Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ashwin Madia Spars in Debate with MN 3rd Candidates

One of the season's big buzzes in House races has been the "improbable rise" and growing momentum of Ashwin Madia, an Indian American attorney and Iraq veteran seeking to replace retiring Republican Rep. Jim Ramstad in MN's 3rd District. It is widely viewed as an at-risk seat for the GOP, and Madia -- himself a former Republican who switched parties over the Bush Iraq policy -- has garnered support from a number of national networks among Asian Americans and progressive circles, and a good deal of attention from the national party.

In this week's debate reported on by MN Public Radio, Madia squared off against Republican Erik Paulsen, and Independence Party candidate David Dillon over taxes and foreign policy, and Madia's Iraq experience lent weight to his arguments on topics such as how to deal with Iran and the U.S. relationship with Israel.

He spoke frankly and at length in an interview for Rediff News this month about his background, family, the war, his policy views and the reception by Indian Americans to his candidacy.

Win or lose, Madia's made a strong performance in the race, and is emerging as one of the young Asian American politcians to watch this year and beyond.

Learn more about him at the Ashwin Madia for Congress website.
Image: Ashwin Madia at the Democratic National Convention with former Cabinet Secretary Norman Mineta.

Study: Asian American Undecideds May Play Key Role Nov. 4

The 2008 National Asian American Survey, released at a Washington, D.C., press conference this morning, paints a portrait of an Asian American electorate still largely "up for grabs" due to an uncommonly high proportion of "non-partisan," undecided likely voters.

While the findings show that the continuation of a decade-long leftward trend among Asian Americans, with 41 percent likely to favor Obama versus 24 percent supporting John McCain, researchers point out that a key finding of their study is the high numbers of undecided Asian American likely voters: 34 percent, compared with 8 percent among the general population reported in national, post-convention polls.

The researchers suggest that Asian American voters stand to play "a significant role" in not only those battleground states such as Virginia, Nevada and Washington where they account for 5 percent or more of the population, but even in states such as Colorado, Ohio and Florida, where they can still theoretically provide the margin of victory.

The study was conducted by researchers from four leading universities: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley); University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside); and University of Southern California (USC).

For the complete release details, see the posting, Study: APA Undecideds May Play Key Role Nov. 4

S.D. Asian Film Festival Coming Up in October



The San Diego Asian Film Festival presented by Toyota Matrix has announced its ninth season, taking place at the Mission Valley UltraStar Cinema at Hazard Center, OCTOBER 9-16, 2008. As San Diego’s largest Pan Asian cultural event, more than 20,000 attendees will experience over 130 short and feature films from a record 17 countries including the Canada, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong , Japan, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Peru, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and the U.S. The complete program schedule will be released in September online at www.sdaff.org

Highlights include:

Opening night film on Thursday, October 9 with the theatrical premiere of Academy Award Winning director Jessica Yu’s first narrative feature, PING PONG PLAYA, a hilarious comedy about a young man trying to fight for his family’s ping pong dynasty

Closing night film on Thursday, October 16 - ALWAYS 2: SUNSET ON THIRD STREET, directed by Yamazaki Takashi, sequel to a heartwarming post-war Japanese film that swept Japan’s version of the Academy Awards.

U.S. premiere of the most sought-after martial arts froms from Thailand, CHOCOLATE, directed by Prachya Pinkaew, who also directed “Ong Bak”; plus Premiere of Korean thriller hit PUBLIC ENEMY RETURNS directed by Woo-Suk Kang

Controversial documentary, DIRTY HANDS: THE ART AND CRIMES OF DAVID CHOE directed by Harry Kim

Free Films at Four series, offering free films to public at 4PM October 13-16

Twelve short film programs including the popular all-animation program ANIMATION: THE ILLUSION OF LIFE and REEL VOICES, a free short documentary showcase by local high school students

Film festival organizers will also encourage attendees to register to vote through a REEL IN THE VOTE campaign to address why Asian Pacific Islanders have the lowest voter turnout and lowest political participation.

Along with screening PSAs encouraging voter participation, the festival will present a free REEL IN THE VOTE films program on Tuesday, October 14 at the Hazard Center UltraStar.

Boat People SOS Calls Seeks Aid for Ike Survivors

Are you in the Gulf Coast? Have time or language skills to donate to a good cause? Consider this plea from organization, Boat People SOS:

Boat People SOS Meeting Urgent Needs Today, Empowering Vietnamese Communities for Tomorrow:

"Urgent! BPSOS Seeks Houston-Area Volunteers to Help Hurricane Survivors

September 19, 2008: The Gulf Coast's Vietnamese Americans need your help! Ike and Gustav hit the Gulf Coast even harder than Katrina, and we are working to connect evacuees to urgently-need services. On Thursday and Friday alone, BPSOS-Houston staff and our fantastic volunteers helped 226 people deal with the disaster!

You can make a difference, especially if you are bilingual. Join us at the office to record people's needs and contact information, and refer them to the right services! Houston is the focus now, but we are collecting information about areas that are safe to deploy volunteers.

To volunteer in Houston, or at locations to be determined, call (281) 530-6888, or email info@bpsos.org."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No Joke: George 'Macaca' Allen Featured in Minority Outreach Rally

Yes, that's what we said...

In the "What Were They Thinking?" category, the Washington Post reports that none other than ex-Virginia Senator George Allen was tapped by Northern Virginia Republicans to be a headliner at this weekend's "ethnic unity rally" ostensibly planned to " to increase their appeal with Northern Virginia's large minority population."

And yes, it's that George Allen, who was just two short years ago ousted from his Senate seat by Jim Webb during the 2006 midterms, in no small part because of the backlash to his videotaped use of the macaca ethnic slur, and follow-up investigations of his pattern of such racial attitudes, not to mention his controversial fondness for the Confederate flag.

The rally was held at Edison High School in Alexandria, and was reported to have attracted several hundred supporters -- falling short by about half of the expected turnout.

View the full report at The Washington Post.

Indo-American Arts Council NYC Playwrights' Week



NEW YORK, NY – The 15th Annual Playwrights’ Week as presented by the Indo-American Arts Council and the Lark Play Development Center will take place from September 22nd – 28th at the Lark Studio in midtown. This year’s writers include: Mark Borkowski, Kathleen Cahill, Steven Gridley, David Jenkins, Lila Rose Kaplan, Ismail Khalidi, Motti Lerner, Dano Madden, James McLindon, Allison Moore, and Lina Patel.

In addition to the readings of these new plays, there will be three events to help celebrate Playwrights’ Week 2008. To start off the festival will be Meet The Writers with host Morgan Jenness (Abrams Artists) on Monday, September 22 at 8pm, where each writer will talk a bit about themselves and read an excerpt from their play.

On Tuesday, September 23, following the reading of Motti Lerner’s BENEDICTUS, there will be a panel moderated by Catherine Coray (hotINK International Festival Director) entitled “A Discussion About Intercultural Collaboration” with the playwright and his collaborators Dr. Mahmood Karimi-Hakak, Roberta Levitow, Torange Yeghiazarian, and Daniella Topol (Director).

To celebrate the close of the Playwrights’ Week 2008 on Sunday, September 28th, the Indo-American Arts Council will host a celebration following the reading of Lina Patel’s SANKALPAN (Desire), which will also feature the announcement of the 2008-09 Indo-American Arts Council - Lark Playwright-in-Residence. All Playwrights’ Week 2008 readings and events are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule and reservation information, please visit: www.larktheatre.org.

The Playwrights’ Week selection process started in November of 2007. Hundreds of scripts were submitted through the Lark s open submission policy. Finalists were chosen through a rigorous process involving the Lark’s Literary Wing, comprised of dozens of theatre artists and community members. The final eleven playwrights were selected by a group of esteemed industry professionals including: Catherine Coray, John Clinton Eisner (Lark Producing Director), Suzy Fay (Lark Associate Program Director), Daniel Jaquez (Calpulli Danza Mexicana), Morgan Jenness , Katori Hall (playwright, HOODOO LOVE), Miles Lott (Lark LitWing Chair), Aroon Shivdasani (Indo-American Arts Council), and Rob Urbinati (Queens Theatre in the Park), and Jose Zayas (Immediate Theater Company).

Playwrights Week 2008 is generously supported, in part, with public funds by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and with major support from Jerome Foundation, NYC Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Time Warner’s Diverse Voices Fund and MetLife Foundation. Playwright fees are supported by The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation.

A laboratory for new voices and new ideas, the LARK PLAY DEVELOPMENT CENTER provides playwrights with indispensable resources to develop their work. The Lark brings together actors, directors, playwrights and the community to allow writers to learn about their own work by seeing and hearing it, and by receiving feedback from a dedicated and supportive community. The company reaches into untapped local populations and across international boundaries to seek out and embrace unheard voices and diverse perspectives, celebrating differences in language and worldviews. The Lark also plays a leading role in advancing unknown writers and their works to audiences through carefully stewarded partnerships with a host of theaters, universities, community-based organizations, and NGOs, locally, nationally and globally. The Lark is led by Producing Director, John Clinton Eisner and Managing Director, Michael Robertson. For more information, www.larktheatre.org or www.iaac.us.

Plays developed at the Lark regularly go on to full productions at theaters across the country. This past year Theresa Rebeck’s MAURITIUS was produced on Broadway by Manhattan Theatre Club, and David Henry Hwang’s YELLOW FACE premiered at Center Theatre Group and at the Public Theater. Rajiv Joseph’s BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO will be presented at Center Theatre Group this spring.

INDO-AMERICAN ARTS COUNCIL is a registered 501(c) 3 not-for-profit, secular service and resource arts organization charged with the mission of promoting and building the awareness, creation, production, exhibition, publication and performance of Indian and cross-cultural art forms in North America: in the performing, visual, literary and folk arts. The IAAC supports all artistic disciplines in the classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India. IAAC works cooperatively with colleagues around the United States to broaden our collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources and funding. IAAC’s focus is to work with artists and arts organizations in North America as well as to facilitate artists and arts organizations from India to exhibit, perform and produce their works here. The IAAC presents annual festivals of Art, Dance, Playwrights & Film as well as several book launches and individual concerts and readings. For more information on the Indo-American Arts Council, visit: www.iaac.us.

All events take place at The Lark Studio
939 8th Avenue (btw 55 & 56) 2nd Floor
1, A, B, C, D, to Columbus Circle
N, Q, R, W to 57th Street

For information: visit www.larktheatre.org or call 212-246-2676, x24


Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Disappearing Number at University of Michigan

A Disappearing Number
Conceived and Directed by Simon McBurney
September 10 to 14, Power Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
University Musical Society

How often are you going to find a play about both an Indian character abroad and Math? Not that we APAs are all Math geeks, but, well, you know...

Following its triumphant production of The Elephant Vanishes in 2004, the theater company Complicite (pronounced kum-PLIH-si-tay) returns to Ann Arbor for the exclusive US presentation of its award-winning hit, A Disappearing Number.

In the chilly English surroundings of Cambridge on the cusp of the First World War, the English mathematician GH Hardy unexpectedly receives a letter filled with mathematical theorems from a young Indian visionary, Srinivasa Ramanujan, whose idiosyncratic and creative approach to mathematics ultimately led to some of the most complex and beautiful mathematical patterns of all time.

Complicite’s innovative, multimedia approach frames past, present, and future simultaneously, with the Hardy/Ramanujan collaboration serving not only as a central aspect of the narrative, but more so as a window into a larger world of ideas: about the awesomeness of infinity and its relationship to human mortality, about the beauty of science and our quest for meaning and knowledge, about who we are and how we connect to one another — and ultimately about what is permanent and what disappears forever.

“With touching emotion and unnerving disquietude, A Disappearing Number forces the spectator to consider the facts of love, death, and belonging, within the space of his or her own personal universe.” (New Statesman)

Related Activity: UMS Book Club: The Indian Clerk
Sept. 8, 7 pm, Ann Arbor District Library (343 S Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor, MI)

In David Leavitt’s The Indian Clerk, the English mathematician G.H. Hardy unexpectedly receives a letter filled with mathematical theorems from a young Indian visionary, Srinivasa Ramanujan, whose idiosyncratic and creative approach to mathematics ultimately led to some of the most complex and beautiful mathematical patterns of all time. UMS is assembling U-M experts on math and literature to explore the themes in David Leavitt’s breathtaking novel. This event is an excellent primer for those attending the UMS presentation of the theater company Complicite’s A Disappearing Number, which draws on the relationship between Hardy and Ramanujan as a central story line in the play.

University Musical Society www.ums.org.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Michigan APA Leadership Summit

Asian Pacific American Leadership Summit VI, Michigan

Saturday, September 13, 2008 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
East Lansing Hannah Community Center
819 Abbott Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823

Council of Asian Pacific Americans' (CAPA's) annual APA Leadership Summit focuses on building bridges and fostering growth within the Asian Pacific American community and with other communities to bring about positive social change. With a united voice, we can improve the lives of APAs in Michigan. Online registration and payment at www.capa-mi.org

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Mee Moua, Minnesota State Senator
State Senator Mee Moua was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in a special election in January 2002. She is the nation's first Hmong American elected to a state legislature. Senator Moua chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary and is a member of the Tax Committee, Public Safety Budget Division, and the Transportation Budget and Policy Committee.

Workshops: Economic Growth, Healthcare Access, Justice and Advancement, Civil Rights, and Voter Empowerment of Asians

Sponsored by Council of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA) in collaboration with Governor's Advisory Council on Asian Pacific American Affairs, Asian American Center for Justice/American Citizens for Justice, Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, APIAVote-Michigan, Asian Professionals Organization, Asian Victims Relief Fund, Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Asian Indian Women's Association, Association of Chinese Americans, Filipino American Community Council, Great Lakes Hmong Association, India League of America.

Also, join APIAVote and special out-of-state guests Senator Mee Moua (invited) and Glenn Magpantay (confirmed) at a special reception following the conference, beginning at 5:30 pm at Soup to Nutz Bistro, 123 E. Kalamazoo, Lansing!

check out apiavote.org and capa-mi.org for more info.