Monday, January 30, 2023

Bad Activist: Story, Song, and Spectacle with the "Vietnamese Lady Gaga" at Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, March 25.

The Pittsburgh Humanities Festival announced its line-up today and will feature "Bad Activist: Story, Song, and Spectacle with the 'Vietnamese Lady Gaga'" on March 25.
Bad Activist is a multimedia musical performance dramatizing the true story of singer-songwriter/activist Mai Khoi (dubbed “the Vietnamese Lady Gaga”) and her journey from pop stardom to purpose. Performed by Khoi herself, it incorporates storytelling, live video, archival footage, and original animation in a bold evocation of her past, present and future hopes.

Once a darling of the state, Khoi grew disillusioned with government censorship and violence. Emboldened by fellow dissidents, she leveraged her fame to demand change. Heading down that political rabbit hole, she crossed paths with some of the world’s most powerful men: National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Hanh Phuc, Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, and Barack Obama. After her campaign to run for office was suppressed, Khoi was placed under 24/7 police surveillance. Betrayed by friends, detained, interrogated, and barred from performing, she finally fled the country.

Now working in exile, Khoi continues to oppose state violence, sexism, and the rise of the authoritarian right. Her evolving music is an emotionally charged fusion of free jazz and traditional Vietnamese music, touching on some of the most pressing social justice issues of our time. Bad Activist weaves story, song, and spectacle, interrogating the relationship between art and activism and the fraught terrain navigated by artists of conscience who refuse to be silenced.

This event is a Core Conversation at the 2023 Pittsburgh Humanities Festival.
The talk is at 3:00 pm at the Trust Arts Education Center in the Cultura District (map), and tickets are available online.

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