Friday, June 28, 2013

Ryoji Ikeda's DATA.TRON at Wood Street Galleries, from July 12.

A previous incarnation, by Liz Hingley.

Japanese sound artist Ryoji Ikdeda's DATA.TRON will open at the Wood Street Galleries downtown (map) on July 12. From the gallery website:
data.tron is an audiovisual installation, where each single pixel of visual image is strictly calculated by mathematical principles, composed from a combination of pure mathematics and the vast sea of data present in the world. These images are projected onto a large screen, heightening and intensifying the viewer’s perception and total immersion within the work.
Ikeda's website has fuller descriptions of this and similar installations.

On July 12th at 10 pm will be a Test Pattern live set:
This test audiovisual work from Ryoji Ikeda, presents intense flickering black and white imagery, which floats and convulses in darkness to a stark and powerful, highly synchronized soundtrack. 
Through a real–time computer programme, test pattern converts Ikeda’s audio signal patterns into tightly synchronized barcode patterns on screen. The velocity of the moving images is ultra–fast, some hundreds of frames per second, so that the work provides a performance test for the audio and visual devices, as well as a response test for the audience’s perceptions. 
test pattern is the third audiovisual concert in Ikeda’s datamatics series, an art project that explores the potential to perceive the invisible multi–substance of data that permeates our world.
 Taking various forms – installations, live performance and recordings – test pattern acts as a system that converts any type of data (text, sounds, photos and movies) into barcode patterns and binary patterns of 0s and 1s. The project aims to examine the relationship between critical points of device performance and the threshold of human perception, pushing both to their absolute limits.
The live set will be held at Pierce Studio on Liberty Ave. (map) and tickets are $10. The exhibit at the Wood Street Galleries will run through September 8.

YouTube has plenty of examples of his installations, if short videos on small computer screens count as examples. Here's a bit from 2012's The Transfinite in New York:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hong Kong based consultant among top candidates for Port Authority CEO.

Charles Monheim, currently working as a consultant in Hong Kong, is among three top candidates for the vacant Port Authority CEO position, writes the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Korean movie Two Weddings and a Funeral wins People's Choice Award from Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival.

Two Weddings and a Funeral

The Korean movie Two Weddings and a Funeral (두 번의 결혼식 한 번의 장례식') was awarded the RAGS Foundation People’s Choice Award from the 2013 Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival. It was announced by Silk Screen on the 17th, but the news didn't really break until Korea's StarNews picked it up today
김종광수 감독은 26일 낮 12시께 자신의 SNS 페이스북을 통해 수상 사실을 알렸다.

김조광수는 "제 장편 데뷔작 '두번의 결혼식과 한번의 장례식'이 미국 피츠버그에서 열린 실크 스크린 필름 페스티벌에서 관객상을 수상했습니다. 축하해주세요. 헤헤"라고 밝혔다.
from his Facebook's private Timeline and his Twitter on the 26th:

Origami in East Liberty, Butler in July.

paper heart
Unaffiliated picture via tulinishimura.

The Carnegie Library branch in East Liberty (map) will host a free "Kids Create: Fourth of July Origami" on July 3 from 3:30 to 4:30, presented by Emmaline Silk of the Origami Club of Pittsburgh:
Join us in the children's room and learn the art of Japanese paperfolding. Celebrate the Fourth of July and fold hats, flags and more! For children and adults, too!
The libraries in East Liberty and Squirrel Hill will also host various free origami workshops throughout July.

In Butler, the Maridon Museum (map) will hold an origami workshop on July 9. It's $5 per person and reservations are required.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Korean Red Invaders Drive Within Suburbs of Capital".

On June 25, 1950 North Korea rolled into South Korea and declared war shortly thereafter. On the 26th, Eastern Standard Time, it made headlines in the Pittsburgh Press.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Attention Pittsburgh's Kenny Chesney fans:

A timely and appropriate one of "36 Iconic Tokyo Metro Subway Manner Posters" teaching riders about etiquette in public.

Taiwanese inventors win 70 medals at Pittsburgh's INPEX.


From FocusTaiwan on the annual invention trade show in Pittsburgh:
Taiwan bagged 37 gold medals, 33 silver medals and five special awards on Friday night at the 28th Invention and New Product Exposition (INPEX), held from June 19-21 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the United States.

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Jiang Yi-huah both sent congratulatory messages to the Taiwan delegation soon after learning of the Taiwanese inventors' brilliant performances.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Enka singer Jero given University of Pittsburgh Medallion Award.

Via the University of Pittsburgh Asian Studies Center and Jero's blog.

Pittsburgh native and 2003 University of Pittsburgh graduate Jero (Jerome White) is presented with a University of Pittsburgh Medallion Award, given to graduates who have "brought honor to the University and whose efforts have contributed to Pitt’s progress".

For more on Jero, try Google or this 2008 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette feature. It appears to be an unwritten rule that when covering Jero one must make numerous references to rap and hip-hop because he's black. The Youngstown Vindicator outshone all others with: "Part Public Enemy, part Sinatra, part schmaltz".

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My The Style My & Fitch: 피츠버그영문티.

피츠버그영문티My The Style My & Fitch

Korean tops arrange English words, phrases, and logos in nonsensical combinations---sometimes with great results---and this season Joamom offers something for fashion-forward ladies who enjoy both local shout-outs and Gibberlish allusions to fancy clothing retailers.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Prejudices don't fall off like an old coat": more on Japanese-Americans relocated to Pittsburgh.

In March we looked at length at the history of Japanese-American forced relocation to Pittsburgh, where an old North Side orphanage was to house families brought from the west coast to western Pennsylvania to work. The proposal was protested by North Side residents, though ultimately only two families stayed there in mid-August, 1945. There were letters to the editor criticizing Pittsburghers' attitudes toward these relocated citizens, but the newspapers didn't devote space to the uprooted Japanese-Americans themselves. On August 11, 1945, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette talked with a few living in the area for the page three piece "Nisei Thrilled At Surrender Offer of Japs":
Nisei Thrilled At Surrender Offer of Japs PittsburghWhat do the Nisei (Japanese-Americans) who are living in the Pittsburgh district think of Japan's offer to surrender?

Well, at least two of them are thrilled at the news.

But they want to know if there will be any change in the attitude of the men and women of the Twenty-sixth ward, who at a recent mass meeting jeered down the War Relocation Authority's attempt to house the Nisei there.

A skeptical Nisei is Hana Eejima, who in high school was awarded the American Legion Medal for outstanding citizenship.

"Prejudices don't fall off like an old coat," said Hana yesterday. "People who were prejudiced against the Nisei are the kind of people who always have a petty hatred against something are other. But here are enough nicer, more liberal people in Pittsburgh who make up for those few who caused trouble about housing the Nisei here."

Hana is one of the many young Japanese-Americans who found refuge here. She is employed in a suburban home.

Edward and Mrs. Shinizu, janitors at the Beth Shalom Synagogue, expressed thankfulness that the war is "practically over." About anti-Nisei prejudice here, Mr. Shinizu said:

"I think that it will wear off eventually."
She was familiar to the paper and its readers through a June 26, 1945 Post-Gazette profile on her, "Young Nisei Girl Proud Of Her Medal".
Hana Eejima took the bronze medal lovingly out of its cotton-padded leather box. She smiled wistfully as she read its inscription.

On one side it said "For God and Country" and on the reverse side, "Awarded to Hana Eejima for outstanding character, personality, all-around scholarship and citizenship."

"The American Legion gave me this when I was in high school in California," said the pretty Japanese-American girl in her low cultured voice. "I had majored in American history and I thought America was the greatest place in the world. I still do, too!" she added with a defiant toss of her had.

She didn't add "In spite of some of my fellow countrymen."

Hana is one of the Japanese-Americans, all native born, who have been brought to Pittsburgh by the War Relocation Authority.

She is a daughter of a Japanese college-educated man who came to this country 57 years ago to continue his studies at Columbia University and liked America so well he never returned to his native land. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, she was uprooted from her own comfortable home (which boasted a three-car garage and was staffed with servants) and sent to the Santa Anita assembly center in California, along with other west coast people of Japanese descent.

"I was awfully shaken by it at the time, but now it all seems like a bad dream," she said yesterday.

The Eejima family was sent from California to Southern Colorado, where she, her parents and two brothers were housed in a one-room barracks equipped with army cots.

The worst experience of the internment was when her Japanese-American soldier friends returned on furlough to visit their parents in the camp.

Some of them had been wounded and they couldn't help feeling hurt when they had to come from their own army camps to another camp to see their parents," she revealed. "Most of them wouldn't talk about it, but several of them did say, 'What are we fighting for?'"

Brothers in Army

Hana's two brothers are teaching Japanese to American servicemen at the Naval Language School at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo. Her parents, now quite old, live with them.

Now 24, Hana, who never performed a household chore more strenuous than drying the dishes or helping her father rake his produce gardens, is working as a domestic in the country home of a Wexford family. She plans to enter the University of Pittsburgh in the fall and later will study to become a librarian.

She wouldn't comment on the cold reception she and her fellow Japanese-Americans have received in Pittsburgh. All she would say was "I like Pittsburgh. I like being free again. And I know it will all work out all right someway."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Traditional Confucianism: The Core of Asian Civilization" lecture at Maridon Museum, June 20.

Dr. Betty Anderson will present "Traditional Confucianism: The Core of Asian Civilization" at the Maridon Museum (map) in Butler on June 20th at 6:30 pm. It's free, but reservations are required.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pirates' "inferior drawing power" scuttles trip to Japan (in 1965).

On June 14, 1965, the St. Petersburg Times told us "Japanese Cancel Pirate Post-Season Ball Tour", a story from wire reports about the cancellation of a biannual fall exhibition between selected Japanese and Major League teams.
Japanese sponsors have canceled a scheduled postseason tour of the Pittsburgh Pirates to Japan this fall because of the fifth-place National League team's "inferior drawing power" here, an official of the Tokyo sponsoring organization said yesterday.

Sotaro Suzuki, an adviser on baseball affairs for the Tokyo newspaper Yomiuri, also disclosed yesterday that Ford C. Frick, the American baseball commissioner, had rejected a Japanese proposal last fall that the series winners in both countries play in Japan for the first "world championship" this year.

Suzuki said that Frick called the plan "premature" when it was advanced by Japanese organized baseball.

To import the Pirates to play against Japan's best would be a "suicidal" business proposition, Suzuki declared.

Suzuki said Yomiuri and a rival Tokyo newspaper, Mainichi, have taken turns in paying the expenses of a visiting major league team every two years since 1956. Last year's tour, for which it was Yomiuri's turn to pick up the tab, was postponed because of the Olympic Games in Tokyo last October.

Suzuki indicated that the Tokyo organization would have preferred the Los Angeles Dodgers for the tour this fall, and had made overtures to Walter O'Malley, the Dodger president. Suzuki said he had suggested to O'Malley that he seek Frick's approval for the trip, but the proposal had apparently failed.
A different version of the story had the headline pictured above. (Some imperfect scanning means that there are two page 59s included in the June 14 edition, with two different titles).

An article found in the June 17 Lodi News-Sentinel says
The Pittsburgh Pirates will be invited by the Homiuri [sic] newspaper to play post season goodwill games next year in Japan only if they win the National League pennant in 1965.
The Pirates were 29-28 on June 14, 1965, and their roster that year had three Hall-of-Famers. Of four teams who toured Japan previously---1962 Detroit Tigers, 1960 San Francisco Giants, 1958 St. Louis Cardinals, 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers---only the Dodgers made the World Series in the current season or the year before.

Their "inferior drawing power" wasn't really why the series was cancelled. A month earlier, Commissioner Frick threatened, on his part, cancellation of the series over stalled contract negotiations for Masanori Murakami, a Japanese pitcher who was claimed by both the San Francisco Giants and the Nankai Hawks.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Live from UB Rough Cut Screening, June 25.

Live from UB roughcut screening

A rough-cut screening for Live from UB, a documentary by Pittsburgh-based Lauren Knapp about the rock scene in Mongolia, at the Melwood Screening Room in Oakland (map) on June 25.

Free advanced Korean class, Saturdays in Oakland.

An advanced Korean class will be held every Saturday this summer from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at the Carnegie Library in Oakland (map).
This class will focus on conversational Korean, utilizing the scripts of popular Korean television shows. Each class lasts two hours and will meet every Saturday in the Large Print Room on the First Floor.
Registration is required and can be done so on the class page.

As with all levels of these free library classes, advanced is an estimate and really belongs in quotation marks. Regardless of your level, though, you'll probably find a Korean class that fits among the three offered through the library. Korean for Beginners is basically instruction in hangeul (the Korean script), while Korean II is just a little beyond that.

Monday, June 10, 2013

New group for pungmul, samul nori in Pittsburgh.

A televised Pungmul performance from KBS.

Interested in practicing Korean drumming (풍물, 사물놀이) in Pittsburgh? There's a group for that.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Taiwanese "I Tea Cafe" opens in Shadyside.


On June 4, the Taiwanese café "I Tea Café (萌茶)" opened on 709 Bellefonte St. in Shadyside (map). The menu, pictured below, features 12 types of the increasingly-popular and increasingly-common-in-Pittsburgh Bubble Tea as well as other teas, smoothies, and coffees, and food like hot pot and noodle soups.

I Tea Cafe menu frontI Tea Cafe menu backCIMG4361CIMG4357

It'll deliver, too, if the order is over $15.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Taiwanese film Yi Yi at Maridon Museum, June 13.

The Taiwanese film Yi Yi (A One and a Two) will play at Butler's Maridon Museum (map) on June 13 as a continuation of this spring's Taiwanese Film Series.

A lengthy 2011 Alt Screen post quotes from numerous contemporary and retrospective reviews the 2000 film. From a hyperbolic 2009 Salon review of what "might be the greatest [film] ever":
For me, Edward Yang’s “Yi Yi: A One and a Two …” may be the greatest film ever, let alone the best of the decade. What does that mean? For starters, it means that Yang’s final film lies somewhere between formalist hard-assery and middlebrow accessibility, between slow-burning Ozu and — in the abruptly climaxing story lines of the last hour — understated soap opera. In telling the story of a Taiwanese family in crisis, Yang has three hours to zero in on what makes one family’s members tick while positioning them exactly in the center of late-20th-century global economics: micro- and macro-, both specifically Taiwanese in its business scenes and universal in its familial dynamics.
The movie starts at 6:00 pm, is presented by Slippery Rock's Dr. Ken Harris, and runs nearly three hours.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"Education Abroad", a mini K-drama filmed at CMU.

Season 1, Episode 1, from December 2012. Links to other episodes are found on Terry Song's YouTube channel.

An errant Google search recently turned up Terry Song's "Education Abroad", a mini Korean-language drama series filmed and set in Carnegie Mellon University over the past year. Song is a Pittsburgh native and built the cast for "the dramatic story of two fated lovers who meet in high school and are reunited in college" from local Korean students. There are ten episodes of the English-subtitled series across two seasons and running on YouTube. A series synopsis, from the February 2012 Kickstarter campaign page:
The show is about Danny Han and Heejung Kim. Two seniors who meet in high school and fall in love. Though Heejung is a new foreign exchange student from Korea, Danny is able to make a connection with her. However, when Heejung's father finds out that Danny is from a poor immigrant family with no high ranking name and can't even speak Korean, he quickly rejects their love and sends Heejung back to Korea. Although she cannot forget about Danny, she does as her father wishes, but returns to America for college at a prestigious international university. Danny, heart-broken, vows to never let something like this happen to him again, and goes to Korea himself as soon as he graduates. There he gets a tutoring job teaching English. He returns to America for college about a year later with a firm grasp of the language, culture, and even a Korean name. But what the two never expected was seeing each other again, as they both happen to attend the same prestigious international university!
Terry was kind enough to answer a few questions by email this week:

Hong Kong movie A Simple Life in North Hills, June 12.

Readers in the North Hills who have some free time Wednesday afternoon could visit Northland Public Library (map) for A Simple Life (桃姐), the 2012 Hong Kong movie that's June's installment of the library's Foreign Film Series. Dramacrazy provides a summary likely plagiarized from elsewhere:
A solemn yet humorous exploration of seniority, the film tells a bittersweet story revolving around the lives of elderly maid Sister Tao and her master, played respectively by veteran actress Deanie Ip and superstar Andy Lau, whose past screen collaborations serve to inspire enormous chemistry between their characters. Their impeccable performances have earned numerous prestigious prizes for the film, including Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, Best Director, Actor, and Actress at the Golden Horse Awards, and the rare feat of the Big Five (Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Actor, and Actress) at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Sister Tao (Deanie Ip) has served five generations of the Leung family since she was thirteen. Today, at over seventy years old, she continues to take care of Roger (Andy Lau), the only member of the family left in Hong Kong. After suffering a stroke at home one day, Tao realizes it's about time she retired, so she asks Roger to find her a nursing home for rehabilitation. Tao struggles to adjust to the strange new environment as well as her eccentric fellow inmates, but Roger is there to care for this mother figure who has devoted her life to his.
The movie runs from 2 - 4 pm and is free. You can also watch the movie online with English subtitles on, or can buy it from YesAsia for, like, $25.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry at Harris Theater, June 13 and 15.

Ai Weiwei Never Sorry Pittsburgh

As part of the Pittsburgh Filmmakers' "Art on Film" series, the 2012 documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry will play at the Harris Theater on June 13 and June 15. The official website writes of the film and the subject:
Ai Weiwei is China's most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.
It's been in Pittsburgh a few times the past year, and the City Paper wrote last September:
Weiwei enjoys fawning attention in the West, particularly for his pointed critiques of his homeland's government, while in Beijing, his celebrity and influence is constantly checked by the authorities.
The Harris Theater is located downtown in the Cultural District (map). The movie plays at 7:30 pm on the 13th, and at 4:00 pm on Saturday the 15th. Admission is free.

Monday, June 3, 2013

"Floating Echo" coming to Pittsburgh, June 7 - 16.

Floating Echo / Buddha
"Floating Echo / Buddha" by Daniel Antal (Creative Commons).

The big news out of Pittsburgh today is the giant rubber duckie coming to its rivers this September. Before that, though, a large, transparent Buddha will float outside of Point State Park from June 7th through June 16th at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. "Floating Echo", by Korean-born New York artist Chang-jin Lee is, says her website,
a transparent inflatable statue of Buddha sitting in lotus on the water. The clear giant plastic sculpture floats like an invisible being. Through the statue one can see the nature, landscape, and architecture around the water. Its subtle presence embraces and reflects the surroundings, both natural and man-made. It is seeming present and absent at the same time.
Lee's floating installation is ten feet by ten feet by ten feet. It's making its first appearance in Pittsburgh, and Lee's "Comfort Women Wanted" will appear in the Wood Street Galleries later this year.
Futurama Fry meme + pho at Squirrel Hill's Tân Lạc Viên Vietnamese Bistro.

Futurama Fry pho

Sunday, June 2, 2013

CMU's Matsuri raises $3027 for middle school damaged by 3/11 tsunami.

The Japanese Student Association at Carnegie Mellon University raised $3027.19 in its March 29, 2013 Matsuri for Ishinomaki city's Mintao Junior High School (石巻市立湊中学校), and last month some of its members met with the principal to deliver the check. All of the profits from the 2013 festival went to the school. Their website on the festival's fundraising, updated last year on its aims and 2012's contributions, reads in part:
Minato Middle school used to be located on the coast, one of the most vulnerable places for Earthquakes. It is currently using make-shift shelters on the playground of a near by elementary school. While a lot of recovery has already been in place and the school receives aid from the government, it is no where near the state where it was before the earthquake.

Last year we were able to help students get equipment for sports and also support their music classes through the profits made at Matsuri.

City of Asylum's Exiled Voices of China and Tibet, June 8.

City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, which "provide[s] sanctuary to endangered literary writers", is hosting the day-long "Exiled Voices of China and Tibet" on June 8. The website says it's a
series of free talks, readings and performances featuring Independent Chinese PEN Center President and Sampsonia Way columnist Tienchi Martin Liao, poet and musician Liao Yiwu and human rights activist and lawyer Chen Guangcheng. Hosts and moderators include New York Times Beijing correspondent Andrew Jacobs, Pittsburgh World Affairs Council President and CEO Steven E. Sokol, and WESA’s Paul Guggenheimer. At 8 PM, enjoy Rock & Rap for Freedom, a concert featuring JasiriX and Tibetan exiled rockers Melong Band, with a special appearance by City of Asylum poet Huang Xiang.
It runs from 1 pm to 10 pm at the Tent on Monterey Street on the North Side (map). It's free, but reservations are necessary. The event's webpage has a schedule and more information.

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