Wednesday, February 20, 2008

FILM: Passing Poston: An American Story

Following up on the Annual Day of Remembrance -- marking FDR's signing of Executive Order 9066 -- we feature a contribution by filmmaker Joe Fox, whose new film Passing Poston: An American Story, debuts in New York City tonight.

The filmmaker and writer discusses the inspiration behind the new film about Poston concentration camp, and about the film's exploration of connections between the Japanese Americans who labored there and the Colorado River Indian tribe, whose desert reservation served as its host.

As Fox states, "A filmmaker is nothing more than a storyteller. And one really searches high and low for those amazing stories to tell."

He and partner James Nubile have found an amazing story indeed. Learn more at

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Noism08 UMS Debut

NINA materialize sacrifice, Noism08
Jo Kanamori, artistic director
Friday, February 15, 8 pm, Power Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan

One of the most talked-about personalities on the Japanese contemporary dance scene, the 33-year-old choreographer and dancer Jo Kanamori is at the vanguard of Japan's new generation of dancemakers and serves as the artistic director of Noism08, the only residential contemporary dance company in Japan. He studied classical Ballet in Japan, then went to Europe where he discovered contemporary dance, working with Jirí Kylián and Maurice Béjart and achieving recognition as an important choreographer with a unique, polished, and sophisticated talent. His company makes its UMS debut with this single performance of NINA materialize sacrifice, which showcases dancers of amazing virtuosity performing outrageously difficult choreography with machine-like precision. This full-evening work is set to music by Vietnamese-French composer Ton That An.

University Musical Society

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Happy Year of the Rat - Part 2

As I wrote in the previous Lunar New Year posting, the editors have been banging away at our Lunar New Year section, our archive of readings from (lunar) years past and present, with new readings to welcome the Year of the Rat. Rolling updates will continue throughout this week and deeper into the month.

Additionally, we've compiled just for fun a supplemental of package of AP stories on the theme, (Re)Consider the Rat. Anchored by a report on Chinese astrologers' predictions for the apparently "turbulent" rat-year ahead, the package is really more a journalistic improv on the actual -- not zodiacal -- rodent.

Sure, maybe the success of the Disney-Pixar Ratatouille has helped raise the rodent's rep a notch, but they've got a long way to go before they are embraced as cuddly. (Hard to imagine something like March of the Rats... taking America by storm.)

But, as the AP reports, the much-maligned lunar symbol of the year has definitely made in-roads with a diverse fan-base, from rights activists to scientists, pet owners to ... umm ... chefs.

So, this New Year's Day, don't forget to hug a rat, and stop by the Village for more this week!
Also, a shout out: The image here is from one of our past New Year's articles, Chinese Lunar Calendar and Zodiac, by and courtesy of the SF Chinese Culture Center, which is planning a bunch of great New Year's programming for all ages this year, including a free, Pre-Party exhibit at the Center, 750 Kearny Street, starting the 21st, and a reading by Oliver Chin from his book for kids, Year of the Rat.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

AALDEF Poll: APAs Favored Clinton, McCain in NY.NJ

Sent in from the good folks at Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), who did poll monitoring in the area yesterday:

New York … Asian American voters in New York and New Jersey, two states with the largest Asian American populations in the Northeast, gave overwhelming support to Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in the "Super Tuesday" presidential primary elections.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) today released preliminary findings from its multilingual, nonpartisan exit poll of 700 Asian American voters at 9 polling places in New York City and 6 polling places in Palisades Park, Fort Lee and Edison, New Jersey.

AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung said: "Asian American voters have demonstrated strong interest in the Presidential elections, and they made their voices heard on Super Tuesday."

A summary of the preliminary results appears below:


Over 530 Asian American voters were polled in New York City: Manhattan's Chinatown; Flushing, Elmhurst, and Bayside, Queens; and Sunset Park and Midwood, Brooklyn. 61% were Chinese Americans, 21% Korean Americans, and 12% South Asian Americans.

-Among Asian American voters polled, 95% were Democrats and 5% were Republicans.
-Asian American female and male voters polled were split 50%-50%.
-30% of Asian Americans polled were 70 years and over, followed by voters aged 60-69 (19%), ages 50 to 59 (16%), ages 40 to 49 (13%), and 11% each for voters aged 30 to 39 and aged 18 to 29.

Democratic Primary
-86% of Asian American Democrats--women and men of all age groups--supported Clinton, with Obama receiving 14% of the Asian American vote.
-Among Asian ethnic groups, the greatest support for Clinton came from Chinese American voters (90%); followed by Korean Americans (81%) and South Asian Americans (70%).
-91% of Asian American women voted for Clinton and 9% voted for Obama; Asian American men also favored Clinton (80%) over Obama (20%).
-Asian Americans in all age groups (18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 and over) preferred Clinton. Obama did best among younger Asian Americans, receiving 29% of voters aged 19-29, as compared to 9% of Asian American voters 70 and over.

Republican Primary
-68% of Asian American Republicans voted for Sen. John McCain, followed by 12% for Mike Huckabee. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney each received 8% of the Asian American vote.
-Asian American women and men in all age groups favored McCain over the other candidates.


Almost 170 Asian American voters were surveyed in New Jersey. 75% were Korean American, 15% South Asian American, 9% Chinese American, and 1% Other Asian American. Voters were surveyed at 6 poll sites in Palisades Park, Fort Lee, and Edison.
Democratic Primary -Clinton won 73% of the Asian American vote, with 22% supporting Obama.
-Korean American voters, the largest Asian ethnic group polled in New Jersey, favored Clinton by 80%, with 16% for Obama.
Republican Primary -McCain won 56% of Asian American Republicans polled, followed by Giuliani (20%), Romney (16%) and Huckabee (4%).

* * *

AALDEF coordinated the 2008 exit poll of Asian American voters with the assistance of co-sponsors Korean American Voters’ Council of NY/NJ and YKASEC: Empowering the Korean American Community.

The exit poll questionnaire was available in English, Chinese, and Korean. More than 100 attorneys, law students, and community volunteers conducted the poll and spoke seven Asian languages or dialects, including Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Hindi, Urdu, and Gujarati.

AALDEF’s multilingual exit polls reveal vital information about Asian American voting patterns regularly overlooked in mainstream voter surveys and provide a snapshot of Asian American voter preferences on candidates, political parties, and policy issues of concern to Asian Americans.

In the 2004 Presidential election, AALDEF polled almost 11,000 Asian American voters in 23 cities in eight states. AALDEF’s exit poll reports from the 2006 midterm elections and 2004 presidential elections are available online at


The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.

Happy New Year from Asian-American Village!

On February 7, the traditional Chinese calendar rolls into year 4706, and we roll with it with a new feature, Chinese New Year, Los Angeles Style, by frequent Village contributor Susie Ling of the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California. Her feature provides a succinct look at area events planned to welcome the Year of the Rat, with a historical twist.

Although our Lunar New Year section has become more of an archive of (lots of) collected readings from years past than a regular annual feature, we will continue to add small news items and other features related to theme as they come.

Now, an important announcement:

Lunar New Year Is Not Synonymous with Chinese New Year

Let's repeat that, for emphasis:

Lunar New Year Is Not Synonymous with Chinese New Year

While we're on the topic, every year we get a few complainers coming by and flaming us (probably without having actually read the section) and accusing us of conflating Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year, or misrepresenting Lunar New Year as an exclusively Chinese thing.

Why don't you say anything about Tet or Têt for that matter!

Why don't you say that Korean Lunar New is Sol, celebrated on the first day of the first month of Lunar New Year?

Why don't you write about Losar, the Tibetan Lunar New Year, which is usually close to, but not necessarily the same day as, Chinese New Year?

Well, the answer is, we do (or at least, have done).

But, we also admit that after years of this, we lack the editorial wherewithal and frankly interest in tracking and in many cases regurgitating stuff about this crazy array of always-moving, never-quite-synchronized, sort-of-similar-but-not-really, moving-target holidays. Now, being honest, we know that it can be hard sometimes to keep track of our own ethnic holidays on a lunar calendar, much less every other ethnic group's.

That said, we do make small updates and run seasonal features about LNY every year, in January or February or March or whenever the heck it is this time around. When we get in submissions related to other aspects of the lunar holidays (not just New Year), we often run them. This can include features, reader letters, events listings, or news items related to theme from around the country and the world from the AP or other sources we subscribe to. But, we have to say, that in general, we get a lot more stuff sent our way about Chinese New Year than others -- whether from contributor pitches or newswires or readers, as well as through mainstream media. We don't know why. Maybe it's becasue there are more Chinese Americans than other groups who bother with a lunar calendar. Or, maybe it's just that Chinese Americans are more "party people"? (I'm not Korean, but I've noticed that over many years now, I'm usually the one my Korean American friends here in the Midwest have come to rely on to remind them when Sol is approaching -- like the seasonal products aisle at Walgreen's.)

So, this year, before you write to berate us for thinking that Lunar New Year is Chinese New Year, we say: Put up or shut up! You have something of interest to say or announce or report on for your New Year, then send it in or, for more time-sensitive stuff, post it here!


Meanwhile, happy new year/tet/losar/sol, etc., etc. to everyone -- the point being, may the year just starting bring health, happiness, and good fortune to us all!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Chinese New Year's with Frances Wang

Community Chinese New Year's Celebration
Saturday, February 9, 2008, 2:00-3:30pm
Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads "China and America: Bridging Two Worlds"
Ann Arbor District Library, Main/Downtown branch
343 South Fifth Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Chinese Lunar New Year's Day signifies the beginning of spring and is celebrated by ethnic Chinese and Taiwanese in many countries around the world, including Taiwan, China, Singapore, and America! Come celebrate the Year of the Mouse with Frances Kai-Hwa Wang and Ann Arbor's own Chinese American community with dance, music, martial arts, stories, crafts, and Yo-Yo! with performances by Ann Arbor Chinese Center of Michigan, Ann Arbor Chinese Dancing School, Ann Arbor Traditional Chinese Orchestra and Ann Hua Chinese School.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Wu Man, pipa, and the Bay Area Shawm Band UMS Debut

Sunday, February 10, 4 pm, Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Wu Man is an internationally renowned virtuoso of the pipa, a lute-like Chinese instrument whose history dates back more than 2,000 years. Born in Hangzhou, China and now living in San Diego, she is recognized as an outstanding exponent of the traditional repertoire as well as a leading interpreter of contemporary pipa music by today’s most prominent composers, including Bright Sheng (she created the original Goddess Weaver in Silver River, which UMS presented last season), Philip Glass, Lou Harrison, Tan Dun, Chen Yi, and others. A frequent participant in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, Wu Man makes her UMS debut as part of the season’s global focus on artists from Asia, and as part of the U-M China Theme Year. She is joined by the Chinese Shawm Band, among the most exhilarating of the gypsy bands in China. Shawm Bands, which feature distinctive long reed instruments and percussion, are an integral part of village ceremonies and provide an extreme contrast to the refined world of the pipa. Shawm music dates back to the 16th century, with a gutsy, blues-like, improvisatory feel.

Brown Bag: Wu Man and the World of Chinese Music
Tuesday, Feb 12,12-1 pm, Center for Chinese Studies, School of Social Work Building, 1080 S. University, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Join world-renowned pipa virtuoso Wu Man as she discusses the world of Chinese Music, both traditional and contemporary.

University Musical Society
Wu Man's Website