Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stoker Award Ballot reminder

A reminder that ballots for the Bram Stoker Awards (R) close at 11.59pm PST on March 31. If you are an Active Member and have not voted, time is running out. If you've lost you ballot link email immediately as she is a volunteer and you'll need time to get a response.

Lao American Playwrights in San Diego

At Little Laos on the Prairie we had a recent overview of the the Lao American playwrights staged reading at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego's Balboa Park.

The playwrights included Pim Siripanyo, Viliya Ketavong, Carol Manisouk, Kinnalone Bee Savatdy, Khamp “Nong” Thongrivone, Rainier Ronquillo, Phatthason Manisouk, Bidone Salima, Sunny Chantharathip and Bandith Xaysana.

They had an interesting range looking at various slices of Asian American and particularly Lao American life. There were historic pieces, comedies, and experimental works presented. It will be interesting to see where they all are ten years from now. Here's hoping they receive the support they deserve in the coming years ahead to really bring their works to life the way they're meant to be seen.

Voices from Laos tour about to begin

The Voices from Laos speakers tour kicks off in just a few days in New York City.

After an opening reception on April 3rd, the tour will officially launch at the United Nations Headquarters building, where our speakers will be joined by Saleumxay Kommasith, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Lao PDR to the United Nations, and Jordan Ryan, head of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery at the United Nations Development Program. From there, the tour will cross the United States to the West Coast, heading back through the Midwest, and making a final stop in Washington, DC.

For more details about the tour you can visit:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bidone Salima selected winner of Little Laos on the Prairie Writing Contest

Little Laos on the Prairie recently announced the first winner of their first writing contest, presented in February, when they asked for submissions on "New Ideas of Lao American Beauty." Bidone Salima of San Diego was selected for her creative flash essay, "Beauty." She receives a nice certificate from Little Laos on the Prairie and a bag of SnakeBomb Coffee from Laos.

Bidone Salima is a Lao American artist based in San Diego. Her work as a freelance photographer spans four continents and she speaks several languages. She has an AA degree in Administration of Justice, and recently completed taking a playwriting class, and volunteers for several Laotian organizations in SD. Her future goals include pursuing her B.A degree in human services.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Doom That Came to Fiddle Creak (Marionette Puppet Play)

Deep in the shadowy reaches of the Appalachian Mountains lurk secrets so terrible it was not meant that men should know them. Foul abominations lie in wait, locked away in the in-between spaces Euclid dared not contemplate, aching to return to a world which once belonged to them, and one day will be in their grasp again...

"The CastIron Carousel seeks funding to stage an H.P. Lovecraft-themed marionette play entitled The Doom That Came to Fiddle Creak in Portland, Oregon in the fall of 2013. The audience will enjoy a fully realized marionette theater experience: a curtain will open revealing a magic window into a stage populated by intricately articulated marionettes animated by near-invisible strings."

So, they're running a kickstarter and need at least $3,000 more to make a really good run at it.

I'd really like to see more work like this done in puppetry! So, if you can spare a few coins, please consider it.

Happy Birthday, Akira Kurosawa!

For the iconic Japanese director's birthday on March 23, Hulu is making 24 of his Criterion films free all weekend, including classics like "Rashomon" and his final film "Madadayo."

Friday, March 22, 2013

Women for Peace & Hope in Laos launches online fundraiser to address UXO

From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years – making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history.

2013 will be the 40th anniversary since the end of the bombing campaign in Laos, yet children and families continue to be maimed and killed from them. Help Legacies of War, an advocacy nonprofit organization, work towards a legacy of peace and hope through the Voices from Laos educational speakers tour across the U.S., which kicks off in April.

Women for Peace & Hope in Laos, a group of philanthropists, invite you to commemorate the significance of this anniversary by donating to Legacies of War with just a click on the link below. Any amount will help. Please share with your friends and family. Let's make this happen by April 15, 2013; right in time for Lao New Year!

Contribute towards a bomb-free Laos. Donate now:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

World Poetry Day 2013!

Happy World Poetry Day!

Every year on March 21st, UNESCO celebrates the World Poetry Day. A decision to proclaim 21 March as World Poetry Day was adopted during the UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999. According to the UNESCO’s decision, "the main objective of this action is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities. Moreover, this Day is meant to support poetry, return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, promote teaching poetry, restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music, painting and so on, support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art..."

On my reading list today are selections from: Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond edited by Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal and Ravi Shankar. Who's on yours?

You can always download a free copy of my e-book  Between Souls at or a number of other collections at

Of course this always obliges me to present: 

Or from a Speculative Poetry perspective, a mention of Vogon Poetry.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2013 Lao New Year Essay Contest

2013 Lao New Year Essay Contest 

Celebrate the 2013 Lao New Year with an essay contest.

The Minnesota Twin Cities Lao New Year and Naiku invite Minnesotan students of Lao descent to submit an original written essay capturing the essence of “What the Lao New Year means to you.”

The contest has two divisions:

1. Kindergarten to 7th grade and
2. 8th to 12 grade.

A $100 prize will be awarded to each division winner. The overall winner will read their essay at the April 13, Lao New Year cultural show.


· All entries require an essay sent via email (students may use their parent’s or an adult’s email).

· Emails must include name, address, phone number, e-mail addresses, grade and school.

· Written essays are to be forwarded to

· Contest open to Minnesotan students of Lao descent.

· Essay entries should be double spaced with 12 point font and up to 1000 words.

· Submission deadline is Friday April 5, 2013.

Sponsored by the Minnesota Lao New Year Committee and Naiku

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lao Horror Film: Chanthaly has a trailer!

We mentioned it a lot during the recent MarsCon in Minneapolis at the beginning of the month, but director Mattie Do has finally released a trailer for the first Lao horror film, Chanthaly over at Vimeo. The team in Minnesota is working fast to figure out a way to get it shown in the Twin Cities later this year. Check it out: 

"A young girl, raised alone by her overprotective father sequestered in their home in Vientiane, Chanthaly suspects that her dead mother's ghost is trying to deliver a message to her from the afterlife. After a change in the medication treating her hereditary heart condition causes the hallucinations to cease, Chanthaly must decide whether or not to risk succumbing to her terminal illness to hear her mother's last words. Coming soon to LAO-ITECC Cinema in Vientiane."

Innsmouth Inktank: An Interview with Ann K. Schwader

Over at Innsmouth Free Press, I have a new column, the Innsmouth Inktank. This time, I interview speculative poet Ann K. Schwader about her work, including her collection Twisted in Dreams. Be sure to check out their other articles this week as they focus on "Women In Horror."

A Future Laollywood? Director Anysay Keola featured on Little Laos on the Prairie

Little Laos on the Prairie's Chanida Phaengdara Potter has a new article up, this time an interview with director Anysay Keola of Lao New Wave Cinema Production, "A Future Laollywood."

Keola directed the film "At the Horizon," and shared his insights on his journey as a film maker and what might be next from Lao cinema. Be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bloomington Writers Festival and Book Fair: March 23

On Saturday, March 23, 2013 Bloomington Center for the Arts will be holding the annual Bloomington Writers Festival and Book Fair at 1800 W Old Shakopee Rd Bloomington, MN. It's hard to believe it's been 10 years, but the festival has been steadily growing.

Starting at 9:30 am, the  Keynote is by Tom Hegg, author of A Cup of Christmas Tea and the children’s book classic series, Peef the Bear. $15 to attend and help cover costs.

From 10:30 am – 3:30 am Book Fair and Author Readings, Free and Open to the Public

11:00 am – 5:00 pm Workshops $13:

Getting Started Series includes workshops to stimulate your creativity, personal writing, writing other activities to help you find focus, overcoming writing resistance and writers block and more.

Telling Your Story Series includes workshops on writing memoirs, turning your journals into stories, writing for children and more.

Publishing Series includes panels and workshops on preparing your manuscripts, editing options, legal issues and publishing options.

Marketing and Publicity Series includes workshops that help you get the word out about your book, including preparation of press kits, news releases, use of social media, platform development.

Arts and Writing Series include workshops on cover design and writing lyrics.

Register early to ensure a spot in the workshop of your choice at or 952-563-8575.

Doing Literature: The Tempest

We'll be discussing William Shakespeare's The Tempest this Saturday at the Hemet Public Library on 300 E. Latham Avenue in Hemet, California at 10:00 AM. The discussion is free and open to the public!

Monday, March 11, 2013

New poem: "Ink: A Recipe" at Cha

My poem "Ink: A Recipe" is up at Cha this week! Be sure to check out the other great poets and writers featured this month. A big thanks to Mia Funk who also provides art to accompany the poem.

Cha, founded in 2007, a decade after the handover, is the first Hong Kong-based English online literary journal; it is dedicated to publishing quality poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, reviews and photography & art.

Cha has a strong focus on Asian-themed creative work and work done by Asian writers and artists. It also publishes established and emerging writers/artists from around the world. The journal had a launch in Beijing on 31 August 2009 by Royston Tester. Cha is catalogued in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Library, among other universities.

Vote for Mike 2600 to represent Minneapolis during a National DJ competition!

On a cooler and lighter note for the week, please vote for Mike Davis aka Mike 2600, so he can compete at the final level of this National DJ competition. He will be there representing Minneapolis and Minnesota if he gets enough votes. Mike is a great DJ, musician, artist and person who's been there for the Lao American community and has an awesome Star Wars collection.

Kundiman Poetry Prize Deadline: This Friday

As courtesy reminder: You have until Friday, 3/15 to submit to the Kundiman Poetry Prize.Asian American writers living in the United States are eligible. Manuscripts must be typed, paginated, and 50 – 70 pages in length (single spaced). No illustrations, photographs or images should be included. The entry fee for The Kundiman Prize is $28. Payment for online submission must be made online.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Speculative Visions of Race, Technology, Science, & Survival

Interesting conference coming up at UC Berkeley, March 15-16 ath the Center for Race & Gender. The questions they're asking at Speculative Visions  of Race, Technology, Science, & Survival are:

What will survival entail in near and far futures? In light of racialized violence and social control, massive technological innovation, and rapid transformations in science and biomedicine, this conference will engage the imperative to imagine, study, prepare for, and articulate future human life. We are interested in how science and technology shape the material and epistemological boundaries of existence, specifically how and whose existence is valued, policed, corporealized, and corporatized. We will also explore the capacity of embodied subjects to navigate these boundaries in the context of dis/abled, gendered, sex/uality, and queer formations. Recognizing that technology creates kinds of futures (both anticipated and unforeseen), this conference will create a space to analyze how technologies of the past and present contextualize and disclose future realities, and identify opportunities for creating new possibilities."

Zen Pencils: How to become an astronaut?

Zen Pencils recently did a great comic inspired by Chris Hadfield's advice on what does it take to become an astronaut. I think it applies for a lot of things. Hopefully, one day, we'll even see a Lao space program. But in the meantime:

NYLC Seeks Professional Development Manager

The National Youth Leadership Council is seeking a Professional Development Manager to lead our youth initiatives. As lead professional development staff for NYLC’s youth initiatives, this position oversees the Youth Advisory Council, develops and implements NYLC’s youth trainings, and builds relationships with youth-serving partners. The position announcement can be found on our website at, and is open until filled, Resumes will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning March 25.

"Enslaved: An MTV Exit Special" Focus on Laos

On International Women's Day, UNIAP and MTV Exit will be releasing "Enslaved: An MTV Exit Special" - a powerful documentary aiming to raise awareness of human trafficking in Laos. The film will be broadcast on March 8 at 8.30pm on Lao Star TV.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

MarsCon Aftermath!

photo courtesy of Christopher Khounbanam

Well, for the first time in a long time, we had almost triple the Lao American attendance we normally have for MarsCon or any of the other science fiction conventions in Minnesota.

I wish we had confirmed our programming earlier in the year so we could have arranged for more Lao to pre-register at the affordable price so they would show up and get a better sense of the experience of participating in such conventions.

Saymoukda Vongsay and I had good discussions all throughout the evening. She even got to take a picture with the Guest of Honor, Claudia Christian:

Yes. They're both very tall.

Heretically, though, Saymoukda has never seen an episode of Babylon 5.

One of the big hits was explaining the significance of the Gop Kin Deuane, the Frog Who Eats the Moon, framing the possibilities of viewing him or her as a giant kaiju on par with Cthulhu, Godzilla, or similar entities.

We explored how Lao would almost never accept the idea of the Nak being a malevolent entity in a historic context. There were also some fun discussions on the various types of Phi and the Lao perspective on zombies as seen through the Buddhist 5 precepts.

Because Harry Turtledove was one of the guests of honor, although I didn't get a chance to meet him, we did discuss what alternate history meant for people who lived during secret wars. We broke down some interesting points in Southeast Asian, particularly Lao history, where mainstream and Lao American writers could create some fascinating thought exercises, with and without the fantastic involved.

We did not get much time to discuss the Nakanya, however. Perhaps another convention.

Saymoukda Vongsay was only able to attend the first day due to unexpected homework and grant commitments. But she left quite an impression and many were enthusiastically awaiting her new play Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals due out in October, although I understand it's gone through many radical changes since it was first conceived.

The parties throughout the convention were fairly diverse, and we spent a lot of time at Krushenko's and the ConSuite, although I particularly appreciated the Lovecraft room and the Brit Con room.  The Dr. Who room was also very popular:

We were very happy to see how much of an audience there was for horror, and one of these days, hopefully, people will take our work seriously as we scare the pants off of you.

Here's one of Saymoukda's favorite cosplayers of the con:

The other one she admired was a wizard we met in the hall:

Probably my favorite was the Asian American steampunk, Michael, who had a really awesome outfit. But it also convinced me I'd really need to step it up if I made an outfit of my own. Now I regret not getting those goggles in the dealer's room when I had the chance:

He really put a lot of great detail and work into it. And reminds me that once DEMONSTRA is finished up, I need to get back to examining the Steampunk field some more. Saymoukda also found the aesthetic very interesting:

Will she adapt if for her work in the future? Who can say.

Also, this weekend, thanks to Steve Fox and friends, I learned about the near-Lovecraftian Hodag. And I'm almost certain I'm going to have to find a way to include him in DEMONSTRA before it goes to print.

It was good catching up with many of my favorite Minnesota writers and artists, such as Catherine Lundoff, Rebecca Marjesdatter, SN Arly, Michael Merriam, Roy C. Booth and Cynthia Booth, Rob Callahan, David Schwartz, Chris Jones, Lyda Morehouse and Haddayr Copley Woods.

I missed Moira Manion, but ran into her at The Source earlier that week, and Terry A. Garey, who was there but our paths somehow didn't intersect that time around. I also met Rhea Ewing and Rachel Gold for the first time, and they were a riot. Hopefully we'll hear more from them in the fututre.

This is the last year MarsCon will be at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and just as well. While we lucked out on good service in the hotel restaurant the first night, by Saturday, they became a demonstration in Kafkaesque cuisine. Seriously, I'm not going to miss their "restaurant." Here you can see the horror about to unfold...

Lyda Morehouse picked up a most unusual Tanuki during MarsCon:

Overall, Saymoukda walked away with some great ideas for the Lao Space Program, so all is well in the cosmos. Well, as well as the cosmos gets when written by Lao American horror writers.

We had some great conversations with the community about the horror of Mattie Do, or at least, the horror of her films, her possible upcoming projects we'd like to see, the film Chanthaly, and the influences of Lovecraft and others on her approach to horror. Will we be able to screen it at Diversicon in August? It's a possibility! Or perhaps Arcana in October.

So, overall it was a great time, and now the hamster wheel is spinning what we'll present on during the next MarsCon! Thanks, everybody, for all of your support during the panels and here's to next year!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Clearing Bombs, Protecting Lives Voices from Laos Speakers Tour, April 2013

Legacies of War is very excited to announce “Voices from Laos: Clearing Bombs, Protecting Lives,” a groundbreaking, national speakers tour across the United States. The tour will create a space for dialogue on how individuals and communities are affected by Vietnam War-era unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos, how the problem is being addressed in the country, and ways in which people in the U.S. can help to clear Laos of bombs, support survivors of accidents, and help to create a safer future for the people of Laos.

The speakers tour aims to educate audiences about the dangers of UXO in Laos, mobilize positive action, and show how war and conflict can haunt innocent civilians decades later. The tour will also present an opportunity for healing and hope. By mobilizing communities, Legacies of War will build a movement to stop the senseless deaths and injuries caused by UXO and build a bright future for the children of Laos.

CAPM Announces new Executive Director

The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans (CAPM), a state agency that focuses on policy development and advocacy on issues that affect the Asian Pacific community announced that Sia Her has been appointed as its new Executive Director. Ms. Her will manage all operations and projects of the Council and develop and implement strategic and well-informed plans for CAPM.

“On behalf of the board, I want to express how pleased we are to have Sia Her leading the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans (CAPM) into the next phase of our work,” said Hue Danny Lee, chair of the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans board of directors. “She has a strong track record of public service, policy knowledge, and connection to the Asian Pacific Islander Community. Sia has demonstrated great leadership in her previous roles and given her strong passion for education and the experience she is ideally suited to take the helm of the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans in today’s fast-paced, dynamic environment."

According to Adeel Lari, member of the search committee, Ms. Her was selected after CAPM conducted an extensive and public search for the new Executive Director. The search resulted in over 80 candidates with some very competent and diverse applicants. The search committee took input from the community and the staff before making its final decision.

Ms. Her comes to the Council with more than a decade of experience in non-profit management, policy advocacy, and engaging new Americans in both the political and policy processes. She served as Education and Training Department Manager at Hmong American Partnership for more than four years. Most recently, she served as Campaign Manager for the successful Saint Paul Public Schools’ “Strong Schools, Strong Communities” levy referendum campaign which secured over $300 million dollars for the Saint Paul Public Schools. Ms. Her holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Macalester College.

Ms. Her will begin her duties on March 6th.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Write Lovecraft like Neil Gaiman!

Jersey Devil Press has always wanted to do a Lovecraft issue - but not just the standard collection of pastiches. They’re looking for something special, a mash-up of one literary style or theme with ol’ Howard Phillips to create something new, ideally something dark and ferocious, very possibly with a healthy dose of humor. In short, write Lovecraft like Neil Gaiman! They’re looking for solid short stories, a tale of 3,000 to 7,000 words. The best three to five will make the final issue, to be published in July. No copyright infringement. No trunk stories. Neil Gaiman is not allowed to enter.

Catherine Lundoff writes up MarsCon 2013

The ever awesome Catherine Lundoff has a great writeup of MarsCon that pretty much covers everything I would have said about it, except I wound up in Krushenko's a lot longer than she did and took a few more pictures. And waited a hell of a long time for an iced tea at the restaurant from hell.

Issue 5 of the Lantern Review is here!

The latest issue of Lantern Review is out, themed around the topic of hybridity. It marks their first foray into themed issues. It includes a special feature on the work of poet/playwright/scholar Takeo Rivera, and features work by the following artists:

Ching-In Chen
Kristen Eliason
Carrie Green
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
Esther Lee
Sally Wen Mao
Christopher Santiago
Amy Uyematsu
Jane Wong
Khaty Xiong

Visual Art:
Karen An-Hwei Lee
Michael Marcinek

We hope you'll take a moment to check out this fabulous new issue. Check it out at:

So, check it out and let the artists and editors know if you liked it or not. I'll even go so far as to say, if you really appreciate it, send in something more than a 'thumbs up' but provide them some real feedback about what you liked and what would keep you interested in the journal's future issues.