Entertainment Spotlight

What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres

Posted by Suzanne Kai - on Sunday, 08 May 2022

What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres
What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres MAY 8, 2022 With “Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres” the documentary about me, now out today and streaming merrily along on Netflix, I’m officially in the film industry.  Actually, that’s been the case since last June, when the documentary, which stole its title from a popular column at Asian Connections created by director Suzanne Joe Kai's son Mike when he was 14, premiered at the...


Posted by Lia Chang on Thursday, 12 November 2009.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri headlines panels, talks, and readings; day-long series explores internments past and present
and whether the Asian American experience is reflected in contemporary culture on November 14.

This weekend, the Asian American Writers Workshop AAWW is presenting PAGE TURNER: The Asian American Literary Festival, an unprecedented two-day literary-palooza that brings together over forty writers, including Jhumpa Lahiri, Michael Ondaatje, and David Henry Hwang. Taking place November 13-14, the Festival will encompass the broad territories that contemporary Asian American literature covers today.

PAGE TURNER combines quirky art events with investigations in politics and Asian American identity, and invites audience members to come sip cocktails with renowned writers, listen to a Chinese rocket factory worker, watch poets making video art, hear ukulele-strumming comedian Jen Kwok, visit a reading of Indian crime fiction, and attend panels on Asian American representation and the internment experiences of both Japanese Americans and post-9/11 South Asians.

The first of its kind in the nation, the Festival launches with a gala dinner tonight at the restaurant titled At Vermilion, where legendary literary figure Sonny Mehta, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Alfred A. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, will be honored with the 2009 The Asian American Writers' Workshop's Lifetime Achievement Award. Booker Prize-winning Sri Lankan Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient) will join the Workshop in honoring Mehta.

The festival continues at eleven a.m. on Saturday, November 14, 2009, at powerHouse Arena, 37 Main Street, in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn.

In "Hard-Boiled India: Stories from the Delhi Noir anthology," authors Hirsh Sawhney, Meera Nair and Mohan Sikka share stories from their exhilarating work, inviting you to visit Delhi, unsentimental and uncut, the Delhi you've been missing out on because mainstream publishing houses and glossy magazines can't stomach it.

"The New Eclectics" showcases four writers who are creating a new genre of quirk and comedy. Come hear your friends Porochista Khakpour, who the New York Times Book Review praised for her "punchy conversation" and "sharp humor"; Sesshu Foster, an American Book Award Winner whose latest work contains prose poems, shopping lists, and overheard conversations; Ed Lin, winner of the most AAWW Members' Choice awards in the Workshop's history; and Rolling Stone-featured comedian Jen Kwok.

Immigrant stories, politics and art, internment and detention round out the festival's offerings. "Registered: Narratives of Internment and Detention" features documentary film maker Rea Tajiri, UC Davis professor Sunaina Maira, and author Julie Otsuka, whose grandfather was arrested by the FBI in 1941 and mother, uncle, and grandmother were imprisoned in an internment camp during World War II.

The festival culminates with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri reading from her new short story collection, Unaccustomed Earth, and the presentation of the Twelfth Annual Asian American Literary Awards.

Early ticket purchasing is encouraged as the events frequently sell out. Cost is $5 per reading event; $20 for an all-day pass; $10 for the Literary Awards Reception only; or $25 for an all-day pass and admission to the Literary Awards. For a full festival schedule, biographies of presenters, and to register, please visithttp://pageturnerfest.org/.

Saturday, November 14, 2009 PAGE TURNER Schedule

11:00 AM Hard-Boiled India: Stories from the Delhi Noir anthology
In Delhi Noir, the capital becomes a backdrop of dark, unhinged stories of crime and betrayal. Hirsh Sawhney, Meera Nair and Mohan Sikka read from the fourteen stories that make up this exhilarating anthology. Hear Delhi unsentimental and uncut, the Delhi you've been missing out on because mainstream publishing houses and glossy magazines can't stomach it. powerHouse Ground Floor.

11:00 AM One-Way or Round Trip? Immigrant Arrival and Return
Immigration isn't a one-way ticket. Most immigrants must make a vital choice: to plant roots or return to their homeland. But what determines where an immigrant journey ends? Poet Luis Moon Over Magarao Cabalquinto, University of Pennsylvania Professor Firoozeh Frontier Fictions Kashani-Sabet, Wall Street Journal deputy global economics editor Mitra Suburban Sahibs Kalita, Columbia University Professor Mae Impossible Subjects Ngai, ,and World Policy Institute Senior Fellow Kavitha Muslims of Metropolis Rajagopalan discuss how many immigrants answer the question, to paraphrase The Clash, Should I stay or should I go? powerHouse Mezzanine.

12:00 PM The New Eclectics
From Chinese cops to Asian dating to immigrant name changes, four writers are creating a new genre of quirk and comedy. Come hear your friends Porochista Sons and Other Flammable Objects Khakpour, who the New York Times Book Review praised for her "punchy conversation" and "sharp humor"; Sesshu World Ball Notebook Foster, American Book Award Winner, whose latest contains prose poems, shopping lists and overheard conversations, Ed This Is A Bust Lin, winner of the most AAWW Members' Choice awards in the Workshop's history, and Rolling Stone-featured comedian Jen Kwok of "Date an Asian" fame. A reading with verve and risk. Watch out, there may be some laughing involved. powerHouse Ground Floor.

12:00 PM Queering the Asian-American Coming of Age Story
Alexander Edinburgh Chee, Abha Babyji, That Summer in Paris Dawesar, and Rakesh Blue Boy Satyal discuss the power of transforming adolescent experience into literary fiction and the prominence of the "coming of age" story for both Asian American and queer fiction in a conversation led by Beatrice.com's Ron Hogan. powerHouse Mezzanine.

1:00 PM Beyond Harold and Kumar: Representation in a Not-Yet-Post-Racial Era
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, initially rejected by major studios who wouldn't dream of financing a movie with two Asian American leads, has become a major film franchise--but are Asian Americans really represented in American culture? Many assume we've reached our great multicultural moment, but how far have we come? Inside and outside pop culture, David Henry Hwang, Jennifer Hayashida, Ken Chen, and Sree Sreenivasan discuss performing race in an Obama world. powerHouse Ground Floor.

1:00 PM Drunken Boat
Drunken Boat, international online journal of the arts, celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2009 with its largest issue yet, encompassing everything from a retrospective look at Electronic Arts to a folio on Arts in Asia. Join editors Ravi Shankar and Deborah Poe as Drunken Boat curates a multimedia performance featuring Whitney Museum and Pompidou Center showcased film maker Zoe Beloff, former poetry editor of the Asian Pacific American Journal Purvi Shah, emerging novelist Peter Vilbig, Israeli interactive artist, nonlinear storyteller and experimental film maker Zohar Kfir and the posthumous poems of Reetika Vazirani. powerHouse Mezzanine.

2:00 PM Everyone's a Critic!
Well, everyone thinks they are. A review can influence how the public interacts with a work and even create enemies in the process. Three of today's most prominent critics (and friends!)--Believer magazine editor Ed Park, music critic Hua Hsu, and former Village Voice film critic Dennis Lim--talk about life in the review trade. Come hear them share anecdotes and tips about the craft of criticism. powerHouse Ground Floor.

2:00 PM Registered: Narratives of Internment and Detention
How post-9/11 are post-9/11 civil liberties? From WWII Japanese internment to recent round-ups of South and West Asians, internment has played a shadowed role in Asian American experience. Across generations and ethnicities, civilians found that the country they thought of as home had thought of them as enemies. A fascinating multi-disciplinary talk with documentary filmmaker Rea Tajiri, UC Davis professor Sunaina Maira, author of the newly released Missing: Youth, Citizenship, and Empire After 9/11, and novelist Julie When the Emperor was Divine Otsuka, whose grandfather was arrested by the FBI in 1941 and mother, uncle and grandmother imprisoned for 3 years in an internment camp during WWII. A Q & A discussion moderated by Proessor of History at New York University, Jack Tchen, follows. powerHouse Mezzanine.

3:00 PM Guernica: New South Asian Fiction
Guernica is a magazine that freshly explores the intersections of art and politics. Join Amitava Kumar, Tania James, Hasanthika Sirisena and Sugi Ganeshananthan as they read from the special New South Asian Fiction issue. powerHouse Ground Floor.

3:00 PM Funky Jobs, Funkdafied Writing
Writing's a lovely hobby, dears, but what do we really do? Insurance attorneys, doctors, custodians, wait staff--if there's a wage, there's a writer who has tried it. But how does work enter and shape our art? Lijia Zhang reads from Socialism is Great!, her memoir about her life working in a rocket factory in Nanjing. Novelist Katie Kitamura, while not a professional fighter herself, reads from The Longshot, a novel that explores the brutal milieu of mixed martial arts fighting. Henry Chang, who, along with writing his highly praised Detective Jack Yu series of novels, including Chinatown Beat, has been a lighting consultant and a Security Director for major New York businesses, will also read.Join us for a spirited discussion on writing through and about our funkiest jobs. powerHouse Mezzanine.

4:00 PM Movietelling
"Benshi" is the Japanese word for a live narrator, more literally "interpreter," who read along with silent movies. Today, Movietelling (or Neo-Benshi) features poets reviving this vintage practice by reading new works alongside muted film footage. Join Ye Mimi, Paolo Javier, and Alexandra Chang for a live performance of this genre-bending art. powerHouse Mezzanine.

4:00 PM Sex and The Cities: Stories of Love & The Metropolis
From Paris to rural Iran to London, three novelists explore what moves us between cities. In their works, place becomes another character, one where desires meet and global forces are enacted on bodies. Hari Kunzru reads from My Revolutions, the book Junot Diaz is "telling people to grab." Monique Truong reads from The Book of Salt, where Vietnamese cook to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Binh, chooses between Paris and Vietnam. Then hear from another servant, this one in Morteza Baharloos The Quince Seed Potion, whose own adventures meet an Iran dissolving in revolution. powerHouse Ground Floor.

5:00 PM Jhumpa Lahiri: Unaccustomed Earth
Jhumpa Lahiri reads from Unaccustomed Earth, her most recent book of short stories, which debuted at number one on The New York Times Bestseller's List. The winner of the Pulitzer Prize, PEN/Hemingway Award, and our own 2009 Asian American Literary Award in Fiction, Lahiri is one of the most recognized and celebrated writers of our time. The Asian American Writers' Workshop is proud to say that we were there from the beginning, hosting the book party for her first book, Interpreter of Maladies. Join us as we welcome back our friend in what promises to be an intimate reading and a warm catch-up discussion. powerHouse Ground Floor.

6:00 PM Awards Ceremony
Since 1998, The Workshop has honored Asian American writers for literary excellence. The culminating event of Page Turner, the Twelfth Annual Asian American Literary Awards will honor great contributions to Asian American letters. Come have a drink and raise a glass to three award winning writers! powerHouse Ground Floor.

About The Asian American Writers' Workshop. Founded in 1991, The Asian American Writers' Workshop (aaww.org) is the most prominent organization in the country dedicated to exceptional literature by writers of Asian descent. A community of sophisticated readers and writers, the Workshop serves as an advocate and support service for Asian American writers and an intellectual and cultural center for Asian American ideas. Recently ranked by the United Asian American Organizations as one of the top five Asian American groups in the country, the Workshop believes that Asian American literature is not simply a niche genre, but offers something irreplaceable for all readers, regardless of ethnicity or national origin. In other words, Asian American literature is for everyone, not just Asian Americans, and a vital chapter of the story of what it means for all of us to be American