Upcoming Shows - In the Works:

January 29, 2012
Sunday 5-7pm
Latino Theater Company Play Reading
Los Angeles Theater Center
514 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

March 13, 2012
UCLA Asian American Studies 187A
Professor Valerie Matsumoto
"Exploring Ethnic Cultural Arts through Oral History"

March 29, 2012
Thursday 6:30-9:30pm
Break the Silence Open Mic held at
The Manazar Gamboa Community Theater
1323 Gundry Ave. Long Beach, CA, 90813

April 4, 2012
Wednesday 11-1pm
Cal Arts in Valencia
Theater History
Professor Chantal Rodriguez E108

Los Angeles, CA
Produced by TeAda Productions and The Latino Theater Company
May 31 - June 24, 2012
Thursday-Saturday 8pm, Sunday 3pm
General $30|Students/Seniors/Groups: $20
Los Angeles Theater Center
514 S. Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Fall 2012-Portland, OR
Fall 2012-Vermont
Stay tuned for times and locations.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spreading Wings in San Francisco

The great visit to the Bay Area to participate in the 1st Annual banquet for the Center for Lao Studies could not be any better. We had a wonderful time seeing old friends and family and meeting new people. The long drive to share a little piece of Refugee Nation was very worthwhile. We impressed so many people who attended the event from collegiate academics as well as community members that they want more. So look for us to return to the Bay Area in some form or another at the local universities or a Northern California town. The crowd of about 200 or more filled the Women's Building in the Mission District of San Francisco and we had a very successful event to help celebrate, fundraise and dine with CLS supporters. Following are just some highlights:

Day 1.
Driving up along the scenic route of the 101 and PCH from Los Angeles to San Francisco we stopped at several places. One of which is the sand dunes of California at the seaward edge of Santa Maria in a town called Guadalupe. It was one of the locations where Pirates of the Caribbean 3 was filmed.

Day 2.
Our home away from home when we visit the East Bay we stay at Lao central a.k.a. Phoumy and Toni's house in Richmond. They are such wonderful people and pillars of the community. We got to meet an addition to the family: Suriya our first 5 month old Refugee Nation baby modeling the Lao'd and Proud onesie. She is incredibly cute not to mention very amicable with strangers.

Day 3.
Our NEW home away from home is the Center for Lao Studies Headquarters a.k.a. Vinya and Thang's new house in S. San Francisco where the action took place preparing for the CLS event. We were lucky enough to witness the transformation and transition from non-furnished to fully furnished home.

Day 4.
Took a walk to Oyster Point and practice my crane technique to focus before the show. Balance Ova-san...balance...

Day 5.
The 1st Annual Center for Lao Studies Banquet:Spreading Wings brought many people from all over Northern California from San Jose, Sacramento and the Central Valley.

Day 6.
Saying good-bye to NoCal friends and driving home after a long, successful and eventful night. Clouds hover in the sky along I-5 in the Central Valley. We were happy, content and filled with good spirit after such an incredible journey.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

San Francisco Events

Leilani and I have been invited to perform excerpts of Refugee Nation alongside other incredible Lao talent at the Center for Lao Studies' First Annual Banquet:Spreading Wings The fundraiser on September 12, 2009 will highlight two programs of CLS. First is the completion of the Study Abroad in Laos pilot program otherwise known as SAIL, and secondly the launch of the Lao Oral History Archive or LOHA for short. Center for Lao Studies came about three years ago beginning at a conference at the University of Illinois, Dekalb. Without it Refugee Nation and Legacies of War and many other Lao-American organizations, individuals and academics would not have met. Leilani and I will share the stage with songstress Ketsana, dance troups Lao Seri Nattasin, and pageant winner Ms. Asian America Amy Chanthaphavong. So please join us.

I've also been asked to emcee the celebration of Southeast Asian Resource Action Center 30th year in existence. SEARAC serves the interest of Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese Americans through leadership development, capacity building, and community empowerment. Beyond the Mekong will be held on September 26, 2009. It will be quite an honor for me to participate because thirty years ago marks my arrival as a refugee into the United States.

Hope to see some of you readers at either of these events in Northern California.
For more information please click on the links in the blog. Huk peng everyone.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Inner Strength

I'm a pretty open person. I have a giving and kind personality. I'm also a very grounded person...at least right now at this stage of my life. With that said...I am glad for those traits because a few weeks ago I was attacked by a friend. Well, I thought the person was a friend and it really made me sad. Especially, especially because well...the person is Lao. We are a part of the same group of people within the community and in all my years that I have known this person, I always thought...I know them. We are family. Together as 1.5 generation Lao-Americans we've created this "family" and what unifies us is the yearning to grasp our lost history. The yearning to find fulfillment alongside fellows who understand the experiences we've gone through AND are going! Well, unfortunately a different side of the person came out and it really was ugly. This person has a PERSONAL PROBLEM with ME; accusing me of self promotion, egotism and thievery. Riddled with F-bombs and cuss words and filled with emotion this person attacked the work I do, my commitment to the community, and my determination to succeed in a complex industry. My initial response was "You gotta be joking me?!" but after rereading the email I realized the seriousness of this person's emotions. I was flabbergasted. Not only because it was a surprise to know that this person felt this way but also because the person had the audacity to share their thoughts publicly with others on the list! Knowing full well the email was and should have been simply directed at me. So...what did I do? THANK YOU TRAITS! I could have easily flamed the fire and responded back with defensive and accusatory thoughts of my own. But instead...I took a moment to contemplate my response, to which I simply reached out to this person and asked them to consider a dialogue and discussion with me, wherever and whenever. So far...I've not heard a reply.

So...I asked myself WHY? Why in the world? In 5 years after hanging out, sharing stories, eating meals, taking road trips, making new friends, TOGETHER. Where in the world was this litany of pain coming from? Knowing this person and after reading the email again I had an inkling. The hurt was due to the economic hardship, the lack of opportunity and a deep emotional depression. It's a sad state of affairs. I know...I've been in the same boat. I still am. Life is what you make of it. I want you to know that I am here for you when you are ready to connect with me. You've got my info.

Why is it that the LAO community, OUR community, MY community finds it such a challenge to unite and support one another as one solid unit. Well circumstances like these, that's why! The crabs in a bucket mentality, that's why! Jealousy and Envy, that's why! Ego, that's why! We've got to stop this cycle of bashing and beating down on each other. It does us no good as a community. It is better to support, praise, validate, recognize, help one another to move forward and get to the next level. We've got to EDUCATE each other. Young and old. Friends and foe. Mistrust in the community is such a big problem, especially for the generation that has seen the ugliness of humanity in war. Our parents, our grandparents who have a very powerful voice have lost it to fear. Who can you trust? You can't even trust your own family! Well, it's time for us to shift our paradigm. Shift our perspective and be open to dialogue and discussion. Be open to help improve each others lives by coming together and building a new link of trust. We've got too. We need too. United we stand, divided we fall. Lao'd and Proud.