Event, Film

Film Screening: Grace Lee Boggs

Activist Grace Lee Boggs, center, at an Asian Political Alliance (APA) Vietnam War protest in April, 1971 at the base of the Washington Monument. Photo courtesy Corky Lee

Sunday, June 23, 2013
2:15 pm

Warner Bros. Theater
National Museum of American History
14th St. & Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20560
Google Map

Closest Metro: Federal Triangle

Tickets required. Purchase here.

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

When Korean American filmmaker Grace Lee set out in search of other Asian American women bearing the same name in THE GRACE LEE PROJECT, little did she know that she would stumble upon a woman so extraordinary as to warrant a film all her own.  Grace Lee Boggs is a 95-year-old Chinese American philosopher, activist and force of nature whose remarkable life and work traversed the major social movements of the last century.

Grace Lee Boggs is also featured in the exhibition I Want the Wide American Earth on banner 21. The exhibition is now on display at the National Museum of American History, third floor.

This film screening is part of AFI Docs (formerly Silverdocs). Click here for more information about the film festival.

Click here to view the trailer.

Event, Family, Film, Performance

Event – Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings

Monday, December 3, 2012
6:30 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.

Rasmuson Theater
National Museum of the American Indian
4th and Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20560
Google Map

Closest Metro: L’Enfant Plaza

Free and open to the public

Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings is a compelling portrait of an inspiring and inventive musician whose virtuoso skills on the ukulele have transformed all previous notions of the instrument’s potential. Through intimate conversations with Shimabukuro, Life on Four Strings reveals the cultural and personal influences that have shaped the man and the musician. On the road from Los Angeles to New York to Japan, the film captures the solitary life on tour, the exhilaration of performance, the wonder of newfound fame, and the loneliness of separation from home and family.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura, the film will premiere on PBS in Winter 2013. The film screening will be followed by an appearance from Jake Shimabukuro and a Q&A with the audience.

Note: This event will not be webcasted or recorded.

Presented by:

  • Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
  • Center for Asian American Media
  • Pacific Islanders in Communications

Sponsored by:

  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
  • Southwest Airlines
  • DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival

Related Links:

Event, Film

Reel Portraits Double Feature: Shanghai Express and Hud

Shanghai Express and Hud film posters

Shanghai Express and Hud film posters

Saturday, May 19, 2012
1 p.m. — 5 p.m.

Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium
National Portrait Gallery
8th and G Streets NW
Washington, DC 20001
Google Map

Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown

Related Exhibition:
Twentieth-Century Americans

Free and open to the public.
Auditorium doors open 30 minutes
before program starts.

The Smithsonian presents two films to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month:

1 PM: Shanghai Express (1932, 80 min) is a tale of romance and intrigue that unfolds aboard an express train during the Chinese civil war. Known for its Oscar–winning cinematography by Lee Garmes, this film features Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, and Anna May Wong. Melissa Bisagni (National Museum of the American Indian’s film and video manager) introduces the screening.

3 PM: Hud (1963, 112 min.) starring Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, and Patricia Neal, depicts a Texas ranching family coming apart at the seams. The film was nominated for 7 Oscars and won 3, including James Wong Howe’s statuette for Best Cinematography (Black and White). Konrad Ng (director, Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Program) introduces this screening.

Portraits of Anna May Wong and James Wong Howe are on view in the related exhibition, Twentieth-Century Americans.

Academic, Event, Family, Film, History, Japanese American, Lecture

Recap: Annual Day of Remembrance at the Smithsonian


Poster design by Nigel Briggs, National Museum of American History

By Noriko Sanefuji (Curatorial Assistant) and Christine Chou (intern)

This year’s Day of Remembrance (DOR) was special for many reasons. Not only is it the 70th anniversary since the signing of Executive Order 9066, the action that led to the imprisonment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, it was also to honor the Japanese American WWII veterans that were recently awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

The program began with a keynote speech by Secretary of Veterans Affairs General Eric Shinseki (watch the video clip above or download his speech here). He reflected on the roles of Japanese Americans who volunteered in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service during World War II. General Shinseki recognized their merit in receiving the award and stated that their legacy shows what it means to be an American to future generations. He said:

PDF of Shinseki's Speech

Download PDF

“In all my years in the military, I can find no better, no more compelling, and no more inspiring story of what it means to be an American than the stories and battle histories of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service. They were premiere warfighting units ranking among the very best in U.S. military history. The legacy of those who served in those units is a tradition of patriotism, loyalty, courage, honor, dedication and sacrifice that’s as old as the American Revolution. Their’s is an American story.”

General Shinseki’s keynote speech was followed by a film highlighting the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony.  Afterward, there was a panel discussion that included Grant Ichikawa, MIS veteran; Gerald Yamada, Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) president; Christine Sato-Yamazaki Chairperson, National Veteran Network; and Doug Sterner, author of Go For Broke.  The panel was moderated by Franklin Odo, former director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program. Everyone provided insights about the significance of the Congressional Gold Medal and the process of recognizing Japanese American WWII veterans.

DOR Recap

Day of Remembrance Recap

Dr. Odo began the discussion by asking the panelists: “What does the Congressional Gold Medal mean to you?”  Mr. Ichikawa recalled his experiences in the MIS and reflected on how proud he is to be a recipient of the medal.  Ms. Sato-Yamazaki expressed her feelings on how the award ceremony represented the completion of a difficult, two-year effort to obtain congressional approval for the medal.  Mr. Sterner explained how the medal was the highest honor bestowed by Congress.  According to Mr. Yamada, the award gives JAVA the chance to make the Nisei soldiers’ legacy a living story, rather than just a historic one.

Museum visitors viewed the actual Congressional Gold Medal up close during the event.  Objects made inside the barbed wire camps during WWII were also on display at a nearby education cart. Artifacts were brought out of storage for DOR, and experts were also available to answer questions from the visitors at the education carts. Representatives from the U.S. Mint were there to discuss how the medal was created.

Interns at an education cart

Interns Christine Chou (Smithsonian APA Program) and Erin Anderson (National Museum of American History) talk to a visitor at an education cart. Photo by Donald Hurlbert, NMNH

Smithsonian APA Program intern Christine Chou designed a second educational cart as an interactive way of learning about daily life in internment camps. Objects on display included typical mess hall food, tools from working life, school artifacts, leisure items (like a baseball), and craft materials used for art projects. Historical photos complimented the objects to provide a more complete picture of camp living conditions. Everyone was encouraged to pick up and touch the objects. Some of the most popular items were the medical tools, including a stethoscope, head mirror, and elbow splint, which visitors were free to try on and use.

Another popular item, the dog tags of a Japanese American World War II veteran, belonged to Grant Ichikawa, who was interned before joining the military. As visitors held his dog tags, they were told that Mr. Ichikawa was actually in the museum that day to tell people about his experiences, and it was a quietly powerful moment. For visitors and volunteers at the cart that day, having the opportunity to interact with these artifacts helped foster a deeper connection to our national history.

Related Links:

Related Blogs:

Related Podcast: History Explorer: Japanese American Internment and WWII Service
Listen to the Podcast (MP3 file)
View more photos

Curatorial assistant Noriko Sanefuji interviews Grant Ichikawa, a U.S. veteran who enlisted after being relocated to a Japanese American internment camp with his family in 1942. Allowed to join the army after a need for interpreters, Mr. Ichikawa served the country proudly. In 2011, he and other veterans were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his service.

Veteran Grant Ichikawa

Curatorial assistant Noriko Sanefuji interviews Grant Ichikawa at the National Museum of American History, February 2012.

TalkBack Board

TalkBack Board

We also utilized the National Museum of American History’s TalkBack Boards program to invite the museum visitors to post their comments.

Today the U.S. Mint will be presenting the Congressional Gold Medal to Japanese Americans to honor their service during WII. How do you think America should honor its veterans?

You can join the online conversation by clicking here.

Academic, Event, Film, HomeSpun, Literary, South Asian

SALTAF 2011 – South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival


Saturday, November 5, 2011
10 a.m. — 5:30 p.m.

Baird Auditorium
National Museum of Natural History
1000 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004
Google Map

Metro: Federal Triangle

Free and open to the public.

Update: This event has passed, you can read the recap and view pictures.

For ten years, the South Asian Literary and Theatre Arts Festival (SALTAF) has been an annual celebration of South Asian creative talent, showcasing the work of established and emerging artists and connecting them to a wide audience in the Washington, D.C. area. The festival emerged from the book club created by the Network of South Asian Professionals D.C. (NetSAP-DC) and has blossomed with its partnership for the last eight years with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program (APAP).

Featured Literary Artists:

  • Aatish Taseer (Noon)
  • Mitali Perkins (Bamboo People)
  • Nina Godiwala (Suits: A Woman on Wall Street)
  • Shailja Patel (Migritude)
  • Roksana Badruddoja (Eyes of a Storm)

The festival will open with a screening of the film The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan to be followed by a conversation with the director, Phil Grabsky.

This event is co-sponsored by NetSAP-DC.

Program Schedule

10:00 a.m. – 11:45 Film Screening of The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan (2011)
11:45 – 12:15 p.m. Discussion with director Phil Grabsky
12:15 – 1:00 Break
1:00 – 1:15 Opening Remarks
1:15- 2:00 Discussion with author Aatish Taseer
2:00 – 3:00 Discussion with authors Nina Godiwalla and Mitali Perkins
3:00 – 3:30 Book Signing
3:30 – 3:45 Reading by scholar/author Roksana Badruddoja
3:45 – 4:00 Performance by Shailja Patel
4:00 – 4:30 Discussion with Roksana Badruddoja and Shailja Patel
4:30 – 5:30 Book Signing
Event, Filipino American, Film

Film Screening of Amigo with Director John Sayles

Amigo Film Screening with Director John Sayles

Amigo Film Screening with Director John Sayles. Click to enlarge flyer.

October 20, 2011
6 — 9 p.m.

Rasmuson Theater
National Museum of the American Indian
4th and Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20560
Google Map

Metro: L’Enfant Plaza
Film Run Time: 124 minutes

Related Traveling Exhibition:
Singgalot: The Ties That Bind

Free and open to the public.

To commemorate Filipino American History Month, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program presents a screening of the film Amigo and a conversation with the director: the critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated John Sayles.

Amigo, the 17th feature film from Sayles, provides an optic on the easily forgotten history of the Philippine-American War, a short lived but brutal war that claimed the lives of about 4,000 Americans and between 200,000 to 600,000 Filipinos. Amigo stars legendary Filipino actor Joel Torre as Rafael, a village mayor caught in the crossfire of the war, and Academy-Award winner, Chris Cooper, as U.S. Colonel Hardacre. Filipino American scholar Theo Gonzalves, a professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will moderate the conversation with Sayles.

Click here to download a PDF of the flyer.

Discussion moderator Theo Gonzalves and director of "Amigo," John Sayles.

Discussion moderator Theo Gonzalves and director of "Amigo," John Sayles.


Event, Film, Lecture, Literary

The Hip-hop/Kung Fu/Afro-Asian Connection: A Panel Discussion

Click for more photos

From left: Nelson George, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Barry Cole, and Konrad Ng. Click image for more photos.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

4 p.m.

Meyer Auditorium
Freer Gallery of Art
Jefferson Drive at 12th St SW
Washington, DC 20013

Closest Metro: Smithsonian
Free and open to the public.

Following the screening of Drunken Master at 2 p.m., join a panel of experts at 4 p.m. for a lively discussion about the long-running relationship between martial arts movies and rap music.


Barry Cole, member of Hop Fu (Hip-hop meets Kung Fu)
Nelson George, filmmaker and author of Hip Hop America
Konrad Ng, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program
Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Chinese Taiwanese American spoken word artist based in Brooklyn

This event is cosponsored with the Freer Gallery of Art. It is presented in conjunction with:

•  The exhibition RACE: Are We So Different? on view at the National Museum of Natural History through January 2, 2012.
•  Part of the series Let’s Talk About RACE – at the Smithsonian
•  Part of the series Sixteenth Annual Made in Hong Kong Film Festival
•  Part of the series The Hip-hop/Kung Fu Connection

Freer kung fu / hip hop event