Thursday, January 01, 2009

Never Said Release A Success!

It was one of the most important readings of 2008, and Twin Cities literary and artistic luminaries came in an outstanding show of support for Katie Ka Vang on Sunday, December 21st at the Blackdog Wine and Coffee Bar at 308 Prince Street. 

Among figures seen and spotted were the acclaimed Bao Phi, Ibe Kaba, Kathy Mouacheupao of the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, actor and writer Wa Yang and Meena Natarajan and Dipankar Mukherejee of Pangea World Theater. 

(I can also say I have the honor of having bought the first chapbook she signed that night.) 

It was a crisp winter evening at -12 degrees but people still came to see her. Her opening acts were May Lee Yang, Victoria Vang and The Dirty Darlings.

Sonic Rain, a local Hmong spoken word artist kept things entertaining as the MC for the evening, with clear enthusiasm for all of the performers who came on stage.

May Lee Yang, a frequent collaborator with Katie Ka Vang on artistic projects and performances opened the evening with a poem by special request of Katie, "I Hate Bras."  

Victoria Vang and The Dirty Darlings each provided a talented musical element to the evening, ably demonstrating the growing versatility and innovation of young Hmong artists. 

But naturally, the highlight of the show was Katie Ka Vang, whose performance demonstrated why she was selected by the Minnesota State Arts Board to undertake such a project. While her new chapbook Never Said does not include her classic Hardcore Volleyball People, her opening poem for the evening, it was still a great performance she opened with.

She debuted several new pieces and also several well-known poems of hers: This One, Poem: To: That Old Lady, Sole Jerk, Uncle's Visit, This Poem and the title poem, Never Said.

Relatives sold traditional Hmong egg rolls while the Black Dog served its famous coffees and deserts. Katie Ka Vang was later available to meet the audience and sign chapbooks. It was an event to remember- It's not every day that a Hmong artist releases their first book of poems, and it was a delight to see Katie Ka Vang take another key step in her artistic career.

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