Archive for February, 2008

activist imagination exhibition opens!

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Jeez. It’s been an entirely too, too, too frenetic week. Waaay behind on shenanigan-related posts, but in the interim, please make time if you’re able to catch this show.

Join Kearny Street Workshop for the opening reception of the Activist Imagination exhibition exploring the past, present, and future of arts and activism through the eyes of Bob Hsiang, Donna Keiko Ozawa, and Christine Wong Yap. The exhibition runs February 29 – May 24, 2008, at KSW’s space180, and is part of KSW’s Activist Imagination program.
In its 35th anniversary year, Kearny Street Workshop, the oldest multidisciplinary Asian Pacific American arts organization in the country, has collaborated with visual artists Bob Hsiang, Donna Keiko Ozawa, and Christine Wong Yap to produce Activist Imagination, an exhibition about activism, art, and community. Responding to KSW’s rich history of activism and art, Activist Imagination offers a multigenerational and multi-media look at the past, present, and future of Asian Pacific American activism. Photographer Bob Hsiang will unveil recent portraits of activists, including longtime civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama, South Bay organizer Raj Jayadev, and Oakland performance poet Shailja Patel. Donna Keiko Ozawa will show new interactive sculptures, including viewer-activated pieces inspired by the struggle to save the International Hotel, where Kearny Street Workshop was founded in 1972. Christine Wong Yap contributes site-specific installations and a screenprinted multiple to continue her work around optimism and pessimism.
The Activist Imagination exhibition goes hand-in-hand with an Activist Imagination discussion series running from November 2007 – May 2008, and a catalog of the exhibition will be released at the closing event on May 24th. Activist Imagination is made possible in part by a grant from the Creative Work Fund through support from the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation. Activist Imagination is also supported in part by a grant from the San Francisco Foundation.

Date/Time: Exhibition Opening Reception: Friday, February 29, 2008; 6.30 – 9pm
Exhibition runs February 29 – May 24, 2008; Gallery hours: W, Th, 3 – 6pm; Sa, 2 – 6pm.

Location: Kearny Street Workshop’s space180, 180 Capp Street, 3rd Floor, @ 17th Street, San Francisco
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Information: 415.503.0520;;
Join the conversation online:

monster drawers, round eight

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

It’s a good week for drawing, mes amis. Not only has Adrian got that outdoor drawing session happening on the 19th, but Southern Exposure has its annual Monster Drawing Rally this Friday the 22nd!

Aforementioned gnarly headcold put me a bit behind on posts, otherwise I’d have mentioned the MDR earlier.
Well, it’s not as if it’s an event in any danger of being under-attended: despite my tardy reportage, I guarantee that it’ll be a full-on, shoulder to shoulder, dog-and-pony-show, as usual. The event is always a crowd-pleaser. Who doesn’t like watching artists sweat doodle-bullets for a good cause?

For those of you new to the MDR experience, it’s an evening where artists agree to draw for a one-hour shift under intense public scrutiny, after which their drawings are placed on a wall and immediately sold to whomever’s interested at the bargain flat rate of $60. There are 4 shifts (6-7, 7-8, 8-9, 9-10), and this year about 130 artists spread across those shifts, drawing away. All proceeds benefit the always-worthy Southern Exposure.


My Drawing Night cronies and I are staking our usual claim on the 6pm to 7pm slot: it’s a little mellower, and then we’re done by the time MDR gets really nutsy, and can move on to being spectators, as well. Now that wee little Wofflings is a year old, I can refer you back to how last year’s MDR07 session went right here, and how I drew last year’s MDR postcard here. (I wanted to post Veronica DeJesus‘s awesome image from this year’s card, but I can’t seem to find it online for some weird reason.)

Come join us! Should be a really fun night, as always. For the second year in a row, the venue is the magnificent Verdi Club, which is its own reason for attending, in and of itself.

8th Annual Monster Drawing Rally
Southern Exposure at Verdi Club

(*NOT at Southern Exposure!)
2424 Mariposa Street, San Francisco
Friday, February 22nd, 6-11 pm

crusher drawer rebar

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Sorry for being MIA for a minute there, folks. Got the headcold of the century for about a week there, and am only just now returning to something akin to sentient thought.

Anyway, I was fooling around on the internet recently (as one does), checking up on my new friend Adrian (who patiently volunteered with my Southern Exposure show), and clicking this link and that on his nicely redesigned website. I found a link to an awesome, relatively new web invite service called CRUSHER, which I hope to gawd puts the diabolical eVite in its place at long last. (Also, Crusher makes these nerdy-awesome T-shirts.)

Adrian posted a public event via Crusher which sounds amazing, and which it appears that he’s lead sheepwrangler for: Drawing Space, a biweekly lunchtime drawing session in one of the privately-owned public open spaces (POPOS) in downtown SF. So simple, so perfect. Hang out on your lunch break downtown and draw with other drawers. I love it.

There was a Drawing Space Feb 5 which would have made for a lovely, sunny session, had I posted about it in time.
Feb 19′s the next one.
Pleeease let the weather continue to be nice, for the sake of this cool event!

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2008
~ 1pm to 2pm

Tuesday, Mar 4, 2008
~ 1pm to 2pm
Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008
~ 1pm to 2pm

Hanging out with other folks in as you draw and sketch your lunch away.


The things I loved about this are:
1: drawing with others, especially as an escape from work, is awesome.
2: drawing in public, outdoor space is awesome.
3: I learned about POPOS and paraformance via REBAR, which Adrian pointed to as a resource. These privately owned public open spaces are outlined on REBAR‘s awesome resource site, COMMONspace.

As for REBAR, well, when Southern Exposure had its swansong exhibition in their original 17th & Alabama site in 2006, these guys came up with the brilliant idea of canning up chunks of the gallery’s wall, and editioning them to raise money for SoEx. Since I missed out on Piero Manzoni’s cans back in the day, this seemed like a far more lovable (and affordable!) piece of work to purchase, so I did.

w120-339-le06_rebarcan.jpgRebar Brand Canned Gallery Space, Southern Exposure, 2006
Tin can, Southern Exposure gallery wall, mineral oil
Edition of 300

Beyond that, I’d known a little bit peripherally about REBAR and their public events, but since most had been in SF during my East Bay supremacist phase, I managed to miss ‘em, sadly. Adrian, however, had mentioned his participation in a number of their events, and now, as of my recent stumbles around their site, I’m a big-time fan. See how easily people can be influenced when you bring up interesting artsy/cultural things to do? (Good work, Adrian.)

Anyway, so three things that hopefully you find interesting to know more about (and three things that have dragged me happily off-task yet again…): Crusher, Drawing Space, and REBAR. Hope you find them as gratifying as I have…and now, I’m back to work on whatever it was that I was supposed to be doing.

What was I doing?

the halo-halo panel-panel

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Okay, so here’s a panel discussion that kills me not to be able to attend: yet again, it falls on the same night as one of the classes I teach. Hopefully, some of you can make it and tell me all about it:

Monday, February 11:
Co-sponsored by the Chinese Culture Center and Hyphen magazine,
Asia Society of Northern California presents a panel on…

Mixed Asian Identity and the Creative Arts

This program brings together a range of artists of mixed Asian descent — a musician, a visual artist, a filmmaker and a writer — in a panel discussion moderated by noted mixed Asian scholar Dr. Wei Ming Dariotis.

Is there a collective mixed Asian community? What kinds of experiences define it? How do mixed Asian artists relate to loaded labels like Hapa, Eurasian, Afroasian, Amerasian, etc.? How is art used to express mixed Asian identity? How does artistic expression help to create a mixed Asian community? Though the panel is diverse in terms of artistic disciplines and ethnic identities, the discussion will focus on the common experiences and creative interpretations that help hold the mixed Asian community together.

Dr. Wei Ming Dariotis is an Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies, with an emphasis on Asians of Mixed Heritage and Asian Pacific American Literature, Arts, and Culture at San Francisco State University.

Dr. Anthony Brown is a percussionist, composer, and ethnomusicologist. Dr. Brown received his Ph.D. in music from U.C. Berkeley, where his research focused on the musics of his mixed
heritage. Widely known for his use of Asian musical instruments in jazz, he founded the critically acclaimed Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra in 1998.

Lori Kay is a sculptor and mixed media artist who has held exhibitions and received public commissions in various cities including San Francisco. Her work has been widely exhibited on the local, national, and international levels.

Stuart Gaffney has been making films and videos about queer and Eurasian identity since 1994. His works have screened at APAture, the Guggenheim Museum, the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, as well as on KQED Television.

Dr. Persis Karim is a Bay Area native who writes about the Iranian diaspora. Her poetry has been published in numerous literary journals, and she is the author of numerous articles on Iranian American literature. Dr. Karim is currently an associate professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose University.

Mixed Asian Identity and the Creative Arts
Monday, February 11, 2008
6:00 pm Registration
6:30 pm Program

Chinese Culture Center
Chinatown Hilton Hotel
750 Kearny Street, Third Floor
San Francisco, CA

$5 Asia Society/Co-sponsor Members/Students
$10 Non-members
For more information, please call 415.421.8707

Tres. Trop. On the ocho. Sayang.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

This is one of those dates where it might make sense to have a twin, or a clone, or something: too many events going on at the same time on the same night! Feb 8 has all of a sudden added up to a full social calendar, and I’m scrambling to figure out how to be in 3 places at once. Gaaah.

1. Emergency Biennale talk.
6 pm. CCA PLAySPACE gallery. San Francisco.

Evelyne, myself, and many of the other Bay Area artists who were added to round 10 of EB are participating in an informal discussion about the show.
If the rain scared you off during the opening last week, this will be just about the last time to catch the show, and to hear about its genesis from Evelyne herself. It’s so refreshing to experience an exhibition that doesn’t participate in some of the usual solipsistic clubby-ness of many Bay Area art shows: its intentions are so different, and so much more international in nature. (But to be fair to local shows, some of the solipsism is part and parcel of how a tight-knit local community functions. Still and all: it is a little too in-love-with-itself sometimes, to the detriment of creating a larger, more global sense of an art community…)

2. Christine Wong Yap + Zachary Royer Sholz + Ricky Allman.
Opening reception: 6-8 pm. Swarm Gallery. Oakland.

Damn it, damn it, damn it. I’ve got to figure out how to zip back to the east bay for this.
I know that Christine’s been working her heinie off on this installation, so I know it’s going to be something amazing to see. Having just checked out Zachary and Ricky’s works courtesy of the the links on Christine’s blog (now here, too), I’m super-excited to see their work, as well.

3. Deadpan Exchange Part III.
Opening reception: 6-9 pm. The LAB. San Francisco.

I’ve been so excited about Jonn Herschend’s international arts exchange project with Danish artists since it launched this past summer.

It’s such a funny, quirky theme, with a number of suspiciously low-profile comedian-types. A whole gaggle of Danes have come over here for the event, and I’m super looking forward to meeting them: I have an evil plan to dovetail the Galleon Trade experience with the Deadpan Exchange experience when I’m an artist-in-residence in Denmark this coming summer. Yahoo to more grass-roots international arts exchange!

For those of you who A, don’t go to shows in Oakland, and B, don’t go to shows that don’t feature one of your local buddies, I double-dog dare you to go to one or all of these. I can’t say that I’m always the best about making the rounds, either, so it’s not as if I’m not guilty of this at times, as well. But all 3 of these events are pretty one-of-a-kind (and not because I’m in one of them, okay?), so I ask, nay, I implore you to attend maybe one of ‘em…

Emergency Biennale discussion
Feb 8, 6 pm on
1111 8th St, SF 94107

Christine Wong Yap + Zachary Royer Sholz + Ricky Allman opening reception
Feb 8, 6-8 pm
Swarm Gallery
560 2nd St, Oakland 94607

Deadpan Exchange III opening reception
Feb 8, 6-9 pm
2948 16th St, SF 94103

as long as we’re on the subject

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Man, that CCA arts ed seminar I’m teaching has gotten me all kinds of huffy about the state of arts education. We had such a lively, deep conversation about this Boston Globe article by Lois Hetland and Ellen Winner last night: there are some nice, concise quotes in it regarding just how vital the arts are to being a well-rounded humanoid.

I also just received the invitation below: for those of you in the LA area, this is prolly a must.


I would like to extend a special invitation out to you and your students/associates to attend a free lecture at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre titled, “Why the Arts Matter” on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 7:30PM.

Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, visits Zócalo to discuss the impoverishment of American popular culture and “the need to reopen the conversation between our best minds and the broader public.”

He argues that the real purpose of arts education isn’t to produce more artists but to “create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.” Something happens, he says, when an individual actively engages in the arts, be it reading a novel at home, attending a concert at a local church, or seeing a dance company perform at a college campus that awakens both a heightened sense of identity and civic awareness. He warns that America’s cultural decline has “huge and alarming economic consequences.”

To reserve a free seat at Central Library, visit:
The event, recorded for broadcast on 89.3 FM KPCC, will be followed by a free food and wine reception with the speaker.

Please feel free to pass this information on to others by posting on your website, newsletters, and email forwards.
I hope you will join us!

Arts Action Alert!

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

As if I needed one more reason to want GWB drop-kicked out of this galaxy: Just got this email regarding his 2009 budget proposals, and apparently, he still wants money for a war, but NO money for arts education.
ZERO dollars for arts education?
Christ almighty.
No Child Left Behind, my ass.
Please give the message a read, and click on the link to send your friendly neighborhood congressperson a line while there’s still some time…

From Americans for the Arts:

President Bush today sent his FY 2009 budget request to Congress, beginning the yearly appropriations process for, among many things, the nation’s cultural agencies and programs, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Office of Museum Services (OMS), Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and the Department of Education’s Arts in Education programs. Because drastic cuts are being proposed for some key arts programs, we urge you to write your Members of Congress and tell them to reject the President’s budget cuts.

On the heels of signing the largest Congressionally-initiated funding increase for the arts in 28 years, President Bush has proposed a senseless $16.3 million cut for FY 2009 for the NEA””from $144.7 million to $128.4 million. After three years of minimal, but incremental, funding growth, we are surprised to see an attempt to erase this progress.

For the eighth consecutive year, the President’s budget has eliminated funding for the Department of Education’s Arts in Education programs, which include funding for model arts programs and collaborations with schools, teacher professional development, and arts programs for at-risk youth. Arts literacy is as central to an educated citizenry as are reading, math, and science. The Administration needs to understand the role of arts education in developing an innovative and creative society.

Also, the FY 2009 budget request calls for a rescission of $200 million in already-approved funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). As a trusted community resource, CPB uses the power of noncommercial television and radio to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services.

The President also asked for a slight cut to the NEH, from $144.7 to $144.3 million. Finally, and on a positive note, the President requested a funding boost of over $8 million for the Office of Museum Services, bringing the amount of funding available for grants to almost $40 million. A breakdown of the President’s budget request is as follows:


Next Steps:
As you know, the President’s budget is the first step in the appropriations process. While it serves as an important framework, Congress has the power to set its own priorities and change these funding levels. That’s where you come in.

Arts advocates can make their voices heard by writing their Members of Congress and urging them to increase funding for arts and culture and restore funding for arts in education programs. We have provided you with a customizable letter to send to your Members of Congress, as well as several talking points to help you craft your message. We recommend you add your own thoughts and stories about why the arts are important to you and your community. We also encourage you to join us in Washington, DC for Arts Advocacy Day 2008, March 31 – April 1, 2008. You’ll have the opportunity to visit your Members of Congress face-to-face and urge them to support the arts.

Thank you for your continued support of the arts!

budgets, bureacracy, politics or physics?

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

new-transpo-1000.jpgOK. So I love Packard and Steve’s new Market Street posters, as some of you know. The issues and content that they so playfully raise will be getting a slightly more weighty focus at a panel this Monday night in SF.

It’s at CCA’s SF campus, and irony of ironies, I can’t be there because I’m teaching at CCA’s Oakland campus that night. So maybe one of you will go, and tell me how it is?

Urban Visions Panel
Monday, February 4, 7 pm
Timken Lecture Hall, CCA’s San Francisco campus
1111 8th St, SF
The event is open to the public and FREE of charge.

Part of Packard Jennings‘ and Steve Lambert‘s current San Francisco Arts Commission’s Art on Market Street project Wish You Were Here! Postcards from Our Awesome Future, this panel will address ideas about transit and other urban developments that were raised during interviews the artists conducted with Bay Area architects, urban planners, and transportation engineers who were asked the question, “What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about budgets, bureaucracy, politics, or physics?”

The interviews provided the artists with the inspiration for six imaginative and humorous poster designs of a future San Francisco. The posters are currently exhibited on the pedestrian side of the triangular kiosks on Market Street between Van Ness and the Embarcadero through March 13, 2008.

Artists Packard Jennings and Steve Lambert have each been working separately on projects addressing social and economic concerns, all intended to encourage members of the public to ponder issues that affect their daily lives, often through subtly interventionist methods.

In addition to the artists, other panelists include:

Peter Albert, Deputy Director of Planning, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
John Peterson, Principal, Peterson Architects; founder and chair of Public Architecture
Tom Radulovich, Executive Director, Livable City; member of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board of Directors
Seleta Reynolds, Fehr & Peers Associates, Transportation Consultants


Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Ok. Got through the week. Looking forward to not watching the stuporbowl on Sunday and catching the superstar show at the Headlands, and just relaxing a little bit this weekend.

My first minute as the newly-instated figurehead (more of a puppet government, really) for the Filipino Performance course at USF Thursday night went pretty smoothly, given how 11th-hour my instatement was (the course started last week without a professor): Wednesday night was a pretty late one, between pulling it together for my existing course as well as putting together a plan for the new one.

Between Filipino Performance and Filipino American Arts, I’m finding myself very sweetly overwhelmed by how great it is to be working with a large population of Fil-Am students (especially in the arts!) for the first time in my teaching career. I can’t say what effect I’ll have on them, but since it was a pretty deep experience for me with the only two Fil-Am professors I’d ever had (Carlos Villa and Cathy Choy), I hope that at the very least, I don’t traumatize my students. Much.

The official course title is actually “Barrio Fiesta: Filipino Performing Arts“, and it’s a special topics course geared primarily to provide a little more academic structure for all of the hard-working students who put together Barrio Fiesta, USF’s annual PCN (Pilipino Cultural Night). The pic below is from the cast and crew call at last year’s event:


Little did I know when taking this last year that I’d be involved somehow with this year’s. Hm.

So. Improvisation is the name of the game right now, as I’m coming into this last-minute, and I want to be respectful of the traditions and structures that have historically governed how Barrio (shorthand), er, plays out. No pun intended. This is its 35th annual event, but its first year as a class, so there’s a lot of history I don’t want to derail. We’re off to a good start, though. I think maybe I’m becoming a blog addict, as I put together yet another course blog for Barrio here.


If you’re in the Bay Area, consider this your first invitation to attend. April 4 and 5. Be there.

OK. Off to enjoy the weekend now. I might go shoe-shopping (no Imelda jokes, thanks.) It appears I need a good pair of rain shoes, given the recent waves of inclement weather. My other shoes either have holes in the soles, or aren’t waterproof, and these dumb loafers I’ve been wearing every day just aren’t cutting it anymore…