On May 20 and 21, the Center for Lao Studies is bringing Molam Tan Smay: Molam in the Modern Era, a modern Lao Opera, developed through a collaboration among members of the Lao Bantheung Sinh molam troupe of Oakland, its troupe leader Mr. Khankham Phaxayavong, and Lao-American rap artist One Hunned. Performances at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond, California, will be at 6-8 pm on Saturday, May 20, and 4-6 pm on Sunday, May 21. On Sunday, the 21st, from 6-10 pm, the molam cast will meet and greet guests, and food, beverages, and entertainment will be provided. Tickets are available.
Molam Tan Smay: Molam in the Modern Era is a bilingual performance that tells the story of Lao refugees — their love and regrets — through their journey to and struggles in the United States. The Center writes, “We are pleased to provide the opportunity to share this fundamental traditional Lao art form with the general public, and to support Lao artists who still practice molam. In Lao, molam is ubiquitous, as troupes are regularly hired to perform at temple festivals, receptions, and other events.” The Center believes that modernized molam reung, which combines hip hop with the traditional skills and knowledge of a molam troupe, can help to preserve molam.
Ten works from Patricia A. Montgomery’s collection of quilted coats honoring heroines of the civil rights movement are on exhibit through March 18 in the San Marco Gallery, Archbishop Alemany Library, at Dominican University in San Rafael. On Saturday, February 11 at 1:30 pm, Montgomery is presenting an artist’s talk in the university’s Guzman Hall. Also scheduled is a closing reception on Sunday March 5, 2-5 pm.
The exhibit and talk are the latest in a string of solo exhibits and juried group shows to feature Montgomery’s work, which she developed through a collaboration with the African American Museum and Library at Oakland and first exhibited there. Montgomery researched stories of women who played pivotal roles in the civil rights movement but who often were overlooked. She then embodied their stories in her innovative coats that draw upon the African American story quilt tradition.
Culminating more than a year of collaboration and project development, Liberian dancer, choreographer, director, craftsman, and costume designer Nimely Napla and Diamano Coura West African Dance are premiering a new ballet, The Forbidden Bush, on November 26 and 27, 2016 at Laney College’s Odell Johnson Performing Arts Center in Oakland. Performances are at 8 pm on the 26th and 3 pm on the 27th. Tickets are available.
Traditional quilter Patricia Montgomery collaborated with the African American Museum and Library at Oakland to create a collection of quilted coats — each incorporating the story of a forgotten heroine of the Civil Rights movement. Montgomery’s “Claudetta Gets Arrested” (pictured here) won first prize in the wearable art category at the 2016 Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara (October 13-16). Her piece was cited as an “innovative design — vest, jacket, or coat.” Congratulations to Patricia!
Photo by Karen Boutte
On September 17 at 1:00 p.m., Diamano Coura West African Dance Company is bringing “The Forbidden Bush –The Ancestors Still Teach” to Defremery Park in Oakland. The afternoon will include a free drum class at 1:15; free dance class (incorporating movements from “The Forbidden Bush”) at 2:30; and performance of an excerpt from “The Forbidden Bush” at 4:20. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs and those interested in the drum class should bring drums as a limited number will be available. “The Forbidden Bush” is being developed through a collaboration between Liberian artist Nimely Napla and Diamana Coura West African Dance. The completed work will premiere in November 2016.
Through her Creative Work Fund grant, master weaver Jenny Bawer Young has been developing the tapestry Chewang Chi Biyeg/River of Life with apprentice weavers at the Manilatown Center in the International Hotel in San Francisco. On the first Saturdays of each month, from 3-5 p.m., community members are invited to learn laga, the backstrap weaving art of the indigenous Kalinga people of the Northern Philippines with Bawer Young. Workshops are free and everyone is welcome.
The completed tapestry will connect themes of the Chico River Struggle for indigenous ancestral lands of the Kalinga people with the I-Hotel fight for home, place, and community for San Francisco’s residents of Filipino descent. It will be unveiled on August 4, 2017, the 40th year commemoration of the International Hotel eviction.
Master creator of kapa cloth, Wendeanne Ke’aka Stitt, is presenting the exhibit “Ka’o to Kapa: Moving Tradition Forward” at the 21st annual Bay Area Aloha Festival, August 6 and 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., held at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds. On view will be the five kapa pa’u hula (hula skirts) she created through her Creative Work Fund collaboration with Kumu Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu of the Academy of Hawaiian Arts of Oakland. Admission to the festival is free.
Featuring music of Taiwan, China, Azerbaijan, India, and Uzbekistan, the new Chinese opera Overture to the Sun Archer will premiere at The Presidio Officer’s Club in San Francisco on June 18, 2016, at 7 p.m. The story begins with the long-ago Chinese hero Hou Yi, who saved the earth from scorching by shooting nine suns out of the sky with his bow and arrow. Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance.
Many years in development, this project was built up on a collaboration between percussionist Wang Wei and Door Dog Music Productions — now SF World Music — with earlier participation by the San Francisco Gu-Zheng Music Society.
In Work MORE 7: Daughters of a Riot, LOL McFiercen, Honey Mahogany, Dulce De Leche, and VivvyAnne ForeverMORE! bring to the stage moments of queer history when drag and gender transgression exploded into riots of resistance. With lipsynch, singing, video, and audience participation, these artists trace the queer genealogies and histories that brought them to the stage. This project was developed through a collaboration among the artists and Queer Cultural Center (QCC) for the National Queer Arts Festival 2016. Performances are May 27 and 28, 8 pm at Brava Theater, and tickets are available.
Photo by: Cabure Alejandro Bonugli
Following the inaugural presentation of “Honoring the Civil Rights Movement’s Heroines” at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, the exhibit of Patricia Montgomery’s evocative quilted swing coats–each representing a different heroine’s story–opened on April 4 at the Brick House Gallery and Art Complex in Sacramento. The Brick House galleries are open Thursdays and Fridays from Noon to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from noon until 7 p.m. The exhibition of Montgomery’s swing coats runs through April 30, with a closing reception and artist’s talk that afternoon.