California teenager in a conservative California town from an immigrant family who wants out. He falls in love with a married woman trapped in an abusive relationship. Coming of age is never easy.
“The Gun Room”(Bloomsbury) is the fourth novel by Georgina Harding about those who witness war and can’t forget it. A war photographer takes a classic shot of the Vietnam war only to flee and lose himself in the vastness of Tokyo. But history catches up with him, bringing the responsibility for the image he took.
“PICTURE BRIDE – Stories” (UH Press) by Barbara F. Kawakami is like opening an old chest of family stories. An oral history full of an earlier generation of courageous women who crossed the seas to marry strangers working in a harsh and unforgiving land.
“The Song Poet” (Metropolitan Books) by Kao Kalia Yang (“The Latehomecomer”) chronicles the life of her father, a poet who sacrifices his gift for his children’s future in a new land.
“The Border of Paradise” (Unnamed Press) by Esme Weijun Wang tells the tale of a dysfunctional American family as they navigate the trials and tribulations of money, madness and their chaotic life on the road in Brooklyn, Taiwan and California.
Seattle playwright/writer/poet Robert Francis Flor has a new book of poems based on his younger days working in the Alaskan canneries. It is “Alaskero Memories” (Carayan Press). Go to www.carayanpress.com for details.
“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.
“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.
“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.
Krys Lee (“Drifting House”) is back with a searing novel entitled “How I Became A North Korean” (Viking) that tells the inner and outer journey of three characters who flee North Korea only to find themselves trying to survive in dangerous Chinese territory.
Vi Khi Nao is a double threat with two new books debuting in two different genres. Her novel “Fish in Exile” (Coffee House Press) examines how a family copes with the loss of a child. Her poetry collection “The Old Philosopher” (Nightboat Editions) won the 2014 Nightboat Poetry Prize.
“In Order To Live – A North Korean Girl’s Journey To Freedom” (Penguin) by Yeonmi Park with Maryanne Vollers is the latest in a series of memoirs by people fleeing North Korea. At the age of thirteen, she makes the perilous journey with her mother to South Korea after betrayal and being sold into sexual slavery in China. “Every Falling Star” (Amulet) by Sungju Lee & Susan McClelland tells the story of a son from a military family who is forced to live on the streets after the mysterious relocation of his father to another city. He joins a dangerous street gang feared throughout North Korea to survive.
Jade Chang’s “The Wangs Vs. The World” (HMH) is her debut novel about an immigrant family who falls on hard times and takes a cross-country journey across America that brings them back together.
“Great Fortune Dream – The Struggle And The Triumphs Of Chinese Settlers In Canada, 1858 – 1966” (Caitlin Press) is a groundbreaking book on the little known history of Chinese settlers in that region by David Chuenyan Lai & Guo Ding.
“A Greater Music” (Open Letter) by Hae Suah translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith is a novel about a young Korean woman writer in Berlin. A fall into an icy river triggers her memories of relationships living in that international German city.
“The Way Things Were” (Picador) is a novel by Aatish Taseer that tells the story of a young man who must return his exiled father’s body back to New Delhi where he must deal with an elite world he has worked hard to escape. Looks at one man’s struggle with his inheritance and the cultural schizophrenia of modern India.
Professor Hayao Kawai is the author and editor of over fifty books on religious and psychological themes and has spent most of his life immersed in both Western and Japanese culture. He has served as Minister of Culture for Japan. He figures in two new books. “Dreams, Myths and Fairy Tales in Japan” (Daimon Verlag) by Kawai addreses Japanese culture insightfully, exploring the depths of the psyche from both Eastern and Western perspectives. In “Haruki Murakami goes to meet Hayao Kawai” (Daimon Verlag), the popular Japanese writer engages Kawai in conversation on universal issues.
“Hour Of The Ox” (Pitt) is a new book of poetry by Marci Galabretta Gancio-Bello which won the 2015 Donald Hall Prize For Poetry. This collection looks at a South Korean family and how it copes with the loss of a family member on an island. In spare, honest imagery, the poet reveals the pain of loss and the many ways of healing.
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen has published a unique version of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale. “The Little Mermaid” as translated by Jean Hersholt is richly illustrated in this volume by famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The art is taken from Kusama’s series “Love Forever” as well as a few brand new pictures done by the artist for the occasion.
“Maido – A Gaijin’s Guide To Japanese Gestures and Culture” (Schiffer Publishing) by Christy Colon Hasegawa looks at the body language that is as much part of Japanese communication as the words spoken. Done with entertaining color photos of everyday Japanese demonstrating the poses and gestures.
Tim Wu’s “The Attention Merchants – The Epic Scramble To Get Inside Our Heads” (Knopf ) explores in detail the history of those businesses who try to get inside our head for financial and political gain.
“Black Dragon River – A Journey Down the Amur River Between Russia and China” (Penguin Books) tells the story of a river contested by various countries and a three-thousand mile journey by horseback, rail, and Jeep along the river’s length.
“Good Girls Marry Doctors – South Asian American Daughters on Obedience and Rebellion” (Aunt Lute) is an anthology edited by Piyali Bhattacharya that tells honest stories from a diverse array of powerful women often hidden from the public eye.
“Ballpoint Art” (Laurence King Publishing) is an exciting new art book by Trent Moore that looks at the history of art created with the simple ballpoint pen and profiles some of the current practitioners of this unique art form today. The artists come from all over the world and their styles/subjects are divergent and all encompassing considering the simple tool at their means. The work of artists Il Lee, Wai Pong Yu, Joo Lee Kang, Noviadi Angkasapura, Yoshitomo Nara and Renato Orara are included with the work of many others in this fascinating volume.
Seattle-based Polynesian dance troupe Hura*Iti Mana offers free Tahitian and Hawaiian dance classes through January for youth and adults. Space is limited so go to www.huraitimana.com/danceclasses for details. Space is at 1225 South Weller St.
The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture will invest 240,000 dollars in arts & cultural facilities across the city for capital improvements and renovation. The noted local Japanese American archive Densho is on the list of awardees. For more details, go to http://www.seattle.gov/arts/cultural-facilities.
Artist Trust is accepting applications for 2017 Fellowship Awards. Deadline is Jan. 17, 2017. Go to https://artisttrust.submittable.com/ for details.
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.
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.
Photographic Center Northwest issues a call for entries for their 21st Juried Exhibition with a deadline of Feb. 1, 2017. Juror is San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art Curator Emeritus Sandra Phillips. The exhibit takes place March 27 – June 11 in 2017. For details, go to pcnw.org/submissions.
The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing is now accepting non-fiction submissions. Winner receives $10,000 and publication by Restless Books. Submissions accepted until Feb. 28, 2017. Go to Restlessbooks.com for details.