This week, we’re exploring those connections between art, food, culture, ancestral lands and how they all fuse and fit and make up who we are. And hey, PICA’s Time-Based Art Festival is coming right up! You can check out number of folks we talked to at the fest early next month.
Deconstructing ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ — 0:30
Our point of departure this week is the smash-hit movie “Crazy Rich Asians.” This rom-com set in glitzy Singapore is the first major-studio film in nearly two decades to feature an all-Asian cast. It’s already earned more than $50 million, and just got greenlit for a sequel. “Think Out Loud” producer Samantha Matsumoto has a quick story about who she met amid the opening weekend crowd. There’s been no end of discussion about whether the film gets it right — especially among Asian-American audiences who’ve been waiting for years to see themselves represented onscreen. Portland journalist Melissa Lewis spent some time in Singapore, and had thoughts on who is and isn’t represented in the film’s narrative.
Food is often what connects us to our heritage and for musician Michelle Zauner, aka Japanese Breakfast, it’s how she connects with her mother, who died of cancer a couple of years ago.
In an emotional essay published in the New Yorker, Zauner, who is biracial, writes about how her mom was her access point to the Korean side of her life. Today, strolling through the Asian superstore H Mart, she finds herself emotionally adrift, unable to ask her mother for the most basic advice. OPB’s Samantha Matsumoto spoke with Zauner about her experience writing the essay. Zauner will be back in Oregon and has shows coming up in Portland at the Wonder Ballroom Sept. 27 and in Eugene at WOW Hall Sept. 28.
Setting a Place at Tender Table — 22:12
Tender Table, the storytelling series that explores the relationship between food, family and identity, is back. Poet Stacey Tran created the series as a way for women and nonbinary people of color to come together and tell their stories in a safe, family dinner environment. We spoke with Tran in April about how Tender Table began and what it means for her to create a space for those to share their food and the stories that go with them. Since we recorded the segment, Tran has moved out of state, but she’s making a trip back for another edition of Tender Table on Sept. 15, hosted through PICA’s TBA Festival.
Portland artist Demian DinéYazhi´ is getting ready to perform a work at TBA that has some serious miles on it. They spent the summer traveling the country performing a long prose poem called, “An Infected Sunset.” DinéYazhi´, who was born in Gallup, New Mexico, growing up there and on the Navajo Reservation before moving to Portland. DinéYazhi´’s body of work draws on a fascinating mix of contemporary art and riot grrrl influences to explore queer sexuality, white supremacy, indigenous identity, survival and other issues. Hit the title link to see a video of DinéYazhi´ reading from the work.
Portland hip-hop scene is organic, DIY and community-focused like no other. There’s very little of the glamorized consumption and violence of the big city scenes. Alana Chenevert, aka The Last Artful, Dodgr, has carved out an indelible sound within it. Aaron Scott spoke to her in early 2017 about growing into her voice and how living here made her the rapper she is today. See Dodgr at PICA’s TBA Festival Sept. 15.