Tuesday, May 23, 2017

July 2017 Presentations and Performances

July is fast approaching and with it, four of my upcoming appearances in which I'll be discussing everything from giant lizards, kung-fu zombies, poetry, to the importance of engaging the imagination in refugee resettlement. For now you can get a sense of my schedule at the following sites. I'll see you all there!

CONvergence (July 7-9th) 

Confirmed panels include: Giant Lizard Theater: Infinity Edition; Asian Folklore 101; The Making of Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals; Peele-ing Back 'Get Out;''and Laomagination: Building Southeast Asian Speculative Arts Movements.

G-Fest XXIV (July 14-16th) 

Confirmed panel: Kaiju in Speculative Poetry

Diversicon (July 21-23rd)

Panels still TBD

2017 Southeast Asian American Studies Conference: Community Engagement, Research & Policy in Action (July 27-29th)

Confirmed panels include Southeast Asian American Art and Politics; Rising SEAS: Challenges and Strategies for Growth as Southeast Asian Writers; and a showcase performance with Bao Phi and Peuo Tuy.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mai Der Vang's "Afterland" coming to UCLA, May 25th

Delighted to announce I'll be helping to introduce Hmong American poet Mai Der Vang, author of the award-winning book of poetry Afterland from Graywolf Press in Minnesota. Afterland won the Walt Whitman Award from the American Academy of Poets in 2016 and it's finally been released to the public. It's an extraordinary collection and an important addition to the world of Hmong arts and letters.Be sure to join us at UCLA in the Public Affairs building room 2270 at 4PM for what is certain to be an exciting and marvelous reading.

For a preview of what it might be like, here is my post regarding her launch in her hometown of Fresno. I've been reading her poems every day this month to start my morning. Afterland comes with my strongest recommendations and I'm very happy for her, even as I am now also obligated to say: I can't wait to see her second book, now. ;)

Author Spotlight: Lisa Teasley

This past weekend left me with a lot to report from the 6th annual LitFest Pasadena on May 20th-21st with well over 100 authors and 30 events, including formal and informal gatherings throughout the city. My time was split between covering LitFest as well as the inaugural East Los Angeles Comic Con but I'm glad I had the chance to cover both.

I always think it's the sign of a good literary event when you can genuinely discover new authors, and LitFest Pasadena delivered well in that regard for many of my reading tastes. I'll be covering many of them in the coming weeks ahead, but first up, I want to highlight the work of artist, author and world traveler Lisa Teasley who came to my attention through an act of serendipity while documenting the Tomorrow Prize! for emerging teen science fiction writers at the Pasadena Playhouse.

In no uncertain terms, Ms. Teasley cuts a very striking and dramatic figure upon entering a room, and as she prepared to give her talk as part of the panel on writers within the Black Lives Matters movement, I had a chance to take a few photos of her and her colleagues.

A Los Angeles native, she graduated from UCLA and is the author of several books including Glow In The Dark, Heat Signature, and Dive, each of which has received substantial acclaim as they've come out. Her debut, Glow In The Dark, a collection of short stories, won both a Gold Pen Award and a Pacificus Literary Foundation award for fiction in 2002. Her awards also include the May Merrill Miller and National Society of Arts & Letters award in the Short Story category.

Her current forte is writing tales which have elements of crime, mystery, and passion, and they have been consistently praised for their interesting characters and scenarios.

Her work also includes writing and hosting the BBC Television documentary, High School Prom. 

She was a member of the former art collective HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN, which debuted the film “Good Stock on the Dimension Floor” at the Whitney Biennial 2014. On top of all that, Lisa Teasley is a fiction editor at the Los Angeles Review of BooksHer travels have taken her to Indonesia, China, Alaska, and points in between, with many more sure to come in the years ahead.

This year, Lisa Teasley was presenting with her panelists on Writing in the Times of Black Lives Matter & Resistance to Trumpism in the Pasadena Playhouse – Friendship Room (off courtyard) The aim was to gather black writers to discuss what it means to write during the time of Black Lives Matter and Trump. Her scheduled co-panelists included Gar Anthony Haywood, Dana Johnson (Not Quite Dark), Tricia Alkmia Cochée, James Farr, and Jervey Tervalon (Monster’s Chef)

You can find Lisa Teasley on social media such as Twitter: @TheLisaTeasley and on Instagram at @LisaTeas. And of course she maintains her website at http://LisaTeasley.Com. Be sure to check her out!

The SEAD Project nears its fundraising goal. Can you help?

It's a good time this week to do a shoutout to the Southeast Asian American non-profit The SEAD Project which is just a little over $400 away from reaching its fundraising goal of $1,500. If you can help them out, it would make a tremendous difference for Southeast Asians abroad and in the US. Their Facebook campaign ends soon but every bit helps!

Now in its third year as a fully-recognized 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, The SEAD Project started with the vision of Chanida Phaengdara Potter and a group of Southeast Asian young professionals who wanted to not only connect with their roots and heritage, but to think bigger and beyond preservation.

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Vientiane, Laos, they’re starting a diaspora movement to rethink and reimagine and reshape what’s possible in development and growth for a thriving community with a pivoted focus on empowering young professionals, women and youth.

With roots in 2010, The SEAD Project (Southeast Asian Diaspora Development) is a creative social venture on a mission to be an accessible community hub that provides streamlined cross cultural workshops, exchanges and knowledge-sharing for Southeast Asian locals and diaspora communities. Through safe and welcoming spaces, they hope to connect the disconnected and drive empowerment to plant the seeds of hope and possibility locally and globally.