Monday, August 26, 2013

Kennedy Center, 8/30! And LAPP Fest in DC 8/28-9/1!

Hello beautiful peoples!

My next performance is at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC this Friday night, 8/30, at 6pm. I'm part of a showcase of amazing APIA spoken word poets who are performing for the Asian American Pacific Islander Literary Arts and Performance Poetry Festival (AAPI LAPP Fest).

Please see the event description at

WHAT: AAPI LAPP Fest Performance Showcase
WHERE: The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW, Washington DC, 20566
WHEN: Friday, August 30, 2013
TIME: 6pm sharp

I will be in DC from Wed night to Sun afternoon participating in the AAPI LAPP Fest.  I help to kick-off the event Thurs morning with the opening poem as well as lead a discussion session and workshop later that same afternoon.  Please check out the Festival schedule at the following link:

 Excited to be in DC!

Sending much love,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thank you, Cambridge & Boston! Had a great time at East Meets Words!

Hello beautiful peoples,

I know, I know--I'm sooo behind on posts.  Been a crazy busy month.  But I wanted to make sure I got a post up about the awesome time I had at East Meets Words on August 9 :)

That Friday was a a very rainy one in Cambridge and Boston.  Here's a pic of Boston from the day before.  You can see how cloudy it was.  It mostly drizzled on Thurs, but Fri the skies opened up and poured.
Traffic was extremely heavy through Cambridge as I was driving to East Meets West Bookstore. Before the open mic, I was supposed to lead a poetry writing and performance workshop at 6pm; the workshop was sponsored by Boston Progress Arts Collective and MataHari: Eye of the Day, a community organization based in Boston that works with women of color, immigrants, domestic workers, and trafficking survivors for social justice and human rights.  Due to the rain, people were running really late--Monique Nguyen, Executive Director of MataHari--did a wonderful job contacting people and getting folks to participate in the workshop.  We were able to start at 7pm with 6 people: Monique, Kai (an amazing spoken word poet who lives above the East Meets West Bookstore), Payal, Andres, Alan, and Natalia.  I hope I spelled everyone's name right! :) Oh, and my kids joined the fun too :)

Here are some pics from the workshop:
 Everyone was so awesome!  Lately I've been workshopping with a poem by Chrystos, who is Native American, called "Ceremony for Completing a Poetry Reading."  It's a great poem about the writing/reading/sharing/performing of poetry being a selfless, community-building act.  I've only ever seen the poem published in This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color, but I've used it for workshops that I've facilitated for youth as young as 8-years-old, for teenagers between 14-18, and for adults.  And it works wonders every time.  So that's the poem I shared with this group as well, and it generated a thought-provoking conversation about the purpose of spoken word poetry, the importance of having a performance philosophy or performance approach, and inspired some performances--and even new poems!--which earnestly connected with each poet's emotions and heart.  Can I say it again?--it was AWESOME! :)

After the poetry workshop, we opened up the doors for the East Meets Words Open Mic Series.  Payal continued to work on her piece from the workshop to perform in the open mic (didn't I say AWESOME?! :)
Here's a pic of the crowd waiting for the open mic to start (and my daughter making friends):
My children had such a blast!  Everyone was so great to them.  They were excited to play with some of the musical instruments that were in the music studio and to just feel welcome and included in all of the activities during the evening.  Vanessa absolutely adored Payal :) And Victor was super-excited about David Kong (founder of East Meets Words and Boston Progress Arts Collective) and Scooter's musical group XLB, which stands for "Extra Large Brothers."  He liked their performance during the open mic so much--especially Scooter's bass-guitar solo--that he exclaimed later: "It was so intense, I almost threw up!"  Which in nine-year-old-speak is the best compliment ever! :)

Here are pics from the open mic.  Note pics of participants from my poetry workshop killin' it on stage! :) And Jeff frickin' beat-boxing on a flute--on a FLUTE!!!  It was the coolest thing ever!
The energy all night was uplifting and inspiring.  As I hope you can see from the pics, people were happy to share the stage with others, taking in being creative together, syncing their energies with each other and the audience.  I felt blessed and honored to witness such a heart-warming display of community and connection. Echoing David's words about the night: It was epic! :)

The open mic ended with a group freestyle--exuding so much fun and joy:
Thank you, everyone, for such an amazing experience! :)  My feature came after the open mic, but alas, I have no pics of my own to share :(  But some of the audience gave me a standing ovation! :) And I'm grateful for everyone who talked with me before and after the show. There are more pics of the event posted on the Boston Progress and East Meets West Bookstore FaceBook pages.  Please visit these 2 links:

But even when it was over--it wasn't really over!  People stayed to hang out well after I finished my feature.  And another freestyle jam session ensued:
   Finally (for this post anyway :), visiting the Boston-area would not be complete without giving a shout out to my friend Giles Li.  I was able to talk with Giles a bit the next day; we were chatting for his podcast.
I've known Giles for something-like 12 years.  We talked a lot about the early years of the Asian American spoken word poetry scene.  Some of it is fun and nostalgic to think about now.  But some of it makes me feel wistful--like, we really had the chance to accomplish something truly great as a community . . .  But that's all behind us now.  Best to keep it moving forward--And I'm so happy and thankful I had this opportunity to meet some wonderful people doing great and important work in Cambridge and Boston.  Special thanks to David Kong and Boston Progress Arts Collective and to Monique and MataHari.  Big hugs to everyone who participated in my poetry workshop, were at East Meets Words, and stayed for my performance.  Warm thanks to Giles for talking and reminiscing with me on Sat.  Much love to my children.  And lots of love to all you beautiful people :)


PS--Next performance is at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, August 30! :)

Friday, August 02, 2013

Philly reACTS: The Heart Beneath the Hood, Mon, 8/5

Hello beautiful people,

I've been invited to perform at this event in response to the Trayvon Martin case.  Please come if you are in or near Philly.

Special thanks to First Person Arts and James Claiborne.

The Facebook page for the event is

The Philly reACTS website is


Philly, It's Time to reACT!

Philly reACTS  
The Heart Beneath the Hood: 

Artistic Action for Trayvon Martin

DATE: Monday, August 5
TIME: 5:30PM
LOCATION: City Hall Courtyard, Philadelphia
COST: Free 

Join us for the launch of our newest program, Philly reACTS this Monday night. We kick off the program with a FREE night of performances, solidarity, and artistic action for Trayvon Martin.

With host Laiya Stclair from Hot 107.9 and featuring performances by Sonia SanchezFreedom Theater's youth vocal ensemble, poet Michelle Myers, actor and tap dancer Khalil Munir, jazz vocalist and composer Ruth Naomi Floyd, hip-hop artist BadiaDJ Foxx Boogie, and an address by the Honorable Mayor Michael Nutter.Check the official Philly reACTS webpage for daily updates!

Bring a hoodie to donate or look for a drop box around town. Donations will be used to create one unified flag, a symbol of a community united for peace and equality, which will be raised to fly in Center City and shared via video with millions of people worldwide. Remaining wearable items will be donated to partner charities. Share your personal story at video and audio stations at the event.
Philly reACTS: The Heart Beneath the Hood is held in partnership with the Office of Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Red Tettemer O'Connell + Partners, and is made possible with funding from the Heritage Program of Philadelphia, part of the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, and the City of Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.