The Year of the Rat By Ben Fong-Torres

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres - on Sunday, 11 April 2021

The Year of the Rat By Ben Fong-Torres
By Ben Fong-Torres San Francisco The Year of the Rat Being an older Chinese American, I am no longer, as Roy Orbison sang, “Running Scared.” I am walking scared, constantly looking around and behind me.  Stop AAPI Hate, the advocacy group, knows of nearly 4,000 cases of violence against Asian Americans since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s time to stop the beatings and shootings, the blaming and finger-pointing.  For me, it’s also...


Photos: Meredith Anthony, Henry Chang, Lyndsay Faye, David Levien & Dr. Julie Salzano Discuss the Mind of the Sexual Predator

Posted by Lia Chang on Friday, 19 August 2011

“Psycho-sexual satisfaction can be derived from the thrill of the kill, the thrill of getting over or perhaps wanting to torture. Sex crime is a power crime,” said criminal profiling specialist Dr. Julie Salzano, who was part of a fascinating panel discussion called THE EVIL MEN DO: Inside The Mind Of The Sexual Predator, at the Mid-Manhattan Library (NYPL), co-sponsored by the New York Public Library and the New York Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America on August 17, 2011.

Meredith Anthony, David Levien, Lyndsay Faye, Henry Chang and Dr. Julie Salzano at the Mid-Manhattan Library on August 17, 2011. Photo by Lia Chang/NYPL

Mystery fiction lovers came out in droves to hear Dr. Salzano and authors Henry Chang (Chinatown Beat, Year of The Dog, Red Jade), David Levien (City of the Sun, Where The Dead Lay, Thirteen Million Dollar Pop, Wormwood and SWAGBELLY: A Novel for Today’s Gentleman and Lyndsay Faye (The Gods of Gotham, Dust and Shadow), share their inspiration for the characters they create, what their process of delving into the mind of the sexual predator is and how they choose to decompress. Ladykillerco-author Meredith Anthony moderated the panel at an entertaining and enlightening clip.

Henry Chang, a New York native who spent his formative years on the streets of Chinatown, drew inspiration for his first book in his CHINATOWN TRILOGY series chronicling the beat of NYPD Detective Jack Yu, from the people he knew.

“For my first book, Chinatown Beat,...

World Premiere CRANE STORY by Jen Silverman with Louis Ozawa Changchien, Susan Hyon, Christine Toy Johnson, Angela Lin, Jake Manabat, Barret O’Brien, and David Shih 9/6-10/1

Posted by Lia Chang on Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Christine Toy Johnson Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

Louis Ozawa Changchien, Susan Hyon, Christine Toy Johnson, Angela Lin, Jake Manabat, Barret O’Brien, and David Shih are featured in the world premiere of Jen Silverman’s Crane Story, helmed by Katherine Kovner and presented by The Playwrights Realm, at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street in New York, from September 6 – October 1, 2011. Crane Story previews begin Thursday, September 6, at 8:00pm for an opening Thursday, September 15, at 8:00pm. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8:00pm with an additional performance Monday, September 12, at 8:00pm.

Inspired by the Japanese legend of the Crane Wife, Jen Silverman’s odyssey unfolds in the space between two worlds as Cassis, a Japanese American girl played by Angela Lin, embarks on a quest to save her brother’s soul from the Land of the Dead. Crane Story interweaves Japanese Bunraku-inspired puppetry, music, and folklore to weave a universal story of love, loss and life. The title of the play is derived from the ancient Japanese Myth of The Crane, a mystical creature that can live a thousand years and, to anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes, can grant a wish.

Angela Lin

Creating the Bunraku-inspired puppets is Puppet Kitchen.

“The play has been such a personal journey for me,” said Ms. Silverman, who grew up in a number different countries including Japan and was influenced by a cultural grab-bag of stories like Hansel...

INVASION! - the Obie Award-winning play by Jonas Hassen Khemiri at The Flea, 9/6-10/1

Posted by Lia Chang on Tuesday, 23 August 2011

INVASION! — Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s Obie Award-winning play that enjoyed considerable critical and popular success during its U.S. premiere by The Play Company (Kate Loewald, Founding Producer, Lauren Weigel, Executive Producer ) last winter — will have a return engagement Off-Broadway this fall, again presented by The Play Company, with previews starting September 6 prior to an official press opening on September 13 at The Flea Theater (41 White Street) in New York, where PlayCo will be based for the 2011-12 season. Erica Schmidt will again direct.

INVASION! features South Asian actors Andrew Guilarte and Nick Choksi. The show’s return engagement coincides with the 10th anniversary of 9.11.01 and is a subversive comedy about identity and stereotypes, centering on “Abulkasem,” a name mysteriously belonging to a wide assortment of characters in the play, leaving us to wonder, “Who is Abulkasem?” Is he a character in a fairy tale, or an international super-spy? Is she a renowned auteur director? Does he/she pose a clear and present danger? And is there really more than one?

Members of the original NY cast of INVASION! returning for the Off-Broadway engagement this fall include Francis Benhamou (THREE WOMEN at 59E59 Theaters), Andrew Guilarte (MARAT/SADE at Classical Theatre of Harlem), Bobby Moreno (AL’S BUSINESS CARDS with At Play), who will be joined by new cast member Nick Choksi (TV’s “Royal Pains”).

Scheduled through October 1, INVASION! will...

Desipina & Co. Presents Pooja Kumar, Sunkrish Bala, Joe Petrilla, Eileen Rivera, Jon Norman Schneider & Rajeev Varma in Rehana Lew Mirza’s Barriers at HERE, 9/7-18

Posted by Lia Chang on Tuesday, 23 August 2011

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the September 11th tragedy, and to celebrate their tenth season Desipina & Co. – a fusion arts company focusing in film and theatre, dedicated to promoting cross-pollinations of artistic, political and cultural dialogues – will present BARRIERS, a play by Rehana Lew Mirza (THE GOOD MUSLIM) about a South Asian family’s loss from the 9/11 attacks and the backlash they endure, featuring a cast that includes Pooja Kumar (Miss India USA 1995, “Hiding Divya”) and Sunkrish Bala (ABC-TV’s “Notes from the Underbelly”). Previews of BARRIERS will begin Wednesday, September 7 prior to an official opening date of September 9 at HERE (145 6th Avenue, enter on Dominick, 1 block south of Spring Street) in New York.

Rehana Lew Mirza’s play BARRIERS takes place four months after the 9/11 attacks and focuses on the Chinese/Pakistani Abbas family and the loss of their eldest son Nabhil who had been in the World Trade Center during the attack. When Sunima, the Abbas’s only daughter, comes home to announce her pending engagement to a white man – she finds her joyful news lost in a mire of household problems and quickly becomes trapped in the shared family loss that was never dealt with. As this multi-cultural family begins to fragment, they begin to piece together the past each one hides, and the future they all share.

Originally mounted in 2002 at HERE and then subsequently co-produced with the Asian American Theater Company...

Singer Judy Collins makes rare appearance at SF's Rrazz Room September 20-October 1. A Conversation with Judy Collins by Suzanne Joe Kai

Posted by AC Team on Monday, 12 September 2011

Judy Collins made a rare appearance in San Francisco selling out all of her performances from September 20 through October 1 at the Rrazz Room at the Hotel Nikko.

Judy Collins is a true Renaissance woman. At 72, she's still going strong. She continues to write, perform, and lead her own record label. In addition to her own music and creative projects she nurtures and manages other artists. She is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, a painter, an author, and an in-demand keynote speaker.

2011 marks her 50th year as a performer with up to 80 to 100 concert dates across the country per year.

Judy Collins’ social history has always been linked with her musical history. As a social activist she is active in many causes, including UNICEF and the abolition of land mines.

Her latest projects to be released October 18, 2011 include a new book, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes, a new album called Bohemian, and a new children’s book When You Wish Upon a Star.

If you are in San Francisco don't miss Judy Collins performing September 20 through October 1 at the Rrazz Room at the Hotel Nikko!

Visit her official website

Click here for Judy Collins' concert schedule

A Conversation with Judy Collins
with Suzanne Joe Kai

Judy Collins chatted with Suzanne Joe Kai recently about her new projects, her creative spirit, and her upcoming performances in San Francisco and across the country.

Suzanne: I understand your new book Sweet Judy Blue Eyes is quite the memoir.

Judy: I...

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