Moving Perspectives: Shahzia Sikander / Sun Xun
Date: July 18-November 8, 2009, 10 am to 5:30 pm
Categories: Transforming paper and canvas to the video screen
Venue: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Details: Trained in Pakistan and in the United States, Shahzia Sikander (b. 1969, Lahore, Pakistan) deftly reinterprets miniature painting by isolating and abstracting formal compositional elements often found in this densely layered and intricate art form. The dynamism of her paintings is set in motion in her video works, where the repetition of abstract forms becomes a buzzing hive, calligraphy whirls in and out of view, and imaginary curves morph into vivid landscapes. Similarly, Sun Xun (b. 1980, Fuxin, China) creates hundreds of paintings and drawings by using old newspapers or entire blank walls. Filming his hand-drawn images, he transforms clocks, magicians, words, and insects into animated symbols that flicker across the screen in dark allegories on the nature of historical consciousness and the passage of time.
You Don’t Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story (2009 DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival)
Date: Saturday, October 10, 2009, 2 pm
Venue: Freer Gallery
Event Location: Meyer Auditorium
Cost: Free; first come, first served
Details: Featuring rare footage and interviews with co-stars and friends, including actors George Takei, Nancy Kwan, and Max Gail, comedians Steve Landesberg and Gary Austin, and producer Hal Kanter, this film by Jeff Adachi traces Jack Soo’s early beginnings as a nightclub singer and comedian to his breakthrough role as Sammy Fong in Rogers and Hammerstein’s Broadway play and the film version of The Flower Drum Song. The film also explores why Soo, a former internee who was actually born Goro Suzuki, was forced to change his name in the post-WWII era in order to perform in clubs in the Midwest. Due to his experiences, Soo refused to play film and television roles that were demeaning to Asian Americans, and he often spoke out against negative ethnic portrayals. United States / 2009 / 60 min. / English / video
Three things I didn’t know about Jack, among others: one, first Asian to be cast as a regular in a TV series; two, first non-African American to be signed to Motown Records, and; three, first male artist to record "For Once in My Life".
Below is a video clip of filmmaker Jeff Adachi: