15.2 RepresentASIANS Party Recap2 min read

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Ricepaper’s 15.2 RepresentASIANS party at Rhizome Cafe last Friday was fun times! Tetsuro Shigematsu did a great job emceeing the event and we were fortunate enough to be graced with the vocal and literary talents of Rita Wong, Tara Lee, Ray Hsu, and Chloe Chan. We were also blessed with three artwork contributions for our silent art auction from Lydia Fu, Vanessa Lowe, and (doing double duty as both speaker and artist) Chloe Chan as well as fabulous prizes, the biggest of which was an all-weekend pass to the New Asia Film Festival and memberships to Cinevolution Media Arts Society.

I have to say though, that Ray’s presentation was a highlight of the evening with its use of audience participation and collaboration. For Ray’s presentation, volunteers distributed sheet handouts with lines numbered from 1 to 40. In the meantime, Ray stood beside a screen. With each click, the screen displayed different photos of Ray (taken by talented photographer Ken Bryant), in various poses and facial contortions (you can see no. 1 down below). Each audience member wrote down the first word that he or she thought of after looking at the screen and at the end of the presentation, Ray gathered all the sheets and let us know that he would be making a giant collaborative poem out of all the words that had been gathered tonight. I’m very interested in what the end result will be.

If I had to use one word to describe the evening, I’d say…community? As cheesy as that sounds, it’s true. Degrees of separation were discovered, connections were made, art was collaborated on – you can’t get all this on Facebook. As the evening winded down, there was much laughing, eating, drinking, conversing, and reading of Ricepapers. And speaking of cheese, try the macaroni and cheese at Rhizome Cafe the next time you stop by. Seriously, it’s great – slightly salty; cheesy, but not too cheesy; with just the right amount of toasted bread crumbs on top.

Tetsuro Shigematsu emceeing with grace, style, humour, and pointing fingers.

Poet Rita Wong leaned against a post right before she took the stage (and while Ray Hsu waxed euphoric on her considerable talents).

Tara Lee, academic, food blogger, and poet shares her poetry on her grandparents and their life in South Africa.

Chloe Chan speaking on representations of Asians in her illustrations as well as in the media (watch out Avatar: The Last Airbender).

Ray Hsu presenting a performance slash collaborative poem slash slide show. Watch for this poem in the next Ricepaper issue (possibly)!

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