Monday, January 19, 2015

The Fighting Winds of Destiny now available

"As a young girl, Anita Nina Teso had fought hard to survive. As an adult, she still has had to fight to stay alive. Life has been tough, and it seemed unfair to her, but she will never be ashamed of the scars that life has left her. The Fighting Winds of Destiny, her true life experiences, hopefully will inspire the sick, both young and old, to hang tough. She wants her story to be for those people who might want to give up on life to become stronger persons and also to those who question, "Is life worth living?" She truly believes there is a miracle for those who believe and have faith in God."

First announced in 2014, Lao Minnesotan author Anita Nina Teso's memoir The Fighting Winds of Destiny is now available from Tate Publishing in paperback form for $9.99 plush shipping and handling.

It's a book that has gone through many drafts along the way, and it is one of the only Lao American memoirs to come out in the last few years. It's a book many of us hope will find the readers it's meant to find. An interview with Anita Nina Teso is anticipated to appear in the Sun Current on January 22.

Congratulations to everyone involved. It's not an easy thing to take the time out to sort out all of the things you have gone through in your life, especially when you're trying to navigate several different cultures, and also if you did not go through college as an English major. But her commitment to sharing her story is something to admire and respect.

Refuge of the InvisibLao closes this Saturday!

This is the last week to come celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Lao Diaspora this January by attending the storytelling art and photography exhibit at the Vine Gallery entitled: “Refuge of the InvisibLao: A Visual Essay.”

This is one of the first events of its kind in the country. We strongly recommend you see this exhibition which challenges our expectations of what can and should be said by our community as we examine the 40th year of the Lao diaspora. There are those who believe there's only one way to say what happened to us during our journey, but this exhibit challenges those assumptions and that narrative.

The exhibit features the work of acclaimed neo-expressionist Chicago-based artist Chanthala Kommanivanh and past and present portraits of Lao American journeys that were collected by LLOTP Founding Editor, Chanida Phaengdara Potter, and other special guests. The exhibit has already been attended by hundreds of community members, public officials, advocates, scholars, and those interested in immigrant stories from Laos and Southeast Asia.

They're asking many profound questions during this exhibit:
What is your dream after a tumultuous past? After the Laotian Civil War during the Vietnam War era, thousands of Southeast Asians emigrated to the United States, Australia, France and other countries. Thousands more followed as students, merchants, and to simply start new lives. How have the years changed our sense of who we are, who we have been, and who we can be?
During this time, Little Laos on the Prairie will launch its 2015 #BeLaod campaign to promote historically invisible stories of Lao American journeys in the United States.

Stories of displacement, isolation, identity crisis, reflection, hope and happiness are some of the themes that encompass the depth of the path to an American Dream for the Lao Diaspora. Originals and prints of artwork will be available for sale. All proceeds goes to The Lao Diaspora Project and their collaborators to continue their work. The exhibition ends January 24, 2015. The Vine Arts Center is located at 2637 27th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota. It's  the 2nd level of Ivy Arts Building in the Seward neighborhood.

YELLOWTAIL SASHIMI stage reading in Minneapolis, 1/23

Lao American writer Saymoukda Vongsay has announced that she would love it if you came to the stage-reading of her work in-progress play, YELLOWTAIL SASHIMI. She's really looking to get audience feedback to make it better as she fleshes it out. "Please come January 23 at 7:30pm at the Playwrights Center, but please reserve your tickets! ★★ its free!! ★★"

It's good to see she is actively at work at her next contribution to Speculative Theater to follow up Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals.YELLOWTAIL SASHIMI promises to be another interesting project from her. It's also exciting to see that Mu Performing Arts is providing significant support to Lao American theater to develop on its own terms rather than catering to conventional expectations, especially as the Lao community marks forty years in diaspora this year.

The Playwright’s Center is located at 2301 East Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. It is showing on Friday, January 23 at 7:30pm. YELLOWTAIL SASHIMI by Saymoukda Vongsay is being directed by Scotty Gunderson.

The synopisis is "Three generations of Lao Americans – a grandmother waiting to die, twin sisters (one in love with an asianphile, one struggling to come out), and a buffalo boy with zero effs to give – are connected by folktales and ominous dreams."

This is a work in progress. As those who were following the development of Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals will remember, often a play like this goes through many radical changes between its initial readings and the final production that's considered "stage-worthy."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Laotian American poetry collection Dance Among Elephants available now for pre-sale

Sahtu Press officially announced that pre-sale orders for Krysada Panusith Phounsiri's debut Lao American poetry collection, Dance Among Elephants have now opened. 

Krysada Panusith Phounsiri is a Lao American who "was born in Houay Xai, Laos. He immigrated to the U.S. at age two where he lived in Southeast San Diego. He began writing poetry at age 11, but fell in love with poetry when he attended UC Berkeley."

A multi-talented artist, Krysada Panusith Phounsiri's work has appeared previously in publications such as the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement, Little Laos on the Prairie, Asian American Press, and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s national photo project “A Day In the Life of Asian America”.

Sahtu Press was established in 2013. Their mission is to publish and promote enduring contemporary Lao American literature and to create academic and grassroots learning opportunities. Their first book was the children's book "A Sticky Mess" retelling the story of Xieng Mieng for modern times. They plan to release a follow up to that book soon. "Dance Among Elephants" is their first collection of poetry they are releasing, although they are looking for additional poets to publish in the future.

Sahtu Press acquires, publishes, and markets high quality, imaginative work from emerging and established Lao American writers or those working on issues of interest to the Lao American community.

Dance Among Elephants is normally available for $19.99, but during the pre-sale will be available for $15 plus shipping. You can order here:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Keeping Lao Poetry Weird

Lao American writer Bryan Thao Worra recently noticed that Google Image Search is using boring photos of him in their top results.  For obvious reasons as an award-winning poet with strong connections to horror, fantasy and science fiction, he's taking steps to correct that. Some recent images he posted include shots from Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Ukiah, California. Be sure to help him out if you get a chance.