Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Love to UMass-Amherst and Magnetic North, 3/8/08

Written by Catzie [and Michelle in brackets]

[I know this is out-of-order b/c we should be blogging about our performance at University of Oregon next, but UMass-Amherst will be the focus of this post b/c we took so many damn pictures and I wanted to make sure we got something up for Viseth in case he was looking for a post. You'll meet Viseth later.]

[Cheesy, I know--what can I say? I wanted a "Yellow Rage was here" picture--and I was getting bored and wouldn't stop yawning so I needed a diversion. We had just driven about 5 1/2 hours and I was extra tired from driving in the heavy rain. Then, I was alone in the Green Room, rehearsing poems for the show--which Catzie and I had been doing since we arrived--and it just seemed like we were waiting forever to perform though it really wasn't that long. Anyway, we drove up to Amherst starting pretty early Sat morning and it was pouring-down rain the whole way up. There were a couple of scary incidents with splashing water from cars and I couldn't see where I was driving. And there were about three accidents that we also saw on the way. But we made it OK and on-time. See how rainy (view from our hotel window) . . .]

A view of the campus, during the rain... [The show at Amherst was sponsored by the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center (YKCC) which is, of course, named after the well-known Japanese American activist (if you don't know who Yuri Kochiyama is and about her Civil Rights work, you should). We're just honored to have been invited to perform by UMass-Amherst student and Assistant General Coordinator at YKCC, Tiffany Yee and by Linda Asai Olf, Associate Director of YKCC. The show was called "Tip the Cup" and it was a double-bill with Magnetic North. Here's the flyer for the show:]

[And here we are with Magnetic North before the show. Derek "Direct" Kan and Theresa "T-" Vu:]

[I realized later that Theresa had actually done the intro track "Theresa Vu says" on Bao's CD Refugeography. But, fun over, it was back to the grind . . .]

Michelle and I often try to sneak pictures of each other onto the blog. Here's her picture of me talking with my arm.

And this is my picture of her pacing around the room and trying to practice her lines. [I had just finished writing "Yellow Rage was here" and taking pictures of it--see it on the board behind me! Look, Catzie's so bored/tired of rehearsing she's reading the potato chip bag:]

Did you know that Utz has the lowest amount of sodium than other leading brand of potato chips? Did you, did you?

The healthy mix of performer's snacks --water, apples and what's this? Double Chunk Cookies? [I took that whole bag home--Catzie didn't get any! I let her have the apples though. She's young, you know, and I'm just trying to look out for her health.]

PoPo made an appearance outside of the auditorium. ['Cause, like, who knows if something ain't gonna pop off when we're around. I had to take this picture of the Betty Shabazz painting/memorial:]

[It was just amazing to me b/c you have to really know who Betty Shabazz was and the hardships and suffering she endured as the wife and widow of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) to appreciate this tribute. Thank you to whomever had this created and put up.

More pictures with folks! Here we are with Magnetic North and some of the students from YKCC:]

[Time for the show! But, alas, no pictures of us performing. The crowd was great, and after the show, we met Malis, Yveline, and Viseth:]

[Viseth is in the front. He's an aspiring poet--and he drew this amazing picture for us before he left!:]

[It's a picture of an alien and his rocket ship--who comes in Peace! of course. Viseth was so cool. We hope that he keeps writing poetry and drawing pictures--and thank you, Viseth, Malis, and Yveline for coming to see us and listening to our poetry.

After a brief interlude, Magnetic North performed.]

Shout outs to Magnetic North who rocked the show right after us. I tried numerous ways to engage the standing still crowd including starting a mosh pit and then later making them lean back and rockaway. It only lasted for a few minutes.

[I stood on a chair so I could get some good pics of Derek and Theresa.]

[Sometimes people were talking to me, so I didn't get a chance to hear all the songs they performed, but I really liked "We Will Not Be Moved" and the one about parents who don't understand their children not wanting to be doctors or lawyers--in wanting to fulfill their own dreams and not their parents'--you know, of having a set direction for themselves to follow, like "Magnetic North" is always a constant, true direction. Anyway, I believe this song was called "Price of Perfection." I need to get their CD so I can listen to their stuff more closely.

More pics with folks:]

These guys were funny. I don't even remember what the "W" was for... [Wasn't it one of these guys who asked Catzie if he could touch her and then, like, poked her in the shoulder? Goofy. I think these guys came up to me later at the table where I was selling shirts and CDs. I think they were telling me they appreciated and were moved by my domestic violence piece but also were trying to think of something funny to say--but couldn't figure out how to do it. They were funny in a sweet way. OK, here are folks we didn't really get names from.]

[Yeah, Catzie and I weren't good about taking down people's names this time . . . we're sorry. Here's a young lady who bought our "Woman Flava" t-shirt:]

[Somewhere in here are pictures with the sisters from Kappa Phi Lambda. These pics might have some of them. I think the Kappas are working on raising awareness about domestic violence and appreciated my domestic violence poem, too. Anyway, if you see yourself and anyone you know, email us your/their names and we'll edit the post.]

The girl on the left said not to leave without letting her buy a shirt or else she would stalk us. As you can see, we complied.

This is Andrew and...

Here's a closeup of Andrew's shirt. Cowabonga dude. [His friend in the previous picture also spoke to me about my domestic violence piece (posted in the blog a few months ago as "untitled" I think). I know I keep bringing it up, but it was the first time I was performing in a Yellow Rage show and I was anxious about it b/c I wasn't sure how it would work. It's really different from most of the poems I usually perform and I wasn't sure if people would understand it. So I'm glad I was able to touch some people with it.

OK, pics of food coming up. At the restaurant:]

Later we went to a Japanese Korean restaurant, and we signed more posters. [Um, why does it have to be a "Japanese Korean" and not a "KOREAN Japanese" one? Huh?]

Sunomono, fish and cucumbers and vinegar. Yummmmmmy.

I forgot what they called this but it was like Haedibop, which is like Bibimbop but with Seafood, which is like the Vietnamese vermicelli but that has noodles. Ok who's confused?

Derek loved his food so much he finished it clean. Just look at it, not a crumb of food in sight.

Since it was only 30 mins left until they closed we had to hurry and eat. [I'd just like to point out that I was eating Yukgejang and it was pretty yummy.]

A view of the campus in the morning after the rain.

[We'd like to thank everyone at YKCC for having us: Tiff, Linda, Yarty, Ariel, and anyone else I forgot. Thanks also to Kappa Phi Lambda and Magnetic North.

Next we will post about Wheaton College--a show we did back in Nov 2007--and University of Oregon from 3/1/08. Sorry we are so bad at posting these in a timely way! We love you guys even if it takes a while to write about you!]

-Catzie [and Michelle in brackets]

Thursday, April 03, 2008

We're in Bean-Town this Sat, 4/5!

Hey everyone in Bean-Town, we're performing this Saturday, April 5, 7pm at Boston College in Devlin 008.

Sponsored by the Asian Caucus Organization of Boston College

Hope to see you!

Thank You Indiana University, 2/25/08

Written by Catzie [and Michelle in brackets]

[Over a year ago, I received an email from Joii Byrd, who is the Performance Manager at IU's African American Arts Institute (AAAI) about coming out to perform in their event called "Worlds Collide: Spirit, Soul, and Body." I think there was some concern about our profanity, so we had to wait awhile before we found out if we could be in this event. Happily, we were invited officially--though we were told to keep our profanity to a minimum. More on that later.

We were picked up at the airport by Johnny Campbell, the Tech Supervisor at AAAI, who told us interesting stories about John-Drop-the-Cougar-Mellencamp and KKK bumper stickers some folks out there have which read "KKK--the original Boyz-n-the-Hood." He also used to do sound tech with touring performance groups and comedians, including Rich Little.

Johnny dropped us off at Indiana Memorial Union, the on-campus hotel and conference center. Lo and behold, our room already can a guest:]

Our hotel room came with its own ladybug, right in the bed.

[We were hungry, so we decided to roam around IMU for food. We never expected to encounter a not-so-appetizing-attempt at a little taste of Philly:]

This is gross by all means. Seriously. Sandwiches should never be made into soups. [What was REALLY funny and a bit weird, too, was the guy who tried to hit on Catzie while we were taking this picture. He just kept talking and talking and talking . . .]

Would you believe these cakes are available and on display at the campus coffee shop? IU done came up big time. [They were real purty.]

[Finally, we had to get to the show. Another poet performing in this event was Tomas Riley, who is a member of The Taco Shop Poets collective. Here he is getting prepared in the Green Room:]

[Catzie and I took over all the floor space, you know, so we forced him into a small spot next to the filing cabinets. Here's the stage set-up:]

The stage was set up like a talk show. There were a couple of couches and a coffee table for the other artists to sort of chill on while waiting to perform.

In our most cheerful voice: "Welcome to the Yellow Rage Show, and we're your host Michelle and Catzie. Today's topic is "Sex, Race and Politics"

[Photo credit, Ben Skurvin, Courtesy of AAAI. In another photo credit to Ben, Here we are listening to Tomas reading poems from his book Mahcic:]

[This is Dr. James Mumford who also read his poetry--and that's Johnny setting up the mic:]

[Dr. Mumford had musical accompaniment:]

[We performed after Dr. Mumford. The crowd had wonderful energy and we had a great time performing. We had to issue a profanity warning at the beginning, and after we started doing "Listen Asshole," a woman hurriedly put her young daughter's coat on and left the show--but the rest of the show was PG for the most part b/c we couldn't do the profanity. A fact which upset some of the audience when we announced that we had to do a "clean" version of "A Little Too Much." Alas, "Woman Flava" was allowed to remain intact for all its "knock the taste out your motherfucking mouth" glory.

Here we are with Joii, Tomas, and Dr. Mumford. Photo credit, Ben again:]

[Aren't we short, goodness. Then we got to talk to some of the students at the show. Because we suck at getting these posts up in a timely manner, we missed promoting the theatrical production of American Ma(u)l that took place at IU last weekend. But here's a description of the show from the Theater Dept's link:

"With the country in recession and the nation mired in war, the newly elected President of the United States needs to kick start the economy. Suddenly a miracle solution appears. A new form of cotton has been cultivated, and with it the promise of prosperity returns, but labor is scarce. With no one to pick this new breed of cotton the President takes what he considers the only logical action: He rescinds the Fourteenth Amendment and re-institutes slavery. In this deconstruction of American history, playwright Robert O’Hara uses scathing satire, outrageous humor, and soaring theatricality to address the tenuous state of racial harmony in America today."

Interesting, huh? The IU production was directed by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe. We're really sorry that we missed promoting it by a week, but here are a couple students who were in the production:]

Here we are with Eunice and Brianna, some students who are part of the Americal Maul Theatre Project. They came in bunches and talked to us afterwards including one of the guys who said we were "fierce!".

[Shouts to all the students we didn't get to take a picture with: Dawn, Thomas, Aaron, and Viet. Here's Tomas' book on the merch table:]

[Afterwards, we went to eat at some Irish restaurant in Bloomington. It was sorta snowing when we left--it was kinda big and slushy but almost snow in the fluffy sense--and the cool thing was that Tomas had never seen snow falling from the sky before. It was neat to see him look so . . . happy . . . seeing it. It reminded me of how magical snow can make you feel and how fresh and pure the world can look when its falling. Anyway, I should have taken a picture of it but, doh! I wasn't thinking about it.]

Afterwards we went out to an Irish Pub for dinner and I ordered a Black and Tan. But for some reason mine was more diluted than everyone elses.

Lamb and potatoes. Yummy. That green jello shot in the corner is actually mint jelly, which is the usual complement to lamb, but it was a little too candy-like for my taste.

Michelle's Chicken Cordon Bleu had so many green onions, they shoulda just re-named it Cordon Green. [Actually it was Chicken Kiev. I scraped all the scallions off.]

[We'd like to thank the other folks at AAAI for all their hard work making this show possible: Dr.Charles Sykes, Rebekah Moore, and Darlene McDermott (Jersey in the house!). We're sorry again to the cast members of American Ma(u)l for not being on the ball, but we hope they had a great show. We hope to see you guys at IU again soon!]

-Catzie [and Michelle in brackets]