It’s one of those pinch-me-is-this-for-real? moments: today I was sending an email to Joan Chen, yes THAT Joan Chen–the super talented and gorgeous film star and director. I think the first movie I saw her in was The Last Emperor and the most recent was Lust, Caution, much of which was set in Shanghai. Those two mega movies bookend an incredibly interesting career that still has lots of surprises in store. Checking out her filmography on Wikipedia I was delighted to note she starred in an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, set in the lovely (no sarcasm intended) city of Baltimore (“Ball-more” for many natives), near where I grew up. Homicide used to be my favorite TV show so now I will be hunting this episode down. Did you know she also played Josie Packard in David Lynch’s TV series Twin Peaks?
Archive of Posts by Deborah Clearwaters
Deborah Clearwaters is director of education and public programs at the Asian Art Museum.
Sorry to just spin news around, but I did want to make sure our blog readers knew about our Celebration of India event tomorrow and Chronicle writer Tamara Straus did a nice job conveying the spirit of the program, “which starts at 11:15 a.m. and runs until 4:15 p.m., includes tabla lessons led by drumming phenomenon Robin Sukhadia, Indian stories for families, a docent tour of the museum’s South Asian galleries, a Karnatic musical concert led by Mohan Rangan Govindaraj and an Indian classical singing lesson led by Gautam Tejas Ganeshan.
One of the challenges in planning and implementing public programs is making sure we have appropriate images to represent our programs, sometimes a frustrating and time-consuming process. The image being used to promote our upcoming tea program is not correct.
What’s wrong with this picture? The tea programs on Nov. 14 feature presentations by members of the Omotesenke tradition of tea. In the Omotesenke tradition, tea is prepared using many of the same utensils as any other Japanese tea lineage, but the tea is not whisked quite so vigorously as others might (for example the image above, which shows an Urasenke-style bowl of tea). Rather, Omotesenke style tea is blended more gently and has less froth on the top. I searched Google images for a more appropriate picture and I found only a few, such as this one in ceramic artist Cory Lum’s Flickr stream. I will need to be sure to take our own picture of an Omotesenke bowl of tea next week so we can have one readily available for future programs. Or if there are any Omotesenke practitioners out there who have rights to a good image you are willing to let us use, please let me know.
Want to know how to prepare a bowl of tea at home? Come to our workshop on November 14. On that same day you may also attend a tea gathering where you will be served a sweet and bowl of tea at the museum’s tearoom. This is our last tea of 2009 and thus is special in the annual tea calendar. It is a time to reflect on the past year and consider all the things you might like to complete before the new year, people you want to see, and make preparations to ensure that the coming year is a good one.
It is also a time when people use utensils with images of the twelve animals from the Chinese zodiac, such as this bowl with a dragon image. We are in the year of the Ox and are coming up to the year of the Tiger on February 14, 2010. People will have lots of fun bringing out their utensils with tiger motifs in particular since that is the year ahead. Although Japan has adopted the Western calendar and celebrates New Year’s Day on January 1, there are still many traditions that are linked to the Chinese calendar system which is based on the lunar cycle. Here is an article about the tea calendar.
All of us here are thinking of the victims of the natural disasters in the South Pacific this week.
As we prepare for our Filipino American History Month Celebration on Sunday, these disasters will be top of mind for many of our visitors as well. Many of those who were busy preparing their presentations are now focused on relief efforts. We will be acknowledging and sharing information about these efforts on Sunday with attendees.
A colleague forwarded this email from the Center for East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley with information about ways to help, which I want to share with our blog readers. It shares information about relief agencies working in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Earthquake in Indonesia
A powerful earthquake struck West Sumatra, Indonesia on September 30, 2009. Hundreds have been reported killed, with the death toll expected to rise. A number of international agencies and NGOs have started working on relief efforts. If you are interested in donating to earthquake relief, please see the links below. Updates on conditions can be found on these relief organization websites and also through regular news sites. For English-language news from Indonesia, see The Jakarta Post or The Jakarta Globe
Donations to support disaster relief in Indonesia can be directed to the following international organizations, all of which have ongoing programs in Indonesia:
Save The Children
Typhoon in the Philippines
Typhoon Ketsana (or Typhoon Ondoy) slammed into the Philippines on September 26, 2009, killing at least 240 people and affecting more than 1.8 million people. A number of international organizations and NGOs are coordinating support for relief efforts. If you are interested in donating, please see the links below.
Philippine Red Cross
Catholic Relief Services
Philippine Jesuit Foundation
Send checks made out to Philippine Jesuit Foundation, and on the memo line, mark for relief of Typhoon Ondoy Victims. Mail to: Philippine Jesuit Foundation, 236 West 27th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10001.
A friend asked me to help get the word out about an author event on Sept 10. Apparently in the mists of time this author worked at the museum as an intern. (I always try to give shout outs to former colleagues, especially those that went on to write books!) I like the message of finding common ground in this blurb.
Following are program details.
Firoozeh Dumas, Iranian-American author of Funny in Farsi and Laughing Without an Accent will speak at the Commonwealth Club.
With exuberance, warmth and humor, best-selling author Dumas continues to amuse and delight with her personal reflections and stories growing up as a young Iranian in America. Despite language barriers, culture shock and the blending of traditions with her French husband, Dumas found that our commonalities often outweigh our perceived differences.
Location: Commonwealth Club Office, 595 Market Street, San Francisco
When: Sept, 10. 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing
Cost: $12 members, $18 non-members, $7 students (with valid ID)
TO REGISTER: Please visit https://tickets.commonwealthclub.org/open.asp?show=1352 or call the Commonwealth Club 415 597-6705
NEW: Buy the Book: Order Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad, by Firoozeh Dumas, from The Club’s eBay store (link takes you to new site). If you order the book fewer than five business days before the event, it will be available for pick up at the event. If you order more than five business days before the event, the book will be sent to you.
Sponsored by The Bernard Osher Foundation
Taking a teabowl into one’s hands conveys volumes of information that cannot be gleaned by viewing them from behind glass–a sad necessity in museums. Staff, volunteers, and the public have been fortunate to have been able to handle several museum quality teabowls over the past few weeks in the context of the tea-related programming.
Tonight I have the honor of introducing our visiting musical guest from India–sitar artist Smita Nagdev and her tabla accompanyist Debopriyo “Bubai” Sarkar who lives in the Bay Area. The concert starts at 7pm and is free with admission ($5 after 5pm). Please come early and visit the South Asian galleries on the 3rd floor. Whenever I show people that gallery, they always say “Wow, I didn’t know the Asian Art Museum had such wonderful Indian art!”
You can hear a music clip performed by Ms. Nagdev here: