SPIRIT: A century of Queer Asian Activism (2013)
ARTIST BIOS + PHOTOS
Ryka Aoki is a writer, performer, and educator who has been honored by the California State Senate for her “extraordinary commitment to free speech and artistic expression, as well as the visibility and well-being of Transgender people.” She is the author of Seasonal Velocities (Trans-Genre Press, 2012). Her chapbook, Sometimes Too Hot the Eye of Heaven Shines (RADAR Publications) won the 2010 Eli Coppola Chapbook Contest. Ryka has as an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and is the recipient of a University Award from the Academy of American Poets. Ryka is a former national judo champion, and is a professor of English at Santa Monica College. www.rykaryka.com
Regie Cabico’s work appears in over 30 anthologies including Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café, Spoken Word Revolution, Chorus & The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. He co-edited Poetry Nation: A North American Anthology of Fusion Poetry and guest editor for Beltway Poetry Quarterly. He has shared the stage with Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg and through Howard Zinn’s Portraits Project at NYU, has performed with Academy Award nominees: Stanley Tucci, Jesse Eisenberg. He received the 2006 Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers for his work teaching at-risk youth at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Other recipients include Arthur Miller, Sharon Olds, Stephen King, Amy Tan & Edward Albee. He is a former Artist In Residence at NYU’s Asian Pacific American Studies Program and has served as faculty at Banff’s Spoken Word Program. With Brittany Fonte, He co-edited an anthology of North American and United Kingdom queer poetry, Flicker and Spark.
Sarah Cargill is an Oakland-based flutist, youth development worker, and community activist aiming to implement socially relevant, culturally competent, and economically accessible avenues to classical music training and live performance within working-class communities of color. She fiercely advocates for queer people of color visibility and leadership in classical music, and is invested in building equitable practices and equal access within professional and academic arenas of the industry. Her primary teachers include Amy Likar, Stacey Pelinka, and Maria Tamburrino. She has performed in master classes led by Carol Wincenc, Robert Stallman, Lisa Ruoho, and Martha Aarons. An avid orchestral flutist, Sarah was actively involved in various orchestral ensembles in the Bay Area including the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, but has been on hiatus to pursue graduate school and other new projects. She is fueled and inspired by her community’s love and resilience, and believes in the power of artistic resistance to create social change.
Celeste Chan creates work born from Queer Diaspora through wit, words, and film. A Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) fellow, she has studied under revolutionary writers, and her films have screened at Vancouver Queer Film Festival, MIX NYC, Queer Women of Color Film Festival, and National Queer Arts Festival, among others. She’s honored to be the co-founder of Queer Rebels. www.celestechan.com and www.queerrebels.com
Erica Cho is a visual artist, animator, writer/director in film, comic book artist, founder of Cho Tarot, and resident of Los Angeles, California. She creates narrative and experimental film/video, installation and drawn and painted comics, having exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Japanese American National Museum, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her stop-motion animation Our Cosmos Our Chaos toured North America and South Korea as part of Still Present Pasts, a multi-disciplinary exhibition on the legacy of the Korean War. Cho’s work has screened in film festivals worldwide such as the London Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Expresión en Corto International Film Festival in San Miguel, and The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. She received her MFA in Studio Art from University of California at Irvine and BFA in Art from Pennsylvania State University, was honored as one of Out Magazine’s Out100 for her remarkable contributions to LGBTQ culture, and has received awards from Creative Capital, The Third Wave Foundation, and the California Community Foundation. Cho was also honored as the Robert Motherwell endowed visual art residency fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts and has collaborated extensively with her local Los Angeles community and youth art organizations such as The Heart Project, Self Help Graphics, and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Youth Arts and Education. She has taught visual art and media studies at Scripps College and Citrus College, and currently teaches Video Production at Bryn Mawr College.
Yvette Choy is a storyteller from Brooklyn, NY. Their latest work, Part-Time Lover, is an interactive pornaoke video remake of Stevie Wonder’s hit single, commissioned by New Sound Karaoke (NY.) Yvette’s films and videos have screened internationally at venues including Outfest (LA), Frameline (SF), Inside/Out (Toronto), CAAM Fest (SF), Visual Communications (LA), MIX (NY), Bildwechsel (Hamburg, Germany), Groupe Intervention Video (Montreal) and the National Queer Arts Festival (SF.) They have also curated and produced several live multi-media events in the Bay area including The Ms. TangTang Show at NQAF (2011), When I Die, I Will Be Dead at Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory (2010) and Spontaneous Combustion! at CounterPULSE and The Garage (2010). Yvette is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Film & Television Program.
Miki Foster is a digital artist, filmmaker and educator. Based in Washington, DC. Working as a social justice, new media and video production educator for the past ten years. Her current artwork weaves audio and video narratives through craftwork and new/old networks of public display. She is the creator of Feminist Craft Corner and the producer/director of the public/web access television show and performance collaborative Jerkwaterburg/Feminist Craft Corner. She completed her MFA in Digital Art/New Media at the University of California Santa Cruz in 2009 and holds a Bachelors Degree from the Evergreen State College.
At the onset of the Iraq War, Stephen Funk became the first public conscientious objector and began speaking out about his experiences as an antiwar gay Asian Marine for several months before he was punished with military prison. Upon returning to the Bay Area, Stephen continued his activism as an honorary founding member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and studied international relations at Stanford. He is founder and artistic director of Veteran Artists [www.veteranartists.org], an organization that builds relationships between the military veterans and arts communities through innovative projects and programs as well as successful productions such as Make Drag, Not War!
Laura Hyunjhee Kim is an interdisciplinary artist who works with video, performance, photography and drawing. Quoting and re-contextualizing references from autobiographical anecdotes, art history, and mass media, Kim embraces the absurdities that surface through the disjuncture in language, text, and gesture. She has had solo exhibitions in Blue Mountain (NY), Madison (WI) and San Francisco (CA) and has been in numerous group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Kim has received her B.S. in Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009 and her M.F.A. from the New Genres Department, San Francisco Art Institute, in 2012. Laura Hyunjhee Kim currently resides and works in San Francisco, California. http://www.lauraonsale.com
So Yung Kim is an Oakland-based femme of color whose writing and activism focus on adoptee of color politics and movement building.
Madeleine Lim is an award-winning filmmaker with over 20 years of experience as a producer, director, cinematographer and editor. Her films couple poignant visuals with contemporary themes: lesbians of color, survivors of domestic violence, and immigrants living in America. Her films have been featured at sold-out theaters at international film festivals around the world, museums, universities and broadcast on PBS. She won the 1997 Award of Excellence from the San Jose Film & Video Commission’s Joey Awards and the 1998 National Educational Media Network Bronze Apple Award. From 2000 to 2003, she was California Arts Council Artist-in-Residence. In 2005, Madeleine received the LGBT Local Hero Award from KQED-TV in recognition of her leadership and her dedicated service to queer women of color. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP).
Mia Nakano is a freelance photographer, videographer, and web-designer based out of Oakland, CA. Her work has been seen in dozens of media outlets including Colorlines, the Kathmandu Post, and Democracy Now!. Nakano has contributed to organizations such as the Smithsonian, Salon.com, and the de Young Museum. She is a seasoned self-taught artist, educator, and lecturer advocating strategic and mindful use of visual arts to create social change. Nakano is currently the Director of the Visibility Project: a national photo and video story collection dedicated to the Queer Asian American Women and Trans* community. She is also a board member of Banteay Srei, the Queer Cultural Center, and the founding Photo Editor of Hyphen magazine. Mia is a proud 4th generation japanese american, queer woman of color, daughter of a single mother, and sister of a deaf adult.
Genevieve Erin O’Brien is a Vietnamese/Irish/American artist, culinary adventurer, community organizer, popular educator, incidental academic and occasional nanny to artists, activists, and academics alike. O’Brien lives and works in Los Angeles and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She holds an MFA in Studio Art/Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. O’Brien was in Vietnam doing research for a new body of artwork as a Fulbright Fellow in 2009 and 2010. O’Brien uses performance, video and installation to explore notions of “home” and “homeland”. As a mixed race child of Vietnamese immigrant mother and an Irish-American father, she investigates issues such as war and memory, transnational identity and belonging, and multiple identities and its attendant baggage. Using food, humor, narrative and conceptual structures, she develops work that is invested in collective healing from trauma, whether personal or inherited to further social justice and cultural understanding. In 2008, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago presented O’Brien’s conceptual performance, Peace Salon as part of the 12×12 series showcasing emerging artists. Her conceptual and durational performances, as well as installations and videos have been presented at galleries and public venues in numerous cities including Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and across the US in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington DC. Her current performance series GEO Home and GEO work, explore the relationships we have to home and labor through food. Called a “modern day Virgil” by the LA Weekly, O’Brien’s one woman shows address hate crimes, homophobia, and violence against women, with sensitivity and humor. As a community activist and popular educator, O’Brien has developed programs for Sisterfire, Southern Californians for Youth, the UCLA Labor Center’s Summer Internship Program, and APALA (Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance). She was a founding member of Arts In Action, a political and cultural arts collective space in the heart of Los Angeles.
Trinity A. Ordona, Ph.D. Trinity studied social movement theory and the history of identity politics and received her doctorate in History of Consciousness from UC Santa Cruz (2000). Trinity has a 40-year history of grass roots activism in people of color and queer communities promoting grass roots organizing strategies in local, national and international arenas. She is co-founder and board member of numerous initiatives and has received several awards including the UCSF Chancellor’s Award for Public Service, Northern California GLBT Historical Society Award for Individual Historic Achievement and the BACW Lesbian of Achievement, Vision and Action Award. She has spoken extensively and taught undergraduate and graduate college courses on history, culture, politics, social movements, sexuality, ethnicity, health and relationships as it relates to women, communities of color and LGBT people. In 2008, Trinity was named among “The 20 Most Influential Lesbian Professors” by Curve Magazine and along with her life partner of 20 years, given the “Phoenix Award” by the Asian/Pacific Islander Queer Women and Transgender Community (APIQWTC) of San Francisco.
2012 Lambda Literary Award Winner and 2011 Pushcart Prize nominee Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled Sri Lankan writer, teacher and cultural worker. The author of Consensual Genocide and Love Cake and co-editor of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities (South End, 2011), her work has appeared in numerous anthologies. She co-founded Mangos With Chili, the national queer and trans people of color performance organization, is a lead artist with Sins Invalid and teaches with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People. In 2010 she was named one of the Feminist Press’ “40 Feminists Under 40 Who Are Shaping the Future.” Her one-woman show, Grown Woman Show, has toured nationally, including performances at the National Queer Arts Festival, Swarthmore College, Yale University, Reed College and McGill University. She has taught, performed and lectured across the country, including appearances at Columbia, Oberlin, Texas A&M, Sarah Lawrence, Swarthmore, UC Berkeley, USC, and the University of Toronto. She co-founded Toronto’s Asian Arts Freedom School. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College, focusing on creative nonfiction and community-based teaching by writers of color.
Jai Arun Ravine is a text-based artist working in film/video, movement and performance. They are the author of a book of experimental poetics, AND THEN ENTWINE (Tinfish Press, 2011) and the creator of a short film on Thai trans-masculinities, TOM/TRANS/THAI (2011). Learn more at www.jaiarunravine.wordpress.com.
Margaret Rhee is a poet and doctoral candidate in Ethnic Studies and New Media Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include posthumanism and race, Asian American cultural critique, Korean Diaspora, feminist digital pedagogy, contemporary poetry, and queer theory. As a feminist scholar, her dissertation project centers on the Asian American body and posthumanism theory.
Born and raised in San Francisco to Pilipino immigrant parents of the “Brain Drain” generation, Tonilyn Sideco is a proud Pin@y booty shaking genderqueer love warrior dedicated to inspiring systemic social change through music, theater & filmmaking. Her love of song began in the church choir in kindergarten. Since then, Toni has appeared in readings, plays, musicals and short films. His music has been featured most recently at House of Music in Oakland, Dolores Park Cafe, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and TransMarch SF. Toni currently works with the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project as the lead filmmaking workshop instructor and is an actor with Bindlestiff Studio, a Pilipino performing arts space and theater in San Francisco.
Amy Sueyoshi is the Associate Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. She holds a Ph.D. in history from UCLA and has published on topics such as cross-dressing, marriage equality, and pornography. She is the author of Queer Compulsions, which traces the same-sex, and interracial affairs of immigrant poet Yone Noguchi, better known as the father of acclaimed artist Isamu Noguchi. She is one of founding curators of the GLBT History Museum, the first of its kind in the nation. Amy also began a scholarship program for API queer women and transgender student activists now in its fourth cycle. She is currently facilitating a historical preservation project for API lesbian and transgender activists who were involved in the first generation of out queer API activism in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Tina Takemoto is an award-winning filmmaker, artist, and visual studies professor at California College of the Arts whose work explores issues of race, queer identity, memory, and grief. Her current artwork and research explore the LGBT experience of the Japanese American Incarceration Camps during World War II. She has received grants funded by Art Matters, Andy Warhol Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and San Francisco Arts Commission. Her work has been presented at Asian Art Museum, Oceanside Museum of Art, GLBT History Museum, New Conservatory Theatre, Sabina Lee Gallery, SF Camerawork, SOMArts, and SFMOMA. Her film Looking for Jiro received the Jury Award for Best Experimental Film at Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and has been featured at Ann Arbor Film Festival, Frameline San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, MIX Milano Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, MIX New York Queer Experimental Film Festival, and San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. She is also board president of Queer Cultural Center and co-founder of Queer Conversations on Culture and the Arts. www.ttakemoto.com
Vũ T. Thu Hà is a bay area interdisciplinary artist working primarily in film, photography and conceptual art/mixed media. Since showing her very first photographs at the unforgettable Bearded Lady in the Mission District in 1999, she has also shown work within solo and group exhibitions at places such as the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and ProArts Gallery in Oakland, SomArts Gallery and Cellspace in San Francisco, Works Gallery in San Jose, Nguoi Viet Gallery in Westminster. Her films and film installations have screened and exhibited within Queer, Asian and experimental film festival circuits and art exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Each Night (2001), is an experimental short film shot on super-8 and hand-processed late at night in a haunted photo dark room. Her 16mm film you will see tonight, Shut Up White Boy (2002), is a result of a collaborative film project and Celeste’s first queer Asian Film she ever laid her eyes on.
Manish Vaidya coordinates Peacock Rebellion, a crew of artists, cultural workers and healers who make sassy, snarky, sexy QPOC-centered art for culture shift toward collective liberation. Cruise at www.facebook.com/peacockrebellion