I’m mad late on recaps of shows and events this past month. So here’s a very brief look at what I’ve been up to this summer:
The long awaited pics from the Sulu DC + SNRG photo shoot back in May. All photos were taken by Les Talusan. Location: alley on U Street NW.
FAMILY STYLE OPEN MIC — JUNE 18
“Jorge is not in a bottle of tequila or in a half smoke at Ben’s chili bowl”
That was by far, the best line/moment of the night. I made it into Michelle’s poem! Anyways, much love to Michelle and Catzie for inviting me to feature at Family Style in the Asian Arts Initiative. Many thanks to all the folks who came out to support, and of course to the wonderful staff and volunteers of the Asian Arts Initiative! They all stuck with me as I blundered my way through the transition between each piece. (What was that that I was saying about hosting open mics? What point was I making?) But I did get to meet a young composer currently studying music composition at Temple. We’re going to be collaborating soon! I’ve always wanted to put poetry to music, but not as a song per say. Here’s a sample of what our collabo could potentially sound like.
SULU DC SHOW — JUNE 19
The following day was the 7th installation of Sulu DC and the first time we ever had guest hosts. Elli Nagai-Rothe and Steve Ma were amazing hosts! They were energetic and engaging; they also created an Asian pyramid game, which tested us founders, or “celebrity guests” and unsuspecting volunteers from the audience on our Asian American trivia. Out of 3 teams, me and my partner, YaliniDream, placed 2nd.
Although it was a bit noisy and the sound system was weak, the artists tore up the stage! Ira Sukrungruang, YaliniDream, Jason Bayani, Ali Wong, and Paige of PAIGE IN FULL gave phenomenal performances, while Nick tha 1da held it down. What a wonderful lineup! Sometimes when I put these artists together in one month, I never really know how smooth or good the show will be. When I see it all come together like that, and watch how the audience responds to each artist, nothing can really replace that feeling or moment.
SMITHSONIAN FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL — JULY 3
This year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival was the first time it featured Asian American and/or Pacific Islanders. It’s highlighted Asian countries, but never the Asian Diaspora here in America. As Sulu DC, we were thrilled to be invited to do a show on one of the evening concerts for the APA Program: Local lives, Global ties.
During the first week of the festival, I was invited to speak at the TalkStory stage to talk about APA arts in DC today. I didn’t so much speak about current arts movement, as I shared two poems. But it’s appropriate for the stage, no?
The actual show was a bit more stressful than past Sulu DC shows. It was in an outside venue, we were working with more tech for each artist, there were more than 10 artists (!), and we had a 2 hour limit (seriously, as soon as it hit 8 pm, the mics turned off). We hadn’t tried organizing a show of this magnitude, but we did it. Who was there, you ask? A lineup we hope to feature again soon.
Yoko K. | Alex Cena | Simone Jacobson | Gowri K. | Jenny C. Lares | Kilusan w/ DJ Soulcrates | Lily Bee | SNRG | iLL-Literacy | Regie Cabico | The Pinstriped Rebel
One of the more personally fulfilling aspects of the show was the collaboration between me, Alex, Simone, and Gowri. We wanted to use the platform that the Smithsonian was giving us and say something. All the while keeping it family friendly. What did we decide to write about? Oh just the age old question of “Where are you from? Where are you really from?”. You know the question you get asked every other day. How did we keep it family friendly? Oh it was hard. Believe me, it was fucking hard. Take a look: