Saturday, February 20, 2021

"An Evening of Traditional and Contemporary Japanese Music," February 26 (online) at Pitt.


The University of Pittsburgh's Department of Music will present "An Evening of Traditional and Contemporary Japanese Music" on February 26.
Please join graduate students Devon Osamu Tipp (PhD candidate in Music Theory/Composition) and Kanoko Kamata (2nd year PhD student in Sociology) for an evening of traditional and contemporary music for shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and shamisen (three string spike lute). Music featured on the program will include traditional and solo works, and music by composers Elizabeth Brown and Nancy Beckman.

Kanoko Kamata is a second year PhD student at the Sociology Department and studying about social movements, especially how people are discouraged or encouraged to participate in social movements. Her late grandmother was a singer and Shamisen player of min’yo, folk songs. She started her Shamisen training in Tokyo in Ikuta ryu (Kyoto style). Now she is learning Shamisen from Sumie Kaneko in Yamada ryu (Tokyo/Edo style). For more information, please visit www.kanokokamata.com.

Pittsburgh based composer/performer Devon Osamu Tipp creates unorthodox musical worlds from ostensibly incompatible realms. An Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellow in Music Theory/Composition at the University of Pittsburgh, Tipp has studied traditional Japanese music both in the US and Japan, and has appeared at conferences and festivals in the US, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please visit www.greengiraffemusic.info
The online event starts at 7:00 pm and a link to the stream is available here.

Friday, February 19, 2021

"From Hanok to Hanbok: Traditional Iconography in Korean Hip-Hop Music Videos" by Dr. CedarBough Saeji, February 24 at Pitt.


The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will host Dr. CedarBough Saeji and her talk "From Hanok to Hanbok: Traditional Iconography in Korean Hip-Hop Music Videos" on February 24 in the next installment of this term's Asia Pop series.
In her virtual lecture From Hanok to Hanbok: Traditional Iconography in Korean Hip-Hop Music Videos, Dr. Saeji will explore the contradictions and effects of the use of imagined and real Korean settings and traditional iconography in recent videos from Korean hip-hop artists. She investigates what symbols and icons are used to visually represent Korea in the videos, as they take a foreign genre and imbue it with Koreanness. These videos circulate and re-circulate a limited number of icons of Korea, because the images are meant not to portray pre-modern Korea in its complexity, but traditional Korea both as a symbol of national pride and as a (domestic and international) tourist destination where the palace is a backdrop and you wear a hanbok to create a visually striking Instagram post.
It starts at 6:30 pm and is free and open to the public, though registration is required.

2011 Taiwanese movie Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (賽德克·巴萊) February 23 at Pitt, followed by discussion with director.


The University of Pittsburgh's Taiwanese Student Association and Asian Studies Center will present a screening of the 2011 Taiwanese movie movie Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (賽德克·巴萊), followed by a discussion with director Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖) on February 23. The pre-registration deadline for the movie is February 21 at midnight, and registration has been opened to the public but due to a limited number of spots, preference will be given to Pitt and CMU students, faculty, and staff.

An overview of the movie, from a 2012 New York Times review:
Its story is based on the little-known Wushe Incident in 1930, when 300 warriors of the Seediq, an aboriginal people centered in Taiwan’s interior highlands, rose up against their Japanese oppressors. A brief historical preface explains that in 1895, the island of Taiwan was ceded by China to Japan, which subdued the native population and turned them into demoralized, alcoholic slaves. Steeped in mysticism, tribal folklore and Asian machismo, the film is a two-and-a-half-hour bloodbath that fetishizes the machete as the ultimate human slicing machine.
The movie starts at 5:00 pm, and the discussion at 8:30. Registration for the movie and registration for the discussion with Wei is required.

"Chinese Archive Collection and Project Initiative," February 25 at Pitt.


University of Pittsburgh East Asian Librarian Haihui Zhang will host an overview of its Chinese archives, "Chinese Archive Collection and Project Initiative," on February 25. The presentation begins at 3:00 pm and registration is required.

"2021 Lunar New Year Virtual Celebration," February 23 at Pitt.

via fourbrickstall (Creative Commons)

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center, Global Studies Center, and Institute for International Studies in Education will host the "2021 Lunar New Year Virtual Celebration" on February 23.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The event will occur in the evenning at Eastern Time because that is the best time for our global participants.

Join us for a virtual Lunar New Year celebration as we learn about the meanings and traditions of this important and festive holiday from global perspectives! All are invited!
It runs from 9:00 to 10:00 pm and is open to the Pitt community. Registration is required.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Netflix looking for a young Korean child for new Sandra Oh series filming locally.

Mosser Casting is looking for a local Korean child around one year of age for a Netflix series starring Sandra Oh. Those interested should email mosserextras@gmail.com; additional details and instructions below.

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) organizing COVID vaccine sign-ups for local seniors, offers Chinese-language support.


The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) is organizing COVID vaccine sign-ups for local Chinese speakers 65 and older. From its Facebook page, with other languages to come soon:
**COVID-19 Vaccine sign-up for people 65 years and older. Info in other languages coming soon!** 申請COVID-19疫苗接種: http://bit.ly/37rzeu6
匹茲堡大學醫學中心(UPMC)目前致力於協助年滿65歲或以上人士接種2019新型冠狀病毒疫苗 (2/17/2021資訊),亞太裔美國勞工聯盟匹茲堡分部 (APALA Pittsburgh) 在和匹茲堡大學醫學中心(UPMC)合作,協助年滿65歲或以上的民眾申請,您所提供的資訊只會和UPMC分享,UPMC將與年滿65歲或以上的申請者聯絡以確認申請者符合資格。
這個表格是針對年滿65歲或以上人士,年齡介於16-64之間且有特定醫療狀況的民眾可能符合賓州疫苗接種的資格,但並不符合本次的申請資格。
凡居住或工作在賓州的人士,疫苗費用全免。您無需任何醫療保險即可預約。
線上申請: http://bit.ly/37rzeu6
無法填寫線上表格的民眾,可以打 412-532-8517,我們的志工會在電話上協助你登記,若無人接聽請留言或傳短訊。
如有任何问题或需要协助填写表格,请發短信或留言至 412-532-8517 或来信 apalapgh@gmail.com。如您對接種疫苗有任何疑問,請諮詢您的醫療保健提供者。

"Coffee with Andrés" featuring Mai Khoi, February 26 and 28 with City of Asylum.


The City of Asylum's new "Coffee with Andrés" program will feature Vietnamese musician and activist Mai Khoi on February 26 and 28.
Take a coffee break with City of Asylum’s new Executive Director, Andrés Franco, in a new series of online chats called Coffee with Andrés.

Coffee is a central part of Andrés’ Colombian heritage and is one of his great passions. Coffee has stimulated conversation and ideas for hundreds of years, and coffeehouses have always been havens for free expression. Now Andrés, is creating his own, online coffee salon for the City of Asylum community.

Coffee with Andrés sessions feature conversations with writers and musicians, activists and artists, discussing their work and sharing a cup with Andrés—and with you.

The first guest is Vietnamese singer and activist Mai Khoi, the most recent exiled artist-in-residence on Sampsonia Way and an Artist Protection Fund (APF) Fellow in residence at the University of Pittsburgh. Khoi will share her story, her music, and teach Andrés how to make a traditional Vietnamese coffee.
The conversation starts at 12:00 on the 26th and plays again at 3:00 pm on the 28th. It's free but registration is required.

Mexican restaurant coming to Greenfield in the former home of Bill Ung's Tea Garden and the "best egg rolls in Pittsburgh."


Signage recently went up at 4371 Murray Ave. (map) in Greenfield for Audrina's Mexican Grille. This Mexican restaurant will be the latest in a long line of international restaurants, most recently Hamsah Mediterranian Grille, Babylon Cuisine, and Ethnic Foods. For several decades, though, it was the home of Bill Ung's Tea Garden and the self-proclaimed "best egg rolls in Pittsburgh."

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

More Minari virtual screenings added via Row House Cinema through February 25.


The Korean-American film Minari, playing in two local theaters, is also available for online viewing from the distributor via Row House Cinema, through February 25. There is a limited number of tickets per daily screening and some dates are already sold out, but more dates over the next week have been added.

A summary of the film, from the distributor:
A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

2020 Korean-American film Minari remains in Pittsburgh through February 25.


The 2020 Korean-American film Minari, which opened in Pittsburgh on February 11, will remain here through at least February 25. A synopsis, from the distributor:
A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.
It will continue at the Waterworks Cinema the Cinemark North Hills, and tickets are available online.

2020 Goro Miyazaki film Earwig and the Witch (アーヤと魔女) continues in Pittsburgh through February 25.


The 2020 Goro Miyazaki film Earwig and the Witch (アーヤと魔女), which opened in Pittsburgh on February 3, will stay in some local theaters through the 25th. A synopsis, from the distributor:
Growing up in an orphanage in the British countryside, Earwig has no idea that her mother had magical powers. Her life changes dramatically when a strange couple takes her in, and she is forced to live with a selfish witch. As the headstrong young girl sets out to uncover the secrets of her new guardians, she discovers a world of spells and potions, and a mysterious song that may be the key to finding the family she has always wanted.
It will continue at the Waterworks and Cranberry Cinemas. Tickets are available online; please note that some screenings are in Japanese with English subtitles while others are dubbed in English.

"Paisley Rekdal & Matthew Salesses Live Reading and Conversation," February 22 with City of Asylum.


City of Asylum will host "Paisley Rekdal & Matthew Salesses Live Reading and Conversation" on February 22.
Appropriate, A Provocation — Utah’s poet laureate Paisley Rekdal’s newest book is a timely, nuanced work dissecting the thorny debate around cultural appropriation and the literary imagination. Paisley Rekdal will be joined in conversation by bestselling author Matthew Salesses for a live discussion and audience Q&A.

How do we properly define cultural appropriation, and is it always wrong? If we can write in the voice of another, should we? And if so, what questions do we need to consider first? In Appropriate, creative writing professor Paisley Rekdal addresses a young writer to delineate how the idea of cultural appropriation has evolved—and perhaps calcified—in our political climate. What follows is a penetrating exploration of fluctuating literary power and authorial privilege, about whiteness and what we really mean by the term empathy, that examines writers from William Styron to Peter Ho Davies to Jeanine Cummins. Lucid, reflective, and astute, Appropriate presents a generous new framework for one of the most controversial subjects in contemporary literature.
The online event runs from 7:00 to 8:15 pm. It is free and open to the public, though registration is required.

Eddie Huang film Boogie in Pittsburgh, from March 5.


The upcoming Eddie Huang film Boogie will play in Pittsburgh from March 5. From the distributor:
From acclaimed writer, producer and restaurateur Eddie Huang comes his directorial debut Boogie, the coming-of-age story of Alfred “Boogie” Chin, a basketball phenom living in Queens, New York, who dreams of one day playing in the NBA. While his parents pressure him to focus on earning a scholarship to an elite college, Boogie must find a way to navigate a new girlfriend, high school, on-court rivals and the burden of expectation.
It will play locally at the Cinemark theaters in Monroeville and North Hills.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

African Cuisine moving into old Chaya spot, February 27.


Signage is up for a new restaurant, African Cuisine, set to move into the spot formerly occuped by Chaya on February 27. Chaya closed on January 30 after two decades in Squirrel Hill. A menu for the new restaurant is available online via The Soul Pitt.

New Chinese-Hong Kong film End Game (人潮洶湧) in Pittsburgh, from February 18.


The 2021 Chinese-Hong Kong film End Game (人潮洶湧) will open in Pittsburgh on February 18. A synopsis, from the South China Morning Post:
Produced by and starring Andy Lau Tak-wah, this black comedy directed and co-written by Rao Xiaozhi is a remake of the 2012 Japanese film Key of Life.

Lau plays an assassin who accidentally swaps identities with a hapless actor played by Xiao Yang, who won over many fans after his mesmerising turn as a movie-buff-turned-murder-suspect in the 2019 sleeper hit Sheep Without a Shepherd. Both characters are forced to reconsider their priorities in life after the swap leads to a chain of bizarre and hilarious encounters.
It plays locally at the Cinemark in Robinson and AMC Loews Waterfront and tickets are available online.

"From Hanok to Hanbok: Traditional Iconography in Korean Hip-Hop Music Videos" by Dr. CedarBough Saeji, February 24 at Pitt.


The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will host Dr. CedarBough Saeji and her talk "From Hanok to Hanbok: Traditional Iconography in Korean Hip-Hop Music Videos" on February 24 in the next installment of this term's Asia Pop series.
In her virtual lecture From Hanok to Hanbok: Traditional Iconography in Korean Hip-Hop Music Videos, Dr. Saeji will explore the contradictions and effects of the use of imagined and real Korean settings and traditional iconography in recent videos from Korean hip-hop artists. She investigates what symbols and icons are used to visually represent Korea in the videos, as they take a foreign genre and imbue it with Koreanness. These videos circulate and re-circulate a limited number of icons of Korea, because the images are meant not to portray pre-modern Korea in its complexity, but traditional Korea both as a symbol of national pride and as a (domestic and international) tourist destination where the palace is a backdrop and you wear a hanbok to create a visually striking Instagram post.
It starts at 6:30 pm and is free and open to the public, though registration is required.

Monday, February 15, 2021

2021 Chinese movie Assassin in Red (刺杀小说家), a.k.a. A Writer's Journey, continues in Pittsburgh through February 23.


The 2021 Chinese movie Assassin in Red (刺杀小说家), also known as A Writer's Journey, which opened in Pittsburgh on February 12, will continue here through at least February 23. A brief overview, from a Variety preview last year:
“Assassin in Red,” which is executive produced by Ning Hao and backed by CMC Pictures, tells the story of a father who is tasked with killing a novelist in order to save his daughter who went missing six years ago. It turns out that the man’s writing creates a fantastical world that ends up influencing the father’s quest. The film stars Lei Jiayin (“The Longest Day in Chang’an”), Yang Mi (“Tiny Times”), and Dong Zijian (“Mountains May Depart”).
It opened on the Lunar New Year and was the third-highest grossing film in China its first week. It plays locally at the AMC Loews Waterfront and the Cinemark in Robinson through the 17th, and at the Waterfront from the 18th, and tickets are available online.

"2021 Japan Lecture Series – Shofuso: Philadelphia's Japanese Gem," February 18.

Taken by me at Shofuso, April 2013.

The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia will present "2021 Japan Lecture Series – Shofuso: Philadelphia's Japanese Gem" on February 18.
Did you know that Philadelphia has one of the best Japanese gardens in North America? Shofuso Japanese House and Garden sits in Philadelphia's West Fairmount Park, which has had a continuous Japanese presence since the 1876 Centennial Exposition, when the first Japanese garden in North America was installed behind a small Japanese bazaar. Designed by architect Junzo Yoshimura, Shofuso was built in Japan in 1953 using traditional techniques and materials. It was shipped to New York and exhibited in the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art in New York before moving to its current location in 1958. The traditional and modern features of Shofuso and its collection were recently featured in the documentary Shofuso and Modernism: Mid-Century Collaboration between Japan and Philadelphia and an article in Nikkei Asia magazine.

Join the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia for a special lecture on this Pennsylvania gem by JASGP Executive Director Kim Andrews. Shofuso re-opens to visitors on March 20, and Ohanami events begin April 10. Philadelphia’s cherry trees generally bloom at the end of March through the end of April.
The online lecture runs from 6:00 to 8:00 pm and is free and open to the public, though advance registration is required.

Pittsburgh-based ReadyAI hiring Mandarin-speaking Instructional Design and Technology Associate.


ReadyAI, a branch of Pittsburgh-based education consultancy WholeRen (美国厚仁教育集团), is hiring a bilingual Mandarin-English Instructional Design and Technology Associate.
Essential Functions

* Create fun, accessible, interactive, thought-provoking materials for AI classes, for both online and in-person instruction
* Collaborate with AI researchers and academics and write AI lesson plans on various subfields of AI
* Build relationships with local schools, organizations, and businesses to bring ReadyAI classes to their organization
* Identifies and initiates relationships with stakeholders in the AI education community
* Write program proposals for summer programs and after school
* Coordinate class schedule with local organizations at which we are offering classes
* Represent ReadyAI at events

Competencies

* Client orientation
* Bilingual Preferred English and Mandarin communication skill
* Fosters teamwork and collaboration
More information is available on the job ad.

1957 film Sumpah Pontianak online with Pitt's Asian Studies Center, February 17.


The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will present the 1957 film Sumpah Pontianak on February 17 as part of its upcoming Pontianak Film Series.
Third in the series of schlocky films from the 50s. The first Pontianak film appeared in 1957 Singaporean Malay horror film directed by Indian film director B.N. Rao starring Maria Menado and M. Amin. Based on the Malay folktales of a blood-sucking ghost born from a woman who dies in childbirth. The smash hit premiered on 27 April 1957 and screened for almost three months at the local Cathay cinemas. Its success spawned two other sequels, Dendam Pontianak (Revenge of the Pontianak, 1957) and Sumpah Pontianak (Curse of the Pontianak, 1958). It is also said to have launched the Pontianak genre in Singapore and Malaysia, with rival Shaw producing its own Pontianak trilogy and several movies of the same genre were also made in Malaysia.
The movie has been pushed back two weeks from its originally-scheduled screening. It starts on Vimeo at 7:00 pm, and registration is required.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Screening of 2019 Nailed It documentary and Q&A with filmmaker, February 16 at Pitt; follow-up discussion with Pitt's ASA and BAS, February 19.


The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center and Asian Student Alliance will present a screening of the 2019 Nailed It documentary and Q&A with filmmaker Adele Pham on February 16. From the documentary's official site:
In virtually every city, state and strip mall across the U.S., women get their nails done in salons likely owned by Vietnamese entrepreneurs. How did this community come to be such a presence in the field? NAILED IT takes viewers from Los Angeles to the Bronx to meet the diverse people and relationships behind this booming and enigmatic trade, as well as through the complex history behind this part of the beauty industry.
The event starts at 7:00 pm and is free and open to the public, though registration is required. It will be followed on the 19th by a panel discussion between the ASA and Pitt's Black Action Society at 8:00 pm.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review profiles Mai Khoi, Vietnamese pop singer and activist now at home in Pittsburgh.


The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is the latest local outlet to profile Mai Khoi, the "Lady Gaga of Vietnam," who now has made a home in Pittsburgh.
Her name is Mai Khoi (pronounced “my coy”) and she is a successful Vietnamese pop star turned activist who was forced to leave her home country after being harassed and silenced by the Vietnamese government.

The 38-year-old Khoi has found refuge in Pittsburgh, arriving last November and becoming the second scholar in residence at the University of Pittsburgh through the Scholars at Risk program. The program partners with an initiative of the Institute of International Education called the Artist Protection Fund.

The fund supports threatened artists by placing them in safe countries for a full year, where they can continue their work and plan for their futures. Khoi is also supported by the Pittsburgh-based International Free Expression Project and the City of Asylum on the North Side, where she and her husband have found their Pittsburgh home.
See also a January 19 WESA FM profile.

First look (by a magazine) at Jian's Kitchen.


Hal B. Klein reviews Jian's Kitchen for Pittsburgh Magazine this month in a profile of new restaurants.
There’s a lot to celebrate with this opening, and foremost is the depth of its menu. You Shan Pei, the former head chef of Northeastern Kitchen, remains on staff, and he’s joined by Michael Chew, a Taiwanese chef with 40 years of experience; Chew first cooked in Pittsburgh 30 years ago when he was the chef of Chef Chow in Fox Chapel.

Rather than focus solely on the lesser-known (though utterly delicious) cuisine of Heilongjiang province, as was the case at Northeastern Kitchen, the two chefs are collaborating on a pan-Chinese menu. Those dishes go beyond the typical Chinese restaurant menu to celebrate the nation’s culinary intricacies, and they’re also exploring the depths of regional cuisine.
Jian's Kitchen (品江南) opened in December in Squirrel Hill, in the spot formerly occupied by Northeastern Kitchen.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

"Building the post-1949 State in China and Taiwan," February 16 at Pitt.


The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will host Dr. Julia Strauss and her lecture "Building the post-1949 State in China and Taiwan" on February 16.
By the late 1950s, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Republic of China (ROC) stood as exemplars of success for both “revolutionary” and “conservative” variants of the modern state. However, in 1949 these two regimes had an overlooked yet substantial amount in common in structure and state building agendas. Juxtaposition of the PRC in Sunan (Southern Jiangsu) with the ROC in Taiwan, illustrates that each relied on a fluctuating mix of bureaucratic and campaign modalities to implement similar policies each deemed essential to state building – the dispatch of enemies of the state, and the implementation of land reform. However, the ways in which campaigns against subversives and for land reform were publicly performed pointed to key differences in each regime’s core values, how it represented itself, and how it attempted to generate legitimacy.
It starts at 3:00 pm and is free and open to the public, though registration is required.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

2020 Goro Miyazaki film Earwig and the Witch (アーヤと魔女) continues in Pittsburgh through February 18.


The 2020 Goro Miyazaki film Earwig and the Witch (アーヤと魔女), which opened in Pittsburgh on February 3, will stay in some local theaters through the 18th. A synopsis, from the distributor:
Growing up in an orphanage in the British countryside, Earwig has no idea that her mother had magical powers. Her life changes dramatically when a strange couple takes her in, and she is forced to live with a selfish witch. As the headstrong young girl sets out to uncover the secrets of her new guardians, she discovers a world of spells and potions, and a mysterious song that may be the key to finding the family she has always wanted.
It will continue at the Waterworks and Cranberry Cinemas. Tickets are available online; please note that some screenings are in Japanese with English subtitles while others are dubbed in English.

2004 Malaysian horror film Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam, March 3 at Pitt.


The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will present the 2004 Malaysian horror film Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam on March 3, the second installment in its Malaysian Horror Series.
Join us for a virtual series of films based on the Malay folktales of a blood-sucking ghost born from a woman who dies in childbirth. The smash hit premiered in April 1957 and screened for nearly three months at the local Cathay cinemas. Its success spawned two other sequels in 2004 and 2019. It is also said to have launched the Pontianak genre in Singapore and Malaysia, with rival Shaw producing its own Pontianak trilogy.
The movie begins at 7:00 pm, and registration is required for the online streaming link.

Lunar Kickoff! with Pitt's VSA and CASA, February 13.


The Vietnamese Student Association and Chinese American Student Association at the University of Pittsburgh will present "Lunar Kickoff!" on February 13.
Pitt VSA and CASA invite YOU to keep up that holiday spirit ❄️ and come celebrate a WEEK 🤯 of Lunar New Year festivities!

A weeklong of what?! Pull through to our short kickoff event to get familiar with the 🐭Zodiac Animal Race🐃 and get a chance to win BIG prizes😩!

Sign up for workshops at our main event on 2/20 using this form https://forms.gle/s4Y6fd3AeY2zNJHTA zoom link: https://pitt.zoom.us/j/96694117103

Diane Severin Nguyen: Tyrant Star, online at Carnegie Museum of Art through February 14.


An exhibition by Diane Severin Nguyen, Tyrant Star online via the Carnegie Museum of Art will run through February 14.
This iteration of Carnegie Museum of Art’s online exhibition series features Tyrant Star, a 16-minute video work by artist Diane Severin Nguyen (American, b. 1990). It marks the first time that the work, a new acquisition, will be exhibited at CMOA.

Filmed entirely in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Tyrant Star prompts viewers to consider how cultural touchstones like songs and shared histories are fragmented and woven together in new ways over time. The work unfolds in three chapters, beginning with a view of the metropolis set to Ca Dao, or Vietnamese folk poems, before shifting to an aspiring YouTube star performing a cover of “The Sound of Silence” and concluding with footage of children at a Ho Chi Minh City orphanage. Although each chapter focuses on different voices and perspectives, they are linked by messages of grief and care that remain unheard or misunderstood and by reminders of pain, isolation, and trauma. Nguyen’s camera captures trash-strewn landscapes, quiet interiors, and fragmented bodies, highlighting subtle movements that suggest our surroundings are alive, swelling with the memories of the past.

Diane Severin Nguyen: Tyrant Star is organized by Hannah Turpin, curatorial assistant for modern and contemporary art and photography.
It opened on November 18 and is available online at the CMOA's website through Sunday the 14th.

Pittsburgh City-Paper profiles Asian restaurants and communities this Lunar New Year season.

photo by Jared Wickerham.

Kimberly Rooney 高小荣 in the Pittsburgh City-Paper today looks at how Asian restaurants and communities are spending this Lunar New Year season.
The Year of the Rat is nearing its end, and many Asian Americans are preparing for Lunar New Year celebrations. But as we usher in the Year of the Ox, many must compromise and adjust their traditional and personal rituals to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe. And Asian Americans in Pittsburgh are no different.

Minari virtual screenings via Row House Cinema, February 12 through 25.


The Korean-American film Minari, set to play in two local theaters, is also available for online viewing from the distributor via Row House Cinema, February 12 through 25. There is a limited number of tickets per daily screening and some dates are already sold out.

A summary of the film, from the distributor:
A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Sumi's Cakery aims to reopen February 11.


Sumi's Cakery, a Korean bakery in Squirrel Hill (map), aims to reopen on February 11. It has been on hiatus since just before Christmas.

2011 Taiwanese movie Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (賽德克·巴萊) February 23 at Pitt, followed by discussion with director.


The University of Pittsburgh's Taiwanese Student Association and Asian Studies Center will present a screening of the 2011 Taiwanese movie movie Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (賽德克·巴萊), followed by a discussion with director Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖). An overview, from a 2012 New York Times review:
Its story is based on the little-known Wushe Incident in 1930, when 300 warriors of the Seediq, an aboriginal people centered in Taiwan’s interior highlands, rose up against their Japanese oppressors. A brief historical preface explains that in 1895, the island of Taiwan was ceded by China to Japan, which subdued the native population and turned them into demoralized, alcoholic slaves. Steeped in mysticism, tribal folklore and Asian machismo, the film is a two-and-a-half-hour bloodbath that fetishizes the machete as the ultimate human slicing machine.
The movie starts at 5:00 pm, and the discussion at 8:30. Registration details for the movie are not yet available, though registration for the discussion with Wei is now open.

2020 Korean-American film Minari (미나리) in Pittsburgh, from February 11.


The 2020 Korean-American film Minari opens nationwide on February 11, and is scheduled to play at two theaters locally. A synopsis, from the distributor:
A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.
It opens at the Waterworks Cinema on the 11th, one day earlier than previously announced, and continues at the Waterworks and Cinemark North Hills theaters. Tickets are available online.

Virtual Lunar New Year celebration with OCA Pittsburgh, February 15.


The Pittsburgh chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans is hosting a virtual Lunar New Year celebration on February 15.
Celebrate #LunarNewYear2021 with us virtually as we look back at past performances and celebrate community members past and present who made or are making a difference in the Asian American community.
It will air on Facebook Live from 6:00 pm. Also visit this list of restaurants offering Lunar New Year specials.

Lunar New Year release: 2021 Chinese movie Assassin in Red (刺杀小说家), a.k.a. A Writer's Journey, in Pittsburgh from February 12.


The 2021 Chinese movie Assassin in Red (刺杀小说家), also known as A Writer's Journey, will play in Pittsburgh from February 12. A brief overview, from a Variety preview last year:
“Assassin in Red,” which is executive produced by Ning Hao and backed by CMC Pictures, tells the story of a father who is tasked with killing a novelist in order to save his daughter who went missing six years ago. It turns out that the man’s writing creates a fantastical world that ends up influencing the father’s quest. The film stars Lei Jiayin (“The Longest Day in Chang’an”), Yang Mi (“Tiny Times”), and Dong Zijian (“Mountains May Depart”).
It plays locally at the AMC Loews Waterfront and the Cinemark in Robinson, and tickets are available online.

Screening of 2019 Nailed It documentary and Q&A with filmmaker, February 16 at Pitt.


The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will present a screening of the 2019 Nailed It documentary and Q&A with filmmaker Adele Pham on February 16. From the documentary's official site:
In virtually every city, state and strip mall across the U.S., women get their nails done in salons likely owned by Vietnamese entrepreneurs. How did this community come to be such a presence in the field? NAILED IT takes viewers from Los Angeles to the Bronx to meet the diverse people and relationships behind this booming and enigmatic trade, as well as through the complex history behind this part of the beauty industry.
The event starts at 7:00 pm and is free and open to the public, though registration is required.

Virtual conversation with Taiwanese director Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖), February 23 at Pitt.


The Taiwan Student Association at the University of Pittsburgh will present a virtual conversation with director Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖) on February 23. From the Asian Studies Center newsletter:
We are excited to announce a discussion with award-winning film director and screenwriter WEI TE-SHENG. Wei’s films, including Kano, Cape #7, and Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, are often centered around Taiwan’s indigenous peoples history and explore relationships between Taiwan’s different ethnic communities during colonization and after.
It begins at 8:30 pm and registration is required.

Monday, February 8, 2021

"An Evening of Traditional and Contemporary Japanese Music," February 26 (online) at Pitt.


The University of Pittsburgh's Department of Music will present "An Evening of Traditional and Contemporary Japanese Music" on February 26.
Please join graduate students Devon Osamu Tipp (PhD candidate in Music Theory/Composition) and Kanoko Kamata (2nd year PhD student in Sociology) for an evening of traditional and contemporary music for shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and shamisen (three string spike lute). Music featured on the program will include traditional and solo works, and music by composers Elizabeth Brown and Nancy Beckman.

Kanoko Kamata is a second year PhD student at the Sociology Department and studying about social movements, especially how people are discouraged or encouraged to participate in social movements. Her late grandmother was a singer and Shamisen player of min’yo, folk songs. She started her Shamisen training in Tokyo in Ikuta ryu (Kyoto style). Now she is learning Shamisen from Sumie Kaneko in Yamada ryu (Tokyo/Edo style). For more information, please visit www.kanokokamata.com.

Pittsburgh based composer/performer Devon Osamu Tipp creates unorthodox musical worlds from ostensibly incompatible realms. An Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellow in Music Theory/Composition at the University of Pittsburgh, Tipp has studied traditional Japanese music both in the US and Japan, and has appeared at conferences and festivals in the US, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please visit www.greengiraffemusic.info
The online event starts at 7:00 pm and a link to the stream is available here.

2016 Korean film Train to Busan (부산행) online at Pitt, February 10.



The Office of International Services at the University of Pittsburgh will present the 2016 Korean film Train to Busan (부산행) on February 10 as part of its Watch Party Wednesday series. From the Korean Movie Database:
A mysterious viral outbreak pushes Korea into a state of emergency! As an unidentified virus sweeps the country, Korean government declares martial law. Those on an express train to Busan, a city that has successfully fended off the viral outbreak, must fight for their own survival… 453 km from Seoul to Busan. The struggle to survive by those who have others to protect! Get on board to stay alive!
< The movie starts at 7:00 pm and free and open to the Pitt community, though registration is required.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

"'Authors and Anecdotes' Book Club: Featuring Caroline Kim," February 11 at Pitt.

via @carolinewriting

The University of Pittsburgh will present "'Authors and Anecdotes' Book Club: Featuring Caroline Kim" on February 11.
Join this week's featured author, Caroline Kim, the 2020 Drue Heinz Literary Prize winner for our featured book, The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories.

Exploring what it means to be human through the Korean diaspora, Caroline Kim’s stories feature many voices. With humor, insight, and curiosity, Kim’s wide-ranging stories explore themes of culture, communication, travel, and family. Ultimately, what unites these characters in the book across time and distance is their longing for human connection and a search for the place—or people—that will feel like home.

Click HERE to be directed to the University of Pittsburgh Press website to learn more about The Prince of Moral Thoughts and Other Stories. Purchasing options for the book is available on this site, and it can also be purchased at any independent bookstore of your choice. (While we encourage you to read the books ahead of time it is not a requirement to participate in the series.)

Join our special guest host, Chloe Wertz, Publicist at the University of Pittsburgh Press, as we not only discuss her book, but also dive into Kim's personal literature collection, her favorite readings, and participate in a live Q&A!

5 random attendees to this book club session will receive a free copy of The Prince of Moral Thoughts and Other Stories, courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Press!
The event starts at 12:00 pm and is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

"Videation: Scattered Speculations on Asian Video (Pasts and Futures)," February 10 at Pitt.


The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will present Dr. Joshua Neves and his talk "Videation: Scattered Speculations on Asian Video" on February 10. The title of the talk is the name of his chapter in Asian Video Cultures. An overview of the talk from the Asian Studies Center newsletter:
Please join us on 2/10 @ 6:30 pm for the keynote lecture of the 2021 Asia Pop series with Dr. Joshua Neves of Concordia University. His talk pursues a series of speculations about Asian video cultures since the 1990s along three main lines of inquiry. First, it situates recent attention to internet and mobile video practices within a longer history. Second, the presentation reflects on key insights drawn from his research into the cultural and geopolitics of video technologies. Finally he turns to contemporary video forms and practices on the internet and social media tracing a range of issues about short video aesthetics, popular politics, platformization, and global tensions.
The talk was postponed from its originally-scheduled January 27 date. The talk begins at 6:30 pm, online, and registration is required.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Oriental Market to move to new location in early March.


Signage at Oriental Market, an Asian grocery on McKnight Road, says it will move to its new location further up the street in early March. Its new store will be at 7300 Old McKnight Road (map), which used to house David's Bridal.

Friday, February 5, 2021

"Paisley Rekdal & Matthew Salesses Live Reading and Conversation," February 22 with City of Asylum.


City of Asylum will host "Paisley Rekdal & Matthew Salesses Live Reading and Conversation" on February 22.
Appropriate, A Provocation — Utah’s poet laureate Paisley Rekdal’s newest book is a timely, nuanced work dissecting the thorny debate around cultural appropriation and the literary imagination. Paisley Rekdal will be joined in conversation by bestselling author Matthew Salesses for a live discussion and audience Q&A.

How do we properly define cultural appropriation, and is it always wrong? If we can write in the voice of another, should we? And if so, what questions do we need to consider first? In Appropriate, creative writing professor Paisley Rekdal addresses a young writer to delineate how the idea of cultural appropriation has evolved—and perhaps calcified—in our political climate. What follows is a penetrating exploration of fluctuating literary power and authorial privilege, about whiteness and what we really mean by the term empathy, that examines writers from William Styron to Peter Ho Davies to Jeanine Cummins. Lucid, reflective, and astute, Appropriate presents a generous new framework for one of the most controversial subjects in contemporary literature.
The online event runs from 7:00 to 8:15 pm. It is free and open to the public, though registration is required.

Crazy Rich Asians at Tull Family Theater, February 5 and 9.


The movie Crazy Rich Asians will play at Tull Family Theater in Sewickley on February 5 and 9. A synopsis from the distributor:
"Crazy Rich Asians” follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh) taking aim. And it soon becomes clear that while money can’t buy love, it can definitely complicate things.
Tickets for the two dates are available online. The Tull Family Theater is located at 418 Walnut St. in Sewickley (map).

Thursday, February 4, 2021

2020 Korean-American film Minari (미나리) in Pittsburgh, from February 12.


The 2020 Korean-American film Minari opens nationwide on February 12, and is currently scheduled to play at a local theater. A synopsis, from the distributor:
A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.
While more theaters may be announced later, it is currently scheduled to play at the Waterworks Cinemas; ticket information is not yet available.

2020 Goro Miyazaki film Earwig and the Witch (アーヤと魔女) to stay in Pittsburgh through February 11.


The 2020 Goro Miyazaki film Earwig and the Witch (アーヤと魔女), which opened in Pittsburgh on February 3, will stay in some local theaters through the 11th. A synopsis, from the distributor:
Growing up in an orphanage in the British countryside, Earwig has no idea that her mother had magical powers. Her life changes dramatically when a strange couple takes her in, and she is forced to live with a selfish witch. As the headstrong young girl sets out to uncover the secrets of her new guardians, she discovers a world of spells and potions, and a mysterious song that may be the key to finding the family she has always wanted.
After its initial run at local Cinemark and AMC theaters, it will continue at the Waterworks and Cranberry cinemas through the 11th. Tickets are available online; please note that some screenings are in Japanese with English subtitles while others are dubbed in English.

"2021 Lunar New Year Virtual Celebration," February 23 at Pitt.

via fourbrickstall (Creative Commons)

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center, Global Studies Center, and Institute for International Studies in Education will host the "2021 Lunar New Year Virtual Celebration" on February 23.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The event will occur in the evenning at Eastern Time because that is the best time for our global participants.

Join us for a virtual Lunar New Year celebration as we learn about the meanings and traditions of this important and festive holiday from global perspectives! All are invited!
It runs from 9:00 to 10:00 pm and is open to the Pitt community. Registration is required.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Chaya says good bye (and thank you).

A farewell message of thanks from the owners of Chaya Japanese Cuisine, which closed on January 30 after two decades of service to sushi lovers and the Japanese community.