I have wrapped up my last performance of 2014.
Performing this show has continued to create powerful ripples in my consciousness about healing from community wounds and the pedagogical power of remembering injustice.
After every show, I’ve been moved and touched by the stories that come pouring forth from audience members. I am truly grateful.
I’m taking a pause in the scheduling of performances to contemplate what the next engagements might be like.
Questions on my mind:
What directions would I like to explore with this work?
Does its next iteration involve more community or audience engagement?
How do I balance the time and energy required to prepare for a show with the material necessities of life?
Do I continue this work alone, or branch out in partnerships and/or collaborations?
Does the artistic approach deepen or change course?
As I take a pause to think about these, I am also taking pause in booking more shows.
At least for now.
Thanks for following!
To celebrate the new year, my family and I traveled down to the LA area to visit some of our relatives and ring in 2014 with Japanese food & family. While visiting with my second cousins — some of whom I hadn’t seen in a decade — I realized that though we shared great grandparents who built their lives in this country in the agricultural fields of the Central Valley, my brother and I were/are the only Yonsei (fourth generation Japanese Americans) left who grew up and still reside in the Valley. Where we call home is the place many of our Issei and Nisei ancestors are buried. Who will be the caretakers of these sacred places of memory, I wonder. What might call Yonsei like my cousins to the Valley to trace and connect with their roots? I imagine what kinds of transformation could be possible, what kind of regeneration of memory and understanding might grow during these uncertain journeys. I am recalled to my performance this year, to be a Yonsei volunteer, a surrogate of collective memory.
Two humble upcoming 2014 Performances:
February 8th: Merced at the Livingston-Merced JACL Day of Remembrance Banquet.
February 9th: Fresno, Woodward Park Library, 944 E. Perrin Avenue, Fresno
2 pm in the Community Room
First performance of 2014 is scheduled!
I’ll be performing “What We Could Carry” as the keynote address at the Livingston-Merced Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League annual Day of Remembrance Banquet.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Social hour: 5 pm, Dinner 6 pm
Merced County Fairgrounds, Pavilion Building
900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way
Merced, CA 95341
Deadline for dinner reservations: January 25th, 2014
For more information and to purchase your ticket see:
As the summer harvest season wraps up (I’m also an organic farmer!), I can begin to flow back into this performance. I am excited to share of the upcoming schedule: I’ll be performing the show on:
September 27th, 2013
at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno
2672 E. Alluvial, between Chestnut and Willow, Fresno, CA
Tickets: $15 for adults / $5 for students
A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Japanese American National Museum of Los Angeles (where I did much of my research).
For more ticket information, call (559) 322-6146
The time is set for the spring performance:
April 19th, 2013
@ Willow International Community College Center
Doors open at 6:00 pm
Performance at 7:00 pm
This performance is hosted by WICCC and part of their Asian American History month.
The richness grows
Radical: of or from the root(s). If we think of our core, of our power as roots (instead of a foundation of stone), we can remember we must continue to grow to stay alive.
One of the beauties of live performance is the opportunity for exchange. As I’ve continued to perform, I’ve not only spoken, but also listened. The stories that individuals have shared with me have added more depth and meaning to this work.
After one performance, I was gifted three suitcases by a Japanese American who was in the audience. He happened to be a neighbor whose parents were interned in the same camp as my grandparents. When I picked up the suitcases, I found out that his family lived in the barrack next to my baachan and that he had just found the suitcases while cleaning out the family home. Two of the three suitcases still has the original tag, with their family number, assigned to all Japanese American families as they traveled to camp. These suitcases, I learned, had been carried from Gila River, Arizona back to their home in a small town in the Central Valley, and they had never been used since then.
This incredibly kind gesture adds not just to the performance – but to the collective fabric that makes up shared memory and shared trauma. I’m not just speaking to heal myself, I’m hoping that the collection of voices I perform and the shared experience of performance will fortify and awaken the caves and mountains and rivers of community.
Shared stories. Shared histories. Shared futures.
What stories do you/we carry?
How do we carry them?
What dreams do we have?
What carries us forward?
Yesterday, I performed at the CCDC JACL annual Day of Remembrance luncheon for about 120 guests. It was an amazing experience. I felt the voices and the messages of the testifiers resonate deeply. It was a moment where I felt much of my life’s work in action: to invite and create ways where memory is alive, where healing can continue, and where performance can transform my body into something so much bigger. I hope I did that, and I hope I will have more opportunities to continue this beautiful work. I am grateful.
A reflection on yesterday’s performance from the BoNhia Lee at the Fresno Bee:
I have the honor of performing at two Day of Remembrance events in February, here’s the info!
February 17th, 2013 (Sunday)
Japanese American Citizens League (CCDC) Day of Remembrance Lunch/Fundraiser
12:00 pm Doors Open / 1:00 pm lunch / program at 2:00pm
at Pardini’s Restaurant
2257 West Shaw Avenue, Fresno, CA 93711
Lunch is $35 / deadline to RSVP is 2/10
Reservations to Marcia Chung, 6522 N. Gentry Avenue, Fresno, CA 93711
more info: http://www.fresnojacl.org/
February 24th, 2013 (Sunday)
Berkeley Methodist United Church Day of Remembrance Program
Free & open to all (*Note: the performance is part of the church service)
1710 Carleton Street, Berkeley, CA 94703