Friday, April 29, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Joy Luck Club - Care Walk 2011, Sunday, May 1st

On May 1st, Jay Rattanavong will be inaugurating the first Joy Luck Club walk in honor of his aunt Joy Elliott, who passed away in December  from complications of beta thalassemia major and diabetes. Thalassemia is a condition found in many Lao and others around the world. The walk will be at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis rain or shine on May 1, 2011 from 1pm to 4pm.

I first met Joy Elliot in 2007 while I was doing outreach for my first full-length book On The Other Side Of The Eye. She was the same age as I was, and I was struck by her initiative and her constant commitment to seeing other people happy. She was always sociable to a fault, and I was impressed by her continuous entrepreneurial spirit and her willingness and determination to try new business ventures.

She was able to plan wonderful gatherings for her friends and associates and she worked hard to support other emerging Lao entrepreneurs. The first time we met face to face was at a new Lao-owned restaurant in Minneapolis called Otho's. I'd interviewed her once for Asian American Press' business section, because I believed she would contribute positively to the vibrancy and diversity of Minnesota's economy over the years ahead. I was always happy to see her at community events and she was always a welcoming presence whenever our paths intersected.

I was also impressed by her philanthropic spirit. She organized a fund-raiser for thalassemia awareness in Minneapolis which was where I first met her nephew Jay and she supported many other good causes in her lifetime. She was a part of the Lao American Writers Summit in 2010 and I was deeply impressed by her enthusiasm and skill in talking about the journey of Lao refugees over the last 36 years. In losing her, I feel our community has lost a wonderful friend and a fine voice.

Thalassemia, a fatal genetic blood disorder affects many people throughout the world. By being a part of CareWalk, Jay and his fellow walkers will not only help raise money for the Cooley's Anemia Foundation (CAF)'s fight against thalassemia, but will also be showing support for people who must daily meet the challenges of thalassemia.

CAF is the nation's leading advocate for people with thalassemia, who must endure lifelong blood transfusions as often as every two weeks and who battle a wide range of complications, including heart and liver failure, diabetes and hepatitis. The Foundation provides valuable patient service programs, funds important medical research and educates the public, the medical community and elected officials about thalassemia.

Jay Rattanavong and his family and friends have my deepest support and best wishes as they work on this issue, and it's a fitting and fine tribute to the memory of Joy Elliott. She will be missed, but she is not forgotten.

Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans Annual Heritage Dinner: May 13th

The annual Asian Heritage Month dinner in Minnesota will be held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center on May 13th, 2011 at 6155 Earle Brown Drive, Minneapolis from 5:30 to 9:00 PM

We are honoring three individuals this year for the 2011 Leadership Awards: Dr. Adisack Nhouyvanisvong, Bounxou Chanthraphone and Hung D. Phung.

Tickets are $40 per person, with a discount available for a full table.

For more details and to RSVP please contact Pa Chia Yang at or call 651-757-1740.

Conveniently located just minutes north of downtown Minneapolis, the beautifully restored historic Earle Brown Heritage Center's beginnings date back to the early 1900's when this pioneer farm first became the home of Earle Brown, a noted farmer, horse breeder and civic leader.

TalkingImageConnection: Erasers and Memories!

The next installment of the popular TalkingImageConnection series, Erasers and Memories is July 9th at 8pm at the Soap Factory featuring Lightsey Darst,Sarah Hayes, John Jodizio, Katie Leo, Alison Morse, G.E. Patterson, and Annette Schiebout. The Soap Factory is at 514 2nd Street SE in Minneapolis, and the admission is free!

Haiku Movie Review: Hanna

Give a lass a bow,
Take away her family?
You best get running.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Haiku Movie Review: New Year Terror Edition

Will give a few chills.
Retro and simple, yet works.
Would watch a sequel.

Going deep within.
Investigating, strange tech.
Just how dead are you?

Ugh. Stick with the books.
There should be a good film here.
This, just a bad dog.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ketsana coming to Minnesota, one night only!

This Satuday, April 16th, Lao American singer Ketsana is coming to Minnesota to help celebrate the Lao New Year at the Bouasavanh restaurant in Brooklyn Park at 7324 Lakeland Ave N from 8PM to 1PM for just $15.

Over the years, Ketsana has continued to thrill and entertain audiences with her powerful and eclectic style. She can transition as easily from a soulful Lao tune to high energy power ballads and New Wave standbys, with a repetoire of many stunningly original compositions that embrace all of her modern and traditional sensibilities.

Ketsana was born in Savannakhet, Laos and immigrated in 1978 to America with her mother, grandmother, and 4 brothers. The Vilaylacks first arrived in Chicago during a night blizzard in April. She traces her early years to the city of Algonquin, Illinois, where she started singing for a local choir.

By the age of 11, Ketsana became a member of The Strangers, one of the earliest and most influential Lao rock bands led by the acclaimed singer Silavong Keo. Ketsana went on to record nine albums, touring internationally in US, Canada, France and Laos.

Community leaders and her peers actively praise her for her generous support of Lao American organizations and events. Ketsana has been noted for her pioneering work to highlight other Lao musicians and artists across the US. In my estimation, she has been pivotal in elevating our standards and expectations of what a fully authentic Lao American voice and vision should sound like.

She was responsible for bringing many Minnesota-based talents together during the first International Lao New Year Festival in San Francisco in 2009 and was an active participant in the Lao American Writers Summit last year. Her work was also recently featured on Project Runway during Andy South's final presentation. And she also has a great sense of humor.

Be sure to check out her performance!

MN Arts Census

If you are involved in the arts or you know people involved in the arts, whether you take art classes, sing in a choir, act, write, paint, sew, weave, draw, play music, or dance; whether your art is a hobby or a profession, we NEED all of you to stand up and be counted!

The MN Arts Census is underway and we need answers by the end of the month.  Please visit and help us show how much the arts count in Minnesota.

The legislature has requested this arts census and it's important to accurately show the large number of people in the state who participate in the arts.

After you have taken the short survey, please ask five other arts participants you know to take it as well.

The MN Arts Count Census survey is available online at Paper copies can be requested by calling 800-748-3222, ext. 225.

NEA Arts funding for 2011

In recent news, the House Appropriations Committee released the final budget agreement for FY 2011 negotiated by President Obama with House and Senate leaders, which includes $155 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

This represents a cut of $12.5 million from the FY 2010 enacted level of $167.5 million, which is significantly better than the previous House-approved level of $124.4 million.

 Also included in this bill is $25.5 million in funding for the Arts in Education programs at the U.S. Department of Education, which had been previously scheduled for complete elimination. This compromise legislation is set to go to the House floor later this week before moving on to the Senate for final approval. Let your legislators know if you approve or disapprove of these cuts, but make your voice heard.

Friday, April 01, 2011

2011 Arts Consultant Services

Thank you for all of your great inquiries and requests regarding my availability as an artistic consultant. The following details may be helpful:

For individual artists, my standard consultations cost $75/hour. If you anticipate needing more than 10 hours or more of consultation time a retainer rate is available. For small informal groups and small non-profit organizations, my standard consultation rate is $100/hour or $300 for one day, although additional charges may apply depending on the complexity of the project. These prices will remain in effect until December 31st, 2011.

As in previous years, I only take on between 5 to 15 clients at a maximum, following a brief portfolio review. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at and we can look over your specific needs and how we can best work together.