Friday, September 6, 2013

Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals Crowdfunding Campaign until 9/30

The "Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals" soundtrack album is coming and it is packed with some of Lao horror playwright Saymoukda Vongsay's favorite local and national artists! Help bring the album to life by giving any amount you can so that they can fairly compensate these artists for their contribution.

Help them reach $3,500 by the end of the month! Their crowdfunding campaign is taking place over at:

Family Style Open Mic kicks off a new season on Friday, September 20th!

If you're in the Philadelphia area, join the Asian Arts Initiative for another exciting season of Family Style, Asian Arts Initiative's dynamic and eclectic showcase of stories, song, dance, and poetry for Asian Americans and extended "family" of all cultures!

Co-founded by Michelle Myers and Catzie Vilayphonh of the spoken-word duo Yellow Rage, Family Style highlights invited feature artists mixed with open mic performances. If you're an emerging or established artist, be sure to sign up to perform at September's open mic and also check out their Events page for details on special guest hosts this Fall!

Also this Fall: Michelle Myers will be facilitating a series of free spoken word and writing workshops for youth, 3rd Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m. Contact them for more info and sign ups.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Saymoukda Vongsay to appear at Ordway International Children's Festival

Bring your kids to the Ordway's International Children's Festival this weekend to hear Saymoukda Vongsay tell Lao folklore stories in Minnesota.

The Children’s Festival features an amazing array of indoor international performances for only $5! More information and tickets During the Family Weekend, downtown Saint Paul comes alive with family-friendly events! Between 10:00am and 5:00pm on June 1 and 2, the parks around the Ordway fill with free arts activities, art exhibits and performances! The Ordway proudly presents a vast array of performances on the Festival’s two outdoor stages – the World Stage and Landmark Stage – and in the surrounding parks…all for free.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Saymoukda Vongsay and St. Paul Almanac present "When Poets Found Bass."

This Wednesday at the Black Dog Cafe in St. Paul, local luminaries, industry legends, international music-makers, and a world record holder will join Saymoukda Vongsay as she and the Saint Paul Almanac presents "When Poets Found Bass." SPNN and KFAI will be documenting. The event is free & early arrival is recommended for guaranteed seats. "When Poets Found Bass" will feature Fres Thao, Desdamona, Truthmaze, DJ Kool Akiem, and Ta-coumba Tyrone Aiken. The event goes from 7-9.

The Black Dog Cafe is located at 308 Prince Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101

The organizers lay out their premise as:

"In the last decade, the rise of spoken word poetry and poetry slams have given much attention to the literary art form itself—poetry. With poetry's performative aspects being akin to the stylized delivery of vocals in rap music, the line between spoken word poetry and rap has been blurred. What happens when poetry and rap intersect? Truthmaze, Desdamona, and Fres—three local luminaries from the world of poetry and Hip Hop—take us on a lyrical adventure and prove that the tools, devices, and guidelines observed by poets are the very same ones utilized by MCs.  

Without stripping away either of poetry's or rap's own aesthetics, these trailblazers have a dual identity, equally at ease when writing stanzas in notebooks or spitting bars over a track. Whether your cup of tea is more Blake than Big Daddy Kane, or if you prefer Aesop Rock over Angelou, this Lowertown Reading Jam is for you."

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dr. Ketmani Kouanchao to speak at Laotian American Community of Fresno Banquet

Dr. Ketmani Kouanchao will be the Keynote Speaker for the Laotian American Community of Fresno Banquet on March 9, 2013 at the Clovis Senior Center. She'll be speaking on the journey of Lao Americans in education, civic engagement and the role of parents and elders in building the future with our youth.

The Laotian-American Community of Fresno was founded in 2000 by concerned Laotian community members as a source of mentorship, guidance, and support for community members and their families as new lives were being established in the United States.  They are the only Lao-run nonprofit in the Fresno area, and their mission is to promote and preserve Lao cultural heritage and traditions through traditional Lao dance classes and Lao literacy classes, and also to empower and encourage Lao youth to pursue college educations.

In 2013, a grant from ACTA's Living Cultures Grants Program will support an ongoing program of traditional Lao dance instruction designed to preserve and promote cultural transmission to Lao-American youth. The classes taught by culture-bearers will concentrate on five dances which range from the popular ritualistic dance of welcome to dances depicting the enlightenment of Buddha.

Dr. Kouanchao currently serves as the director of EOPS/CARE programs at Mt. San Jacinto Community College. She received her doctorate degree from California State University- Fullerton in Educational Leadership Administration focusing on Community College. She received her Master’s Degree in Education and her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Public Health and East Asian Studies from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Kouanchao was born in Laos and raised in Minneapolis, MN.

She has over 15 years of experience as a university and community college administrator including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.  She works nationally on issues of cross-cultural leadership, women’s leadership and transformative leadership development – especially in communities of color and addressing federal and state-funded programs and connections with the non-profit sector.

She enjoys helping all students to discover their own unique leadership style so they can share their success with others and help everyone reach their full leadership potential. She is a regular columnist for the Twin Cities Daily Planet and Little Laos on the Prairie.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Xieng Mieng Kickstarter enters final days

Nor Sanavongsay was a member of the Lao American Writers Summit back in 2010, and presented the Xieng Mieng storybook he wanted to make. He's been at it almost 14 years and now he's almost finished making that dream happen.

Since the beginning of February, he's been holding a Kickstarter to fund the production of a full-color hardcover book, and now he's just $2K away from being able to present a hardcover edition of the book if he gets enough support. Backers can get a number of different rewards for their support, from thank you notes and exclusive post-cards to custom sketches and more. A donation of $15 will cover the cost of a physical copy of the book and the e-book version.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lao American Storyteller Festival coming to Minneapolis

On February 21st-23rd, the Lao Assistance Center will be presenting the Lao American Storytellers Festival at the Harrison Neighborhood Center at 503 Irving Avenue N. in Minneapolis, MN. The festival will include formal presentations of traditional folk tales, oral histories, worship sessions and cultural exhibits from 1pm to 4pm each day. Free and open to the public. Further schedule details will be announced on the Lao Assistance website ( and social media such as twitter: @laocenterMN.

Among the guest presenters will by Lao Minnesotan Storyteller Fellows Saymoukda Vongsay, Phouthakannha Nantharath, Sue Veerasaeng, Saphaothong Komany, and David Zander. The festival will also be presented in conjunction with Bryan Thao Worra's summit, Beyond the Other Side of the Eye: Discussions in Southeast Asian Futurism.

This activity was made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Region Arts Council, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

In the United States there are approximately 200,000 Lao with the largest populations residing in California, Texas, and Minnesota. Minnesota has the 3rd largest Lao refugee population in the US with 12,000 to 25,000 residents. There are still many gains to be achieved in both education and the arts. Many members of the community expressed concerns regarding the preservation and transmission of traditional culture to the youth.

The Lao American Storytellers Festival is a key outcome of a year-long intensive apprenticeship program of the Lao Assistance Center to encourage the next generation of Lao American storytellers. This is the first year such a program has been implemented.

Established in 1983, the mission of the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota (LACM) is to increase the capacity of the Lao-American population in Minnesota by responding to community-identified needs. This is done through developing programs and services to promote the well-being of families and children while retaining their cultural heritage. Later this year, many additional events are being planned to celebrate the journey of Lao Minnesotans. For further information you can call or visit the Lao Assistance Center at 503 Irving Avenue North in Minneapolis.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Eye to the Telescope: Asian American Speculative Poetry Issue is live!

Bryan Thao Worra guest edited an Asian American issue of Speculative Poetry at Eye to the Telescope, which officially went live this week. The contributors came up with some very interesting responses to what we might consider Asian, American and both. The nice thing about this was being able to challenge what we consider Asian American and what it could be. We tried to be very flexible about what qualified.  But see what you think!

Beyond the Other Side of the Eye, Lao American Storytelling Festival coming to Minnesota

The "Beyond the Other Side of the Eye" exhibit of Lao American speculative poetry, art and futurism will be taking place between February 21st-23rd in Minneapolis along with the Lao American Storytelling Festival. This activity was made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Region Arts Council, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.
This exhibit will feature the work of Saymoukda Vongsay, Mali Kouanchao, Seth Lyons, Vongduane Manivong, Bryan Thao Worra and other artists, with workshops presenting a historical overview and consideration of future directions.

This program will take place at the Harrison Neighborhood Center at 503 Irving Avenue N., Minneapolis, MN with formal sessions, workshops and performances from 1 to 4 each day. Free and open to the public. Further schedule details to be announced.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Home Sweet Home Again: An Exhibition of Art & Poetry

Intermedia Arts and the Family Housing Fund invite you to experience "Home Sweet Home Again: An Exhibition of Art & Poetry" featuring visual artwork and poetry by local artists and poets on homelessness, affordable housing, and the meaning of home.

This incredible and moving exhibit travels around the Twin Cities to various locations and helps underscore the continued need for safe and affordable housing for all individuals and families in Minnesota. The exhibit first opened at Intermedia Arts in 2005 and we are proud to bring it back with new and never before seen work in celebration of Intermedia Arts' 40th Anniversary Year.

The exhibit is curated by Shawna Nelsen and Theresa Sweetland. It's worth checking out!

Exhibition Run: January 24 - March 30, 2013
Opening Reception: 6-9PM, January 24; 7PM Program and Poetry
Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday 10-6PM; Saturday 12-5PM

Intermedia Arts is where the Lao Minnesotan artist Malichansouk Kouanchao and many others have exhibited their work in the past, including for the HOME SWEET HOME AGAIN exhibit. It was also the host of the 2010 Legacies of War: Refugee Nation Twin Cities multimedia exhibit and festival featuring the work of Lao American artists across the country. Lao Minnesotan writer Saymoukda Vongsay currently serves on their board of directors.