Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Carrying On! DisOrient Asian American Festival 5!

DisOrient Asian American Film Festival has found the groove and has grown into its own unique self. Happy Fifth Year!! Something beautiful happens in town when our artists travel here, stay in our homes, become part of community, when the local circle stays unbroken and just gets bigger. Something powerful and real happens when our brothers and sisters, allies join too and our visitors see the full circle -- the whole community which in Eugene is multi-multi. We can't do anything here without each other. It was beautiful then (Nobuko, Frank Chin, Lawson, Chris Ijima, Chop Suey, Janice Mirikitani, Free Cho Sul Lee! Unity, Taiko) and it's beautiful now (Patrick Epino, HP Mendoza, James Horiyuki Liao, Han Tang, Leo Chiang, Dawen, Johnny Le,Tom Huang, Brent Anbe, Marvin Choi, Daniel Kim, Jeraad Virani, Jazmin Jamais with best friend and brother). These long years of Asian invisibility between then and now is lifting and again, it's through ART.

Something beautiful happens when we just stay real and don't try to be LA corporate sponsored, suites for the big wigs. Nothing wrong with that. But if we try to pretend we're LA, everyone gets sick. It's natural and good to accept and be accepted for who we are and do what we do. We come to watch films loudly and with spirit. We come to get excited and have fun. We come to feed the people. We come to hang together and expand the circle bigger. We come to see the human heart in all its complicated ways through the stories of the filmmakers, actors, through the producers who put everything on the line so stories can be told, through film, through the music and songs and be moved. We come together without turning backs on our networks, or alliances, our friendships, our families and extended families for the weekend (too busy) because when the artists go, it's cool they leave behind an inspired movement who went through it together. Anything important is to be shared.

Something beautiful happened when we stayed true to our original vision -- a social justice vision.

I loved it that the filmmakers carried around their dvd's in backpacks, hand made dvd's just for the festival, just like then (books or poetry and history and radical analysis guerilla- printed at universities and sold up and down I-5 to spread the history of our people and the loud VOICES of artists who should never be gagged, sold out of backpacks). We line up to buy the films for the same reason -- to crack things wide open and to be inspired to carry it on, to nourish us until we meet again, to speak the unspoken, to shine light in the dark, to spread the love for our community and for those growing up behind us -- who by the way, are also there, taking tickets and hosting, showing films, both sides of the dance. It was beautiful to see DisOrient find their groove and be appreciated for it. It was beautiful to see that the Festival is about these artists -- both the homegrown filmmakers and musicians and those who travel all up and down I-5 and from all over Amerika and beyond who are making Asian American film and music stronger and a force in the world, who bring their art and stay awhile, and everywhere they go, they ARE the Festival, open hearted, generous, with full backpacks of "necessary supplies" to empty in each city or burg and spread the love.

DisOrient 5 has grown into its Vision, unashamed of self, doing it your own way -- carrying on with purpose, claiming its own place/spirit/time. Small festivals may not be the ones who push the film into the big industry audience, but they do take the films and make a movement.

Filmmakers and musicians, can you hear it? That's your art reverberating, echoing, bouncing back and forth across all lines. Can you feel it? You took art a bit further. You said some truth in your own way, with your own angle which made it memorable -- like a "cheating heart guy" having to eat his shirt for dinner (you have to see it) You made a place safer for kids, safer to love who you love, to walk hand in hand in public, to "come out" to your family (Just like Mom, we all "heart" you, Jaz!), opened up hearts which will lead to marriage equality. That is my faith. You just took the toxic out of the word Gay and made it a regular word: if one can sing it enough times in a minute, you can remember it and it becomes part of your cells. You lit a fire under the next generation and gave them hope that they can be the solution and city council, mayors and even the frigging military machine and "liar liar pants on fire" Presidents are supposed to work for the people. You gave us new young role models and with it gave our youth real options. You blew open our minds about arsenic poisoning. Spread this around the world. You told the dirty secret about how thousands of Guamanians have been cannon fodder for this war, unmasking colonialism and made people feel it through film, music and a story which reaches in and grabs the heart in a way mere words cannot. You soothed some pretty bad wounds and helped us put some humor into it. And, you just helped us lance that boil of hate which popped out of all of us from deep down where high school bullies still hide, recognize it, and then go on to keep on with what needs to be done to stop hate. You made us giggle/laugh out loud and in loving our aunties and our fathers, by loving all the quirky ways we are who we are as APIA's, love ourselves more. Can you feel it? Thank you! (Listening to Dawen's sounds right now!)

Carrying on! Congratulations and thank you, DisOrient 5! Encore!! Gotta' go now and get me some Boba, three at a time.

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"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.