Saturday, June 26, 2010

National Poetry Slam coming to MN in August!

As if we're not excited enough about the Lao American Writers Summit coming to Minnesota in August, hundreds of performance poets representing teams from across North America will compete over five days of spoken word competition at venues across downtown Saint Paul during the 21st annual National Poetry Slam (NPS) August 3-7.

Poetry Slam is the competitive art of spoken word performance poetry. Dubbed the “Superbowl of Slam” by competitors, NPS is the world’s largest annual Poetry Slam event. In addition to the tournament, which leads to a championship, a five-day festival of poetry will include competitions, workshops, open mike events, showcases and more. Each competitor has three minutes to perform a poem of his/her own construction.

* Aug. 3-5, up to 84 teams will compete in preliminary rounds held at 7-9 p.m. and from 9-11 p.m., nightly, winnowing the field down to 20 teams.
* Aug. 6, the top 20 teams compete in one night of four semi-final bouts.
* Aug. 7, the top four teams face off in a finals competition at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium.

Tickets and the Schedule of Events will be available in July at Check it out!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Supporting the legacy of Manophet.

In 2008, when Legacies of War visited Xieng Khouang to learn about the bombings that wiped out much of life in the region, they met a man named Manophet who survived the bombing and worked all his life to rebuild his home and community. Community members were heartbroken to hear of his sudden death last month.
In the hope that his legacy will live on through his children, school and soccer team, efforts are being made to help make these children’s dreams come true, including a fundraiser to support Manophet’s soccer team as they raise money to represent Laos in Sweden at the Gothia Cup, an International Youth Soccer competition. In Minnesota, they are hosting two benefits, one at the St. Paul Ten Thousand Villages store, and one at Pepito's Parkway Theater.

If you're looking for something to do on a Sunday afternoon, come to Pepito’s Parkway Theatre for music, dancing and food at the Community Fest on June 27th. The event will also host book signings and a silent auction. 100% of proceeds goes towards Manophet’s family, students and soccer team. The event runs 2-5 p.m at 4814 Chicago Ave. So., Minneapolis. Admission is $5/Adult and Children under 12 are Free.

Anyone who is unable to attend but would still like to provide a donation can make a check payable to the “Manophet Memorial Trust”, which will provide basic food, housing, clothing, education for Manophet's sons or payable to the "English Development School” to help keeps Manophet's educational and recreation programs open for students & soccer players. Mail contributions to: Lynn Tchida, Event Chair, P.O. Box 17288, Minneapolis, MN 55417. For more information, contact Lynn at 763-245-0376 or by email at

FLOW Northside Arts Crawl returning to Minneapolis

FLOW is a self-guided art tour featuring visual and performing artists showing at businesses, studios and organizations along West Broadway in North Minneapolis on July 24th.

Planned highlights for this year include: Visual Art, Sculpture, Wearable Art, Dance Performances, Theater Performances, Live Music, Spoken Word, Art Making Activities, Art in Real Time and the “Let It Flow” Youth Talent Show. No word yet if we're going to see a recreation of the Northside living chess tournament, but it should still be a fun day.

FLOW is still currently accepting applications for Northside artists who want to be a part of this year’s event. Visual, literary, and performing Artists of all ages are encouraged to go to to apply.

This is the fifth year for the celebration, which always has an interesting grass-roots vibe to it. I strongly encourage you to participate, and to invite your friends. FLOW is an arts crawl that shines a light on the Northside community through the arts. It aims to unite, celebrate and transform in collaboration with the broader communities that surround us, and that's not a bad set of goals to have.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Photostudy: Boun Phra Vet 2553 MN

It's been a while since I've done a Lao American photostudy, but here are some scenes from the recent Boun Phra Vet celebration in Minnesota at the Wat Lao in Farmington.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Asian Arts Initiative presents: MY EYE SITS AT YOUR HEART

Asian Arts Initiative presents MY EYE SITS AT YOUR HEART: Seeking Truth and Claiming Identity, an edition of the Family Style Open Mic Series on Friday, June 18, 7:30 p.m. The event will be held at  Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street in Philadelphia. There's a $5-10 sliding scale admission.

Hosted by YELLOW RAGE (Michelle Myers and Catzie Vilayphonh), the popular monthly Asian American open mic series FAMILY STYLE welcomes extended “family” from all communities and cultures. June’s open mic features spoken word poet jenny c. lares and the theme “Seeking Truth and Claiming Identity”!

jenny c. lares is a poet and host based in Washington, DC. She is the Founding Co-Director of Sulu DC, an underground network and home for Asian American and/or Pacific Islander focused spoken word and multidisciplinary artists in the Washington, DC area. She is also one of the hosts of a weekly open mic at Busboys and Poets along Washington, DC’s U Street Corridor. She is currently working on her website, but for now, you can visit and read her blog:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 20th is World Refugee Day

Although the Twin Cities celebrated World Refugee Day on June 5th in a ban nok celebration I've been more than a little horked off about, the official UN celebration of World Refugee Day is June 20th!

If you get a chance, take time out to learn more about a refugee community in your city or state and see where they've made progress and where they could still use a hand. There are more than 16 million refugees around the world. The US is home to only a few of them, much to many people's surprise.

Next year, 2011, is the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Convention on Refugees, which is the key legal document in defining who is a refugee, their rights and the legal obligations of states. We've come a long way, but there's still a long way to go!

Top policy questions about Laos?

Questions I think we need to be asking, no matter where we live this year:

What is the current timeline, details and implications of mandated agreements to be developed between the LPDR and the United States on the deportation of Lao-born individuals or individuals born in the refugee camps. Will we see sudden enforcement and deportation of Laotians to Laos? And how will cases for those with medication and additional special needs be handled? Will there be a blanket policy or a case-by-case review for those who had originally come to the US seeking asylum?

Will there be efforts to ease family reunification, especially with immigration reform gaining momentum.

How is the US assisting development of the Lao judicial systems and what is the nature of increased counter-narcotics assistance. Given that many narcotics charges carry death sentences, this should be an issue of interest. If you can't guarantee fair trials, should any nation be implementing death sentences?

Where are US efforts headed regarding UXO clearance considering that the US is responsible for at least 74 million leftover munitions in Laos.

We also need discussions on how Lao can effectively provide strategic philanthropic support in-line with US policy, which, given recent developments over the years must be of concern to us.

There are of course many others, ranging from environmental development and deforestation issues to efforts to support schools, libraries and the arts in Laos, but these are some that I think should definitely be on our radar.

Upcoming at the Loft: Gene Yang, William Wu, Robert McKee

The Loft Literary Center has some exciting events coming up. This week it's the arrival of Gene Yang for the Graphic Novel Conference. Gene will also be giving a free reading on June 18th at the Loft (1011 Washington Ave. S in Minneapolis at 7:00PM.) The conference is also free and gathering some really great and amazing voices together.

Gene Yang began publishing comic books under the name Humble Comics in 1996. His novel, American Born Chinese, was the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and was the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award. The Eternal Smile, with Derek Kirk Kim, was published in May 2009. He lives in California’s Bay Area with his wife and children and teaches computer science at a Catholic high school in Oakland.

On Thursday, July 29th, we've got the arrival of William F. Wu, who will do his reading at the Loft.

William F. Wu has appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, which include Omni Magazine and the best-selling 1996 STAR WARS: Tales from Jabba's Palace. He published his first story in 1977. His more than fifty published short stories have been nominated for the Hugo Awards and his work has been nominated for the Nebula Award twice and once for the World Fantasy Award. With a Ph.D. in American Culture, Wu has taught college writing courses and led creative writing workshops for writers of all ages. His most acclaimed book, Hong on the Range, was chosen for the Wilson Library Bulletin's list of science fiction "Books Too Good To Miss" and was a selection for the American Library Association list of Best Books for Young People, the New York Public Library's Recommended Books for the Teen Age, and was also a Young Adult Editor's Choice by Booklist Magazine.

Rob Chilson, the author of 7 novels including As the Curtain Falls, The Star Shrouded Kings, The Shores of Kansas, Men Like Rats, Rounded with Sleep and Black as Blood and over 60 stories in such publications like Analog, Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Galaxy, Universe 7, and Years Best SF. You can visit him at

In September, the big event is Robert McKee coming in for four days. Robert McKee is a legend for his seminars on story-telling. This is the first time he is ever presenting in the Upper Midwest.

For over 25 years, Robert McKee's Story Seminar has propelled and inspired over 50,000 screenwriters, filmmakers, TV writers, novelists, industry executives, actors, producers, directors, playwrights, advertising executives, journalists, attorneys and politicians...anyone who works with a narrative story. Participants in Robert McKee's Story Seminar have won: 32 Academy Awards (106+ Nominations); 158 Emmy Awards (500+ Nominations); 21 WGA Awards (77+ Nominations); and 17 DGA Awards (48+ Nominations). It's pricey, but Loft members get a $100 discount, and I'd consider it a serious investment in your craft. If you get a chance, don't miss it.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Diversicon 18, 2010!

Seth Lyons has presented the art for Diversicon 18, honoring the work of the prolific Dr. William F. Wu, author of Hong On the Range as well as posthumous guests of honor Fritz Leiber and Sir Arthur C. Clarke!

Diversicon is July 30-August 1, 2010 at the Best Western-Bandana Square (1010 W. Bandana Blvd. St. Paul, MN) This year's Guest of Honor is author William F. Wu and the posthumous guests of honor are Fritz Leiber and Sir Arthur C. Clarke. For further information you can visit