Stories from Asian America
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Stories from Asian America: Performances and Community Discussion
Five artists/artist groups bring their Asian Minnesotan perspectives to themes in Asian Americans through performance, visual arts, photography, puppetry, spoken word.
More content to come as the artists respond to the documentary.
Special Thank you to our event partners: Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP), CAPI, Indigenous Roots, and Pangea World Theater.
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Asian Americans Preview
Asian Americans is a five-hour film series that will chronicle the contributions, and challenges of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in America. Personal histories and new academic research will cast a fresh lens on U.S. history and the role Asian Americans have played in it.
- Twin Cities PBS
TPT uses television, interactive media and community engagement to advance education, culture and citizenship. TPT tells stories that matter.
- Marlina Gonzalez
Marlina Gonzalez is a seasoned arts curator, writer, theater and media arts producer with over two decades of experience using theater and media arts as a tool for social change. She has conceived and produced numerous international film festivals, multidisciplinary art exhibits and performances for Walker Art Center, Intermedia Arts, The Minneapolis Foundation, and Asian CineVision, among others. During the Republican National Convention in 2008, she was Program Director for The UnConvention, a series of participatory media, art and educational events which gained national press attention, including The New York Times. In 2009, The Filipina Women’s Network (FWN) named Marlina as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S. as an Innovator and Thought Leader. In 2010, she curated a multi-media installation entitled Instructions For Peace, a touring public art and gallery exhibition of interactive multimedia art installations containing people’s instructions for peace, which had exhibitions and creative engagements in San Francisco (part of Zero1 Biennial San Jose), New York (Café Habana), Minneapolis (Walker Art Center, Katherine E. Nash Gallery), among others. In 2012, she received one of three Joyce Awards for Theater through a commission with Pangea World Theater and Teatro Del Pueblo, allowing her to write and co-direct Isla Tuliro (Island of Confusion) (2018), a play about language and colonialism. Marina teaches Pan Asian Theater History at Augsburg University. She holds a B.A. in Broadcast Communication (Minor in Anthropology) from the University of the Philippines and M.A. in Radio/TV/Film (Minor in Persuasive Communication) from the University of North Texas. As TPT’s Community Impact Manager, she works with community leaders and TPT content generators using human centered design thinking to ensure long-term community impact of TPT’s creative process and productions.
- Saymoukda Vongsay
Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is a Lao American writer. She was born in a refugee camp in Nongkhai, Thailand and immigrated to Minnesota in 1985. Because of her unique background, her work is focused on creating tools and spaces for the amplification of refugee voices through poetry, theater, and experimental cultural production. CNN’s “United Shades of America” host W. Kamau Bell called her work “revolutionary.” Governor Mark Dayton recognized her with a “Lao Artists Heritage Month” Proclamation. She’s a recipient of a Sally Award for Initiative from the Ordway Center for Performing Arts which “recognizes bold new steps and strategic leadership undertaken by an individual...in creating projects or artistic programs never before seen in Minnesota that will have a significant impact on strengthening Minnesota’s artistic/cultural community.” Her plays have been presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Theater Mu, Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists, and Theater Unbound. She is a Playwright's Center and Theater Mu fellow in playwriting, a Loft Literary Center fellow in poetry, a Loft Literary Center fellow in children's and young adult literature, a Twin Cities Media Alliance fellow in public art, and an Aspen Ideas Bush Foundation fellow. Her poetry, essays, plays, and short stories can be found in the Asian American Literary Review, Massachusetts Review, Jungle Azn Magazine, Rubin Museums' Spiral Magazine, Journal for Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement, Saint Paul Almanac, as well as on coffee sleeves (Coffee House Press) and on metro transit (Saint Paul Almanac). She's received creative grants from the Jerome Foundation, Bush Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Forecast Public Art, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the MN State Arts Board, and elsewhere. She holds a Master in Liberal Studies degree and co-hosted a podcast on Minnesota Public Radio. She is currently a National Playwright in Residence at Theater Mu, a program of The Andrew Mellon Foundation. The award comes with a nearly $200,000 stipend.
- Chamindika Wanduragala
Chamindika is a Sri Lankan American artist working in puppetry, stop motion animation and visual art. She's also a DJ (DJ Chamun). Chamindika is the founder and Executive/Artistic Director of Monkeybear's Harmolodic Workshop, which supports Native, Black, IPOC in developing creative and technical skills in contemporary puppetry.
- Lue Thao (Cypherside)
Lue Thao, also known as Bboy Finisher, is a professional dancer that teaches, travels, and competes around the US. In 2017, Lue founded Cypher Side Dance School and Studio with support from fellow collective artists of Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center. He is currently a member of Optimistic Crew and has been dancing for 13 years with a teaching experience of 7 years. Lue has won over 20 competitions that includes in MN and out of state. Originally born in Thailand, Lue has been raised in the East Side of Saint Paul for the majority of his life and graduated from Harding High School. Lue has showcased on live TV for Fox 9 News and TPT. Lue also performs for the Minnesota NBA Timberwolves and Lynx halftime/quarter shows with a crew called First Avenue Breakers. Other special performances Lue has done is for Justin Timberlake’s half-time Super Bowl 52 show, Vanilla Ice for the I Love The 90s Tour, and with Tori Kelly for the Prince Tribute Concert!
- Meena Natarajan
Meena Natarajan is a playwright and director and the Executive and Literary Director of Pangea World Theater, a progressive, international ensemble space that creates at the intersection of art, equity and social justice. She has led the theater’s growth since it’s founding in 1995. Meena has co-curated and designed many of Pangea World Theater’s professional and community based programs. She has written at least ten full-length works for Pangea, ranging from adaptations of poetry and mythology to original works dealing with war, spirituality, personal and collective memory. Meena leads ensemble-based processes in Pangea that lead to works produced for the stage. She has also directed and dramaturged several original theater and performance art pieces. She is currently on the board of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists and is a National Theater Project Advisor at New England Foundation for the Arts. She was on the Advisory Committee of the Community Arts Network, was on the founding board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters and was the president of Women’s Playwrights International between 2000-2003. She has been awarded grants from the Theatre Communications Group, Playwrights Center and the Minnesota State Arts Board. She was recently awarded the Visionary Award for mid-career leaders from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
- Dipankar Mukherjee
Dipankar Mukherjee is a professional director originally from Calcutta, India with a 25-year history of directing. He is the Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater. He co-founded Pangea World Theater, an international theater in Minneapolis that is a progressive space for arts and dialogue. His aesthetics have evolved through his commitment to social justice, equity and deep spirituality and these factors along with relevant politics form the basis of his work. As a director, he has worked in India, England, Canada and the United States. Dipankar has received the Humphrey Institute Fellowship to Salzburg and has been a Ford Foundation delegate to India and Lebanon. He is a recent recipient of the Bush Leadership Fellowship award to study non-violence and peace methodologies in India and South Africa. Dipankar was invited to visit the White House as part of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders Delegation. In his rehearsal and workshop practices, Dipankar’s facilitated processes that work to disrupt colonial, racist and patriarchal modalities that we have inherited and collaboratively searches for an alternate way of working.
- Alica Thao
Alicia Thao is a Hmong American singer/songwriter born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Competent in different genres, she identifies as being an experimental indie/folk/soul artist. She began songwriting and playing the guitar when she was 14. Thao is known for her solo acoustic sets along with her unique, velvety voice and quirky story-telling. Some artists who inspire her work are Tori Kelly, Lianne La Havas, Raveena Aurora, and Mree.
The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.