On the first Saturday in May, I was in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room, located in Room 150 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E. in Washington, D.C., to photograph the Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection, on display through May 31, 2012.
Sponsored by the Library of Congress’ Asian Division, the display of 54 of my “In Rehearsal” photographs, drawn from the AAPI Collection’s Lia Chang Theater Portfolio, along with select working scripts from the Playwrights’ Archives including the plays of Rick Shiomi, Velina Hasu Houston, Christine Toy Johnson, Reme Grefalda, Jeanne Sakata, and Lani Montreal, is being held in conjunction with the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM).
I was delighted to meet up with 10 children, their parents and chaperones from the Mabuhay Inc. Culture School, who had driven in from College Park, Maryland, for their second field trip in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room.
More than 20 years ago, Mencie Y. Hairston and a group of parents established Mabuhay Inc. Culture School, a terrific weekend cultural and educational enrichment program where Filipino-American children ages 4 – 16, learn the common bonds of history, geography and culture between the United States and the Philippines.
Arts and crafts, music, folk dancing, literature, history and Tagalog are part of the program. The mission of Mabuhay Inc. Culture School is to enhance the self-esteem and “cultural competence” of young Filipino Americans – children who know, share, and are proud of their parents’’ customs and traditions.
Reme Grefalda, curator of the AAPI Collection at the Library of Congress, handpicked a selection of children’s books by Filipino authors for them.
Each student chose a book to read, and then shared its synopsis with the whole group.
“We are grateful to Reme Grefalda for continuing to make the Library’s Asian American Collection accessible to our young readers,” said Hairston. “The field trip was focused on children’s books by Filipino authors. Reme totally gets it! She has gone out of her way to make the whole experience ‘kid friendly’. As Filipino Americans, our children read “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Velveteen Rabbit”. We wanted them to also know first hand what stories Filipino children listened to or read.”
“I asked them to identify the author and illustrator of their chosen book to drive the point that Filipinos are creative people,” said Hairston. “A majority of the books we read were based on Philippine legends. At the end of the book reading, the students deduced that the legends explained how things/beings/animals came to be but more importantly, they taught life lessons. Discussions continued at the cafeteria between bites of pizza and spoonfuls of rice! This was the best field trip ever!”
(A Filipino American Association) www.mabuhayinc-md.org/
“In Rehearsal” Photographs from AAPI Collection’s Lia Chang Theater Portfolio on view through May 31, 2012 The 54 photographs on display feature the following artists rehearsing for “opening night”:Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, a collaborative benefit by New York’s leading theater companies as a gesture of solidarity with theater communities in Japan devastated by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami; Katie Hae Leo’s Four Destinies, produced by Mu Performing Arts in Minneapolis MN; BD Wong and Wayne Barker’s King Matt the First with Wong directing Rosie O’Donnell’s Theater Kids; Cindy Cheung’s SPEAK UP CONNIE a one-person show also directed by BD Wong; David Henry Hwang’s Chinglishat the Goodman Theatre, prior to its Broadway run; Darren Lee, Director/Choregrapher of Disney Wishes; Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas; and the cast of Bakwas Bumbug!, a pop opera by Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri.
Photos: In Rehearsal with Director Bartlett Sher and the cast of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (3pm) with Andre Bishop, Mary Beth Hurt, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Philip Kan Gotanda, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Richard Thomas, Jay O. Sanders, and more
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (8pm) with Oskar Eustis, Patti LuPone, Lisa Emery, Ann Harada, Paolo Montalban, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Henry Stram, Richard Thomas, John Weidman and more
The Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room is located in Room 150 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The hours of the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room are 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Lia Chang Photos: Backstage at Mu Performing Arts’ Four Destinies by Katie Hae Leo, 10/15-10/30 The Library of Congress is the central repository for all types of Asian publications that are not broadly available at other locations in the United States. Initiated in 1869 with a gift of 10 works in 934 volumes offered to the United States by the Emperor of China, the Library’s Asian collection of more than 2 million items is the largest and most comprehensive outside of Asia. For more information about the division and its holdings, go towww.loc.gov/rr/asian/.
Photos: Playwright David Henry Hwang in rehearsal at the Goodman Theatre for World Premiere of ChinglishFounded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website atwww.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.
Photos: Christmas in June w/ Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s “Bakwas Bumbug” at The Wild Project in NY
Photos: BD Wong in Rehearsal for “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”
Photos: BD Wong, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon, Tom Viola at “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.