Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More "Cabinetry": Judy Chu Energes as Solis Confirmed

The AP reported this afternoon that the Senate has confirmed California Congresswoman Hilda Solis as President Barack Obama's labor secretary by a 80-17 vote after a protracted partisan battle.

Her confirmation at the last clears the way for the field of her potential replacements to start the jockeying and earnest, including Judy Chu, who currently serves as State Board of Equalization Chairwoman. Although Chu has the support of the Asian American Action Fund, APAs for Progress PAC, and the L.A. County Federation of Labor, she is seen as having a potentially uphill climb against state Sen. Gil Cedillo in a heavily Latino district.

The delays and souring California budget news led Gautam Dutta to speculate on the AAAF blog that a special election being considered in California might be in Chu's favor. If statewide special elections were held in May or June, Dutta observes, it would make financial sense for the state to defer settling the matter of Solis' replacement to coincide with them, saving what Dutta says is nearly $1 million. Chu's Asian-American supporters are hopeful that she would benefit from having the longer time to campaign.

A recent release by APAs for Progress PAC announced that it had gathered funding for the launch of its new Glen S. Fukushima Campaign Fellowship, which would be used to fund the deployment of a Fellow to Chu's campaign if Solis was confirmed.

WA Gov. Gary Locke Obama Pick For Commerce

The AP reports that Gary Locke -- the Chinese-American former Governor of Washington state -- is president Obama's new pic for the Secretary of Commerce. If confirmed, it would make Locke the second Asian American to head the Department of Commerce, following President Clinton's appointment of Norman Mineta in 2000. The Locke nomination, is expected to be formally announced tomorrow, would be the third nomination President Obama has made for the position.

Monday, February 23, 2009

NYC IAAC Contemporary Indian Art exhibit opening


in collaboration with


is delighted to present



Sunday, March 1st 2009 2-5pm

DOWD GALLERY CORTLAND NY, Special Guest: Consul General of India Prabhu Dayal
Participating artists: Niyeti Chadha Kannal, Nandini Chirimar, Khalil Chishtee, Neil Chowdhury ,
Pritika Chowdhry, Anjali Deshmukh, Anujan Ezhikode, Indira Freitas Johnson, Asha Ganpat, Ina Kaur,
Adil Mansuri, Divya Mehra, Samanta Mehta Batra, Indrani Nayar Gall, Jagdish Prabhu, Antonio Puri,
Alka Raghuram, Gautam Rao, Amin Rehman, Tara Sabharwal, Pallavi Sharma, Preet Srivastava,
Mumtaz Hussain, Reeta Gidwani Karmarkar, Haresh Lalvani, Alakananda Mukerji, Veru Narula,
Prince Varughese Thomas

Curated by Vijay Kumar

About Dowd Gallery & Directions
State University of New York College at Cortland,
Dowd Fine Arts Center, Room 162 Cortland, New York 13045
Andrew Mount Gallery Director Phone (607) 753-4218

Exhibition Dates Feb 27 - April 30 There will be several public programs and events related to this exhibition, The exhibition will travel to other venues immediately after the Dowd Gallery.

Please see schedule for details.

The Indo-American Arts Council is a 501 ©3 not-for-profit arts organization passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of South Asian artists in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and folk arts. For information please visit www.iaac.us

Indo-American Arts Council Inc. 517East 87th St, Suite 1B, New York, NY 10128. Phone: 212 594 3685
Email: admin@iaac.us. Web: www.iaac.us

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma coming to Michigan

March 13 and 14, 2009
Hill Auditorium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
University Musical Society

So did you find Yo-Yo Ma taking pictures with his cell phone in the zoomable inauguration photo from Gigapan.org circulating in emails? The email says that the photo is a composite of over 200 shots and “Bonus points if you find Yo-Yo Ma taking pictures with his cell phone.”

He couldn’t play at the inauguration because of the bitter cold that day, but you can come see him in concert at the famed Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Cold in Michigan? Nah…). Buy your tickets early as the concert is expected to sell out.

“Yo-Yo Ma is part modern Marco Polo, an explorer of cultures far beyond his own; part musical missionary, eager to share ideas and make vital connections between peoples.” (Chicago Tribune) Founded by Yo-Yo Ma in 1998, the Silk Road Project has been a catalyst for a new kind of conversation, opening avenues of inter-cultural communication and collaborative thinking. For about 2,000 years the Silk Road was the main conduit for the spread and exchange of goods, ideas, religions, and culture, connecting people from Asia to the Mediterranean. The collective is drawn from internationally renowned musicians interested in exploring the relationships between tradition and innovation in music from the East and West. “When I started the Silk Road Project,” says Yo-Yo Ma, whose 25 years of touring influenced his view and understanding of the world, “I began to understand the geographical and musical connections between all of these incredible cultures — all these ‘other’ classical musics, the Persian classical music, the Indian classical music, and so on. I got a sense that at one time these connections were much closer, and over time that certain things got split off and developed independently.” After last season’s stunning solo recital, Yo-Yo Ma returns with two different performances featuring artists from the Silk Road Ensemble. Two different programs featuring Yo-Yo Ma, with specific artists to be announced.

Check out ums.org to learn more about the instruments used by the Silk Road Ensemble, to see an interview with Yo-Yo Ma, and more!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kodo comes to Michigan

Friday, February 13, 2009, 8 pm
Hill Auditorium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
University Musical Society

The first time I saw Kodo perform was at Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley in the mid-eighties, trying (hopelessly) to impress a handsome Japanese graduate student. I soon forgot the graduate student sitting next to me as I was taken in by the power and the rhythm of the drumming. And OH! Those muscles! That was one of the first international tours of Kodo, when the drummers were still actually fishermen. I remember the MC, a young Asian American woman, whooping it up over an 87-year-old grandpa’s incredible muscles. I have since become a fan of San Jose Taiko, and the newer younger styles of California Taiko, but I still see Kodo whenever I can.

In ancient Japan, the taiko drum was a symbol of the rural community, and it is said that the limits of the village were defined not by geography, but by the furthest distance from which the taiko could be heard. With its “One Earth” tour, Kodo brings the sound of the taiko to people around the globe, transcending barriers of language and custom and reminding all of our membership in that much larger community, the world. “In this age of exploding populations and lightning-fast communication, it is more important than ever that these diverse cultures learn to recognize and accept each other so that all may share our increasingly shrinking planet in harmony,” according to Kodo’s primary philosophy. The Japanese characters of the company’s name convey two meanings: “heartbeat,” the primal source of all rhythm, and “children of the drum,” a reflection of Kodo’s desire to play their drums simply, with the heart of a child.

The ensemble makes its first University Musical Society appearance since 2005.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Release: Aratani Nikkeijin Scholarship for Japanese Americans

Keio Academy of New York is pleased to announce a new scholarship program for Japanese - American students, the ARATANI FOUNDATION NIKKEIJIN - SCHOLARSHIP. This scholarship was made possible through a generous gift from Mr. George Aratani, a Japanese-American businessman and philanthropist, and the founder of the Mikasa Corporation, Kenwood Corporation, and various trading companies. In this article, I would like to relate how this scholarship was established.

The idea for the scholarship came from Mr. Aratani's personal experience as a heritage language learner. He was born in 1917 in Gardena, California and moved to Santa Maria where he completed high school. His father, a first generation nikkei*, told him to study in Japan and Mr. Aratani went to Tokyo in 1935. After 10 months, his Japanese had made such excellent progress that he entered Keio University, where he cultivated a life-long friendship with many Japanese people including the late Dr. Shinzo Koizumi, a distinguished scholar and former president of the University. When Mr. Aratani returned to California to transfer to Stanford, his father was pleased at his son's progress and exclaimed, "Oh, Nihongo ga umaku natta na (Your Japanese has improved a lot!)."

Throughout his trying experience in the concentration camp during World War II and his service in the US military, Mr. Aratani always appreciated his opportunity to study in Japan. Therefore, he has been extremely active in contributing to the social welfare of the nikkei community, the preservation and passing on of Japanese cultural heritage, and the promotion of friendship between the United States and Japan . In April 2008, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by the Japanese government for his contributions.

Keio Academy of New York (KANY) was established in NY State in 1990 by Keio University as its 5th affiliated high school. Our mission is to educate future leaders in the global society by emphasizing bilingual and bicultural educational curriculum. While our school traditionally attracts many students from the international Japanese business community, we are trying to diversify our students' cultural background. KANY hopes to invite the best and brightest Japanese-American students who are willing to master Japanese as their heritage language.

As the only Japanese high school in the United States, Keio Academy has been trying to reach out and contribute to local and Japanese-American communities. In this regard, we have contacted Ambassador Sakurai of the Japanese Consulate in New York as he has been actively promoting heritage language and culture study. The Ambassador expressed his support and appreciation for our plan. We think it is socially meaningful to enhance the chances for Japanese-Americans to learn their heritage language and culture. It will also diversify the student body at Keio Academy and the scholarship recipients will make a big impact on our students in favorable ways. When I met Mr. Aratani last March and told him of the scholarship plan, he was especially pleased that the opportunity is intended for high school students. I strongly hope that those Japanese-American students who wish to learn their ancestors' language and culture will become a true bridge between the United States and Japan.

Successful applicants will be admitted to Keio Academy of New York as 9th or 10th graders and their first full year of tuition and their admission fee will be waived.

For information or inquiries regarding qualifications or the application process, please visit our website or contact us by email or by FAX at (914-694-4830). Please ask for the Admissions Office, Attn. Ms. Matsuki. The published deadline is February 27, 2009.

-Sumio Sakomura
Headmaster of Keio Academy of New York
(February 1, 2009)

*nikkei = of Japanese ancestry

Sumio Sakomura, Headmaster of Keio Academy of New York and Professor at Keio University, Department of Law (English Education), was born in Oita Prefecture in 1948 and moved to Yamaguchi Prefecture at age five. He attended International Christian University and after earning his Bachelors degree in 1970 and Masters degree three years later, he became a full time instructor at the Department of Law, Keio University. In 2002, he established the Keio Foreign Language Research and Education Center

Philadelphia Event: Creating Community 2/27/09

As their inaugural event, Philadelphia’s newly reconstituted Mayor's Commission on Asian American Affairs will present “Creating Community: The Legacy of the Vincent Chin Case”.

In celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year and Black History Month, the Commission will host a screening of the documentary, Vincent Who?, followed by remarks from the film’s producer, Curtis Chin, and a panel of civil rights experts. This panel will include Tsiwen Law, Esq. (co- founder of the Asian American Bar Association of the Delaware Valley and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association), Umbreen Bhatt, Esq. (Staff Attorney, ACLU), Dr. Marie Amey-Taylor (Director, Human Resources, Learning & Development Division, Temple University, a recognized leader in diversity and cross-cultural relations) and Will Gonzalez, Esq. who is the Executive Director of Ceiba, a coalition of Latino community based organizations, former director of the Police Barrio Relations Project.

In addition to the Commission, this event will be co-hosted by a multi-ethnic coalition of community, arts and culture and professional organizations, including the Philadelphia Chapter of APA for Progress, the Governor's Advisory Commission on Asian American Affairs, Art Sanctuary, Asian Arts Initiative, APABA-PA, AAPIP, the Welcoming Center, Philadelphia Asian American Film & Filmmakers (partial list-more organizations being added).

The purpose of the event is to open dialogue about race relations and to raise awareness about issues of tolerance in the Asian American and broader communities.

“Creating Community” will be held on Friday, February 27, 2009, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., at City Hall, in Conversation Hall Room.