Chinese American, Event, Performance

Hazel Ying Lee: Fighting for Gender Equality

Hazel Ying Lee

Although she lived during an era when the world told her that as a Chinese American female, the best she might hope for was a job as an elevator operator at a local department store, Hazel Ying Lee (1912–1944) had higher aspirations. Born in Portland, Oregon, she took her first airplane ride at age 20 and resolved to learn to fly. She joined a flying club and took lessons, earning her pilot’s license in 1932–becoming one of the first Chinese American women to enter the profession–in which more than 99% of aviators were male.

After Japan invaded China in 1931, Hazel offered her services to the Chinese government, but the authorities rejected the notion of a female aviator. For a time, she worked for a commercial airline, eventually returning to the U.S., where she set about acquiring war material for China. After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, a shortage of qualified pilots led to the creation of the Women Airforce Service Pilots or “WASPs,” in 1943. WASPs flew military aircraft from factories to ports of embarkation and military training bases and transported cargo, freeing male pilots for combat. Hazel lost no time in applying, and when she was accepted into the fourth class (43-W-4), she became the first Chinese American woman to fly for the United States military.

Hazel flew the PT-19, BT-13, C-47, and P-63. The work was taxing and often quite dangerous, but she was described as “calm and fearless,” even in the face of several brushes with disaster. During a November 1944 mission to deliver a new P-63 aircraft to Great Falls, Montana, in bad weather, Hazel’s plane collided with another aircraft and crashed on the runway. She survived the accident, but later died of her injuries – the last of 38 WASP heroines to give her life in the service of her country. A pioneer in her field, Hazel Ying Lee proved that neither race nor gender need be a hindrance to realizing one’s dreams.

Click to enlarge

To find out more about Hazel Ying Lee, come to the National Museum of American History on Thursday, June 6 for an original performance by the National Constitution Center about the real–life experiences of a diverse group of seven Americans who bravely fought for equality, freedom, and justice overseas and at home during World War II. Click here to learn more about “Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We the People”?”

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Event, Performance

Event: Live Performance – Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We the People”

Click to download the PDF flyer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013
Performance Times:
11:00 am
2:00 pm
4:00 pm
6:30 pm

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

Closest Metro: Federal Triangle

Free and open to the public.
No tickets or reservations required.

America is a story that is being written everyday in the lives of its people. What is the story? And what do we learn from it?

In conjunction with the exhibition, I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story, currently on view at the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center presents “Fighting for Democracy: Who is  the ‘We in ‘We the People’?” This compelling stage performance created by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and produced collaboratively with Philadelphia’s premier theater artists, explores the themes of civil rights and democracy through the perspectives of seven diverse individuals whose lives and communities were forever changed by World War II. Fighting for Democracy reveals how World War II was a pivotal time in developing a broader understanding of our nation and its people.

Each 35-minute performance will include a post-show discussion with the audience and artists.

Meet the seven stories. Click to enlarge image.

People portrayed in the performance:

Credits

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center presents Fighting for Democracy, an original performance by the National Constitution Center in partnership with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, an educational program of the Japanese American National Museum funded in part by the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is a hands-on museum, national town hall, and civic education headquarters celebrating the United States Constitution and the story of “We the People.” Learn more at constitutioncenter.org

Lead Sponsor:

Partnering Sponsors:

GW Law’s Asian American Law Alumni Association (AALAA) is proud to support the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Underwriting/Sponsorship Opportunities:
Starting at $250. For sponsorship information, please contact Amy “Emiko” J. Hever at (202) 633-2812 or HeverA@si.edu.

Video: Fighting for Democracy exhibition trailer. This performance was inspired by this exhibition.

Photos in the flyer courtesy of Library of  Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. Army Center of Military History, U.S. Army Signal Corps, U.S. Air Force, the national Center for the Preservation of Democracy and the Japanese American National Museum, Collection of Domingo Los Baños, the Frances Slanger Collection in The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University, Mary S. Tominaga, Japanese American National Museum, The Woman’s Collection, Texas Woman’s, Dr. Héctor P. García Papers, Special Collections & Archives, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Bell Library, ASSOCIATED PRESS, Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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Crafts, Event, Family, Literary, Performance

Volunteer for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2013

Handmade storybook activity. Photo taken during the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Family Day 2011.

We are looking for volunteers who will be in the Washington, D.C. metro area on the weekend of May 4-5 to help with our upcoming two-day Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Family Festival. The festival is inspired by two new exhibitions: I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story and Nam Jun Paik: Global Visionary. This two-day kid-friendly event includes interactive performances, hands-on activities, presentations by local authors, conversations with a curator, gallery tours, a scavenger hunt, and much more.

Click here to view the full schedule
Click here to download the flyer (PDF)

Examples of tasks we need help with on May 4:

  • Talking to the public about their experiences during the festival and using a new evaluation system with iPads
  • Handmade book projects (view photos)
  • Video recording children and participants sharing their handmade books
  • Monitoring a video presentation station

If you think you would like to help out on either day, please contact Lydia Alcock at AlcockL@si.edu as soon as possible.  Please also feel free to forward this page to friends, family, and colleagues who may be interested in helping out.

May 4, 2013

I Want the Wide American Earth
Volunteer Orientation: 10:30am
Event: 11:30am – 4pm
Location: National Museum of American History
Address: 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Metro: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle
Website: http://apa.si.edu/heritage/

May 5, 2013

PaikBot Family Day
Volunteer Orientation: 10:30am
Event: 11:30am – 5pm
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kogod Courtyard
Address: 8th and F Streets, NW
Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown
Website: Click here

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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:

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Event, Lecture, Performance

Event: Joe Bataan, the Afro-Filipino King of Latin Soul

Friday, October 19, 2012
Public Talk: 6:30 p.m. — 7:30 p.m
Performance: 8:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m

National Museum of Natural History
Baird Auditorium
10th & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.  20530
Google Map

Entrance: Constitution Ave.

Closest Metro: Federal Triangle

Free and open to the public

“Latin soul comes straight from the streets of Harlem. It’s a cha-cha backbeat with English lyrics and a pulsating rhythm that makes your feet come alive.”
— Joe Bataan

Come learn about the power of music to move people—to get us on our feet and across borders of race, geography, class, language, and culture. The intersecting lines of heritage in Joe Bataan’s music and identity offer a unique entry point into the lives and community commitments of the civil rights movement and a deeper understanding of the American experience. Born and raised in Spanish Harlem to a Filipino father and an African American mother, Joe Bataan symbolizes the dynamic intersections between Afro-Asian-Latino histories and cultural forms.

Join us for a public discussion featuring Joe Bataan, activist and performer Nobuko Miyamoto, and African American Studies scholar Dr. Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar. With them we revisit the political and cultural ferment and collaboration of the late 1960s and 1970s in New York City when groups such as the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords Party, Asian Americans for Action, and El Comité contributed to dynamic social justice movements, catalyzed largely by young people, which inspired cultural pride, creativity, and activism. Miguel “Mickey” Melendez, author and former member of the Young Lords, will moderate the discussion.

Related Links

Parking info:
Please click here to download a PDF for more details on where to park at the Smithsonian.

Funding for this program is provided by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, Smithsonian Latino Center, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Americans All: The Immigration/Migration Initiative at the Smithsonian, Smithsonian Consortium for Understanding the American Experience, and the Smithsonian Asian-Latino Project of the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool.

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Event, General APA, Performance, This Month in History

This Month in History – Guam Liberation Day

Left: APA Program interns at the Guam Liberation Day ceremony on Capitol Hill. Right: Traditional Chamorro dance performance during the ceremony.

By Aaron Sayama, Summer 2012 Intern

On July 18, 2012, the Honorable Madeleine Bordallo of Guam, hosted a Guam Liberation Day ceremony on Capitol Hill, celebrating Guam’s liberation by the U.S. during World War II.  Since being liberated, Guam was designated as an unincorporated territory of the United States by the Guam Organic Act of 1950, which, among other things, granted U.S. citizenship to individuals born in Guam and introduced Guamanian representation in the House of Representatives.

At this year’s celebration, local Chamorro families prepared traditional island cuisine such as tangy kelaguen, salty fina’denne, spicy månnok kadon pika and sweet, syrupy latiyas. While guests sampled the island’s cuisine, traditional Chamorro dancers performed on stage. Through reenactments of traditional fertility and warrior dances, the audience experienced a taste of ancient Chamorro festivals.

As the son of Guamanian parents (my father is Chamorro and my mother, while Caucasian, grew up in Guam and speaks Chamorro fluently), I relish the opportunity to connect with my cultural heritage. Cultural events hosted in the hallowed halls of the American government speak to the vibrant diversity of the American community and its willingness to welcome people from all communities in shared celebration. It reminds me of the traditional Chamorro value system known as inafa’maolek. While there is no direct translation of this value system in English, inafa’maolek privileges the collective good over individual needs and desires. These guiding principles are deeply embedded within Chamorro culture and speak to our practice of mutual respect. The Guam Liberation Day celebration was a great way to experience the diverse cultures that make up the fabric of our diverse nation.

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Art, Event, Performance

Portraits After 5: Identities in Motion

Portraits After 5: Identities in Motion
From left: Carm’s Crew (detail) by Shizu Saldamando, 2009. Jo Willems and Karen O’Brien. © Shizu Saldamando; Maggie Kim by CYJO, digital pigment print, 2005. Collection of the artist © CYJO; CYJO; and Dana Tai Soon Burgess.

Friday, May 18, 2012
8 p.m. — 11 p.m

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Kogod Courtyard
8th and F Streets NW
Washington, DC 20001
Google Map

Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown

Free and open to the public

Food and drink on sale
in the Courtyard Café

Gather in the Kogod Courtyard to see how dance, new media, language, and visual projections work together to explore identity and cultural influence.

Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter”—organized as a collaboration between the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program—is the Smithsonian’s first major showcase of contemporary Asian American portraiture. It features the groundbreaking work of seven artists.

KYOPO: Multiplicity is an exploration of how culture and Asian traditions survive, expand, and evolve abroad. The performance piece is a collaboration between the artist CYJO—whose work is in “Asian American Portraits of Encounter”—modern dance choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess, French composer Benoit Granier, and composer Anthony Paul De Ritis.

Related Links:

This event is sponsored by:

  • Korean Cultural Center at the Embassy
  • of the Republic of Korea
  • DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
  • Northeastern University’s College of Arts, Media and Design
  • Yale School of Music
  • Quince Imaging
  • National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
  • Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Cherry Blossom Giving Circle
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Art, Crafts, Event, Family, Performance

APA Heritage Month – Family Day 2012

Click to download the PDF postcard

May 6, 2012
11:30 a.m. — 3:00 p.m

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Kogod Courtyard
8th and F Streets NW
Washington, DC 20001
Google Map

Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown
Free and open to the public

Bring the whole family to the Smithsonian’s kickoff celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Enjoy a fun-filled day sampling music and dance performances by local artists and engaging in challenging but child-friendly hands-on activities. This family day of activities centers on the exhibition, Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter. The Hirshhorn’s ARTLAB+ teens will be on hand to videotape interviews with interested visitors.

If you think you would like to help out at this event, please contact Lydia Alcock at alcockl@si.edu as soon as possible about volunteering. Please also feel free to forward this note to friends, family, and colleagues.

Schedule

11:45 a.m.
CYC Lion DanceLion Dance (Opening)
The Washington Chinese Youth Club (CYC) performs traditional Chinese Lion Dances at a variety of major events. Lion dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume.
12:00 p.m. Remarks by Konrad Ng
Konrad NgKonrad Ng is the Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, which provides vision, leadership, and support for Asian and Pacific Islander American initiatives for the Smithsonian Institution.
12:15 p.m. South Asian Dance Performance by Dhroopad
Dhroopad is an all volunteer Bengali American cultural organization in the  DC Metro area with an objective to promote rich Bengali cultural heritage and to foster arts and literature as a force that transcends social, cultural and religious barriers and instigate compassion for humanity.
1:00 p.m. Spoken Word and Poetry Performances
Simone Jacobson. Photo by Roshan Karmali.The 2013 Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) Spoken Word & Poetry Summit Artists are a gathering of spoken word artists, poets, writers, musicians, thespians, activists, organizers, and artists who convene based on the commonality of their Asian American, Asian, and/or Pacific Islander identity.
1:30 p.m. Storytelling with Mokihana
MokihanaOur storyteller, Mokihana, will share The Island-below-the-Star, by James Rumford, which tells of the adventure of five brothers and teaches Polynesian navigation skills.  Mokihana will teach the children hula motions to enhance the story and will share an original chant based on the book.
2:00 p.m. Book Reading & Signing with Sushimita Mazumdar
SushmitaSushmita Mazumdar is a D.C. area book artist, writer, and educator. She started writing stories for children when her children were little and made them into fun books by hand. Since then, she teaches art education programs for children as well as adult groups to encourage storytelling and passing on cultural heritage from one generation to the next.
2:15 p.m. Filipino American Dance Ensemble by MHC
FIlipino American PerformanceThe Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) Filipino American Dance Ensemble is composed of talented youth and adults from various groups who trained for cultural events. The group is under the artistic direction of the Philippine Embassy’s former Cultural Officer & Attache’ Grace Valera.
2:45 p.m.
Lion Dance (Closing)
Performed by the Washington Chinese Youth Club (CYC)

 

Ongoing Activities

Ti Lei Bracelets
Ti Lei BraceletsTi leaves (lā`ī in Hawaiian) have had many uses in Hawaiian culture:  rain capes, roof waterproofing, cooking (as tin foil facsimile) and more.  Participants will learn a simple yet authentic lei-making method to make a bracelet that can be worn repeatedly by storing in the freezer.

Lion and Dragon Masks
Dragon MaskDecorate your own lion or dragon mask to celebrate the year of the dragon. The Lunar New Year is symbolized by a different animal zodiac each year, determined by a 12-year cycle. 2012 is the Year of the Dragon which is the most revered in the calendar.

Handmade Storybooks with Sushmita Mazumdar
Handmade StorybooksChildren and families can create a storybook illustrating their personal story. Sushmita Mazumdar and museum volunteers will provide directions and help.

Charcoal Drawings with Rebecca C. Adams
Charcoal DrawingsIn contemporary American culture hair type can indicate where you live, it can tell a story about your ancestors, and it can even be a form of creative self-expression.  Based on the artworks of Zhang Chun Hong in the Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter exhibit, visitors will create their own hair scroll “portraits” in charcoal to celebrate their individuality.

Clay Fortune Cookies
Clay fortune cookiesLearn how to make fortune cookies out of clay. The history of the fortune cookie dates back to Los Angeles, California. According to “Madam Chu’s Chinese Cooking School” (a book by Grace Zia Chu), George Jung invented the fortune cookie in Los Angeles, circa 1916. He either wanted to cheer up customers during WWI or entertain them while waiting for their food.

ARTLAB+
ARTLAB+ Student FilmingARTLAB+ is a digital media studio based at the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden that gives teens the opportunity to become integral members of a design team. Production teams are inviting participants to share personal stories that relate to the theme of APA Heritage Month and the Portraiture Now exhibition. The footage is compiled into a montage video by an ARTLAB+ teen video editor.

Photo BoothPhoto Booth
Bring home memories by taking free photo booth pictures with your family and friends.

Special menu available at the Courtyard Café.

Related Links:

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Academic, Event, Literary, Performance

Recap and Video: Between Image & Word Symposium

click image to view more photos

The Edgar P. Richardson Symposium Asian American Portraits of Encounter: Between Image & Word was held on April 14, 2012 at the National Portrait Gallery’s McEvoy Auditorium and featured readings by seven renowned Asian Pacific American writers: Bao Phi, Marianne Villanueva, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Kazim Ali, Anna Kazumi Stahl, David Henry Hwang, and Garrett Hongo.

 Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis

The purpose of the symposium was eloquently expressed by Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, editor of the Asian American Literary Review, in his opening remarks:

“There’s greater production of Asian American arts and letters now than ever before, but I think that it’s easy to see the writers as if they’re at their separate tables at a giant book fair, or artists at their respective galleries, sort of as a chain of islands of disparate talents… And the impetus for this event is to view Asian American arts and letters as a living body, a living community that needs nurturing and provoking, precisely by means of exchange and conversation, and we hope today’s event provides these sorts of exchange and dialogue.”

Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian APA Program, also gave remarks via video that compliment the mission of the symposium:

“…what you do, what you write, what you create, is of great importance and relevance because the meaning of your work far exceeds the fact of its existence.   Your work captures the particularities of this time and allows future generations to admire creative expression and respect critical interventions. The idea of today’s event grew out of the recognition that art and literature possess profound powers, and the encounter between Asian American writers, as they respond to Asian American portraiture, could incubate critical acts of creativity. “

The four-hour symposium also featured the artwork of Roger Shimomura, Hey Yeon Nam, CYJO, Shizu Saldamando, Hong Chun Zhang, Tam Tran, and Satomi Shirai, all of which are currently on display in the Asian American Portraits of Encounter exhibition. Each of the seven participating writers was paired with a visual portrait from the exhibition and asked to create an original literary work in response. Presented in the form of poems, short stories, and plays, these response pieces explored themes of identity, immigration, xenophobia, Asian American stereotypes, and cultural dissonance. The writers also shared personal anecdotes and other works from their oeuvre with similar thematic content. Ranging from comedic send-ups of youth culture to deeply heartfelt narrations of the artists’ own creative and personal journeys, the great diversity of works presented that afternoon provided a bridge between the visual and literary arts, and hopefully prompted some thought-provoking discussions on what it means to be Asian American today.

Watch the webcast video below or on our Ustream page.

Between Image & Word was organized and presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Asian American Literary Review with generous funding from the Commissioner Edgar P. Richardson Symposium Fund of the National Portrait Gallery and OCA-DC.

Related Links:

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Art, Crafts, Event, Family, Performance

Call for Volunteers: APA Heritage Month 2012

May 6, 2012
11:30 a.m. — 3:00 p.m

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Kogod Courtyard
8th and F Streets NW
Washington, DC 20001
Google Map

Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown
Free admission

We are looking for volunteers to help with our upcoming Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Family Day.

This family day of activities centers on the exhibition, Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter, and includes musical and dance performances, and a range of hands-on activities about portraiture and identity. The Hirshhorn’s Artlab+ teens will be on hand to videotape interviews with interested visitors.

If you think you would like to help out at this event, please contact Lydia Alcock at alcockl@si.edu as soon as possible.  Please also feel free to forward this note to friends, family, and colleagues.

Related Links:

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