On Friday, September 13, the Japanese American National Museum threw an opening party to welcome our newest exhibition, I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story. Created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, I Want the Wide American Earth explores the rich, and deep-rooted history of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States.
This event was open to the public and attracted hundreds of visitors, including locals, and travelers from different states. Free food from Aloha Cafe and drinks from Ito-en and the Mighty Boba Truck were served throughout the reception, while exciting performances filled the evening.
From previews of Our American Voice in the exhibition gallery presented in partnership with East West Players, to powerful numbers by YouTube stars, DANakaDAN + Crew Love, to the comical performances of The Fung Brothers, it was an evening of enlightenment, reflection, and entertainment.
The evening began by celebrating the opening of an exhibition, but it soon became a night to celebrate the history, accomplishments, and the exciting future of Asian Pacific Americans.
Check out these pictures from the opening party! (Click on the photos to see them larger)
Photos by: Tsuneo Takasugi, Richard Watanabe, and Richard Murakami.
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If you haven’t seen I Want the Wide American Earth yet, stop by the museum to view the exhibition before it closes on October 27th. If you didn’t get a chance to watch Our American Voice, East West Players will be performing every Saturday at 1:00PM throughout the run of the exhibition. For more information on the exhibition: janm.org/wide-american-earth
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Marvels & Monsters opening next week!
Don’t miss our next exhibition opening event! Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 will be at JANM from October 12, 2013 – February 9, 2014, but we’ll be celebrating early on Thursday, October 10 from 6PM – 9:30PM.
Traveling to JANM from the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, Marvels & Monsters will illustrate how evolving racial and cultural archetypes defined America’s perceptions of Asians through a selection of images from comic books representing four turbulent decades.
This preview reception will be hosted by the JANM Young Professionals Network and is free and open to the public! Get a sneak peek at the exhibition and check out readings of the winning short scenes from the “Marvels & Monsters: Unbound” Showcase!
We were delighted to receive so many submissions to the “Marvels & Monsters: Unbound” showcase competition, and thank all the talented and imaginative artists and authors who sent us entries.
It was a challenge to pick the ones that were ideal for the showcase, but here they are!
Robert Allison, “Overwrite” Mark Brown, “Evil Is a Yellow Face” Carin Chea, “The Jumper” Joey Damiano, “The Audition” Raymond Hui, “X Wings of Defeat” Deanna Myers, “Cute Asian Girl”
and Maritess Zurbano, who submitted two winning entries, whose titles are yet to be determined!
Join JANM’s Young Professionals Network on October 10 for the Showcase, featuring staged readings of all eight winning entries and a Q&A with the winners, moderated by MARVELS & MONSTERS curator Jeff Yang—and get a sneak preview of the MARVELS & MONSTERS exhibition itself.
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Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986
October 12, 2013 – February 9, 2014
Through a selection of images from comic books representing four turbulent decades, Marvels & Monsters illustrates how evolving racial and cultural archetypes defined America’s perceptions of Asians.
Marvels & Monsters Preview Reception
Thursday, October 10, 2013
6 PM – 9:30 PM
Join us for the Showcase, a special preview of the exhibition, and reception to celebrate the opening of the Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 exhibition. Hosted by the JANM Young Professionals Network. To RSVP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 213.625.0414, ext. 2222.
Jeff Yang, well known for his “Tao Jones” column in the Wall Street Journal, is the former “Asian Pop” columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle and publisher of A. Magazine. He began reading and collecting comics at the age of eight, and hasn’t allowed distractions like adulthood, marriage, and fatherhood to deter him since. He’s even made comics a part of his professional life with the seminal graphic novel collection Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology and its follow-up Secret Identities: Volume 2 Shattered.
Join us for this unforgettable Members Gallery Talk.
Members Gallery Talk
Thursday, October 10th • 5:30 PM JANM Members Only
Intimate gallery tour with curator Jeff Yang.
Thursday, October 10th • 6PM – 9:30PM FREE & open to the public!
Join us for a special preview of Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942 – 1986. Hosted by the JANM Young Professionals Network.
If you’re not a current JANM member, join/renew now! In addition to special opportunities like this, members also receive free admission and discounts at our award-winning Museum Store and on workshops and tours. Your support enables us to continue to present exhibitions, public programs, educational workshops and tours, and much more!
Write an original monologue or short performance piece for a chance to be included in JANM’s October 10 “MARVELS & MONSTERS” SHOWCASE!
Throughout our nation’s history, Asians have been depicted as a set of distorted archetypes—the eternal foreigner, the sexless nerd, the brutal thug, the mystical wise man, the suicidal fanatic, the perpetual victim, the exotic seductress, and the conniving mastermind.
Now we’re looking for you to help shatter those images—with short original works of your own.
To commemorate the Japanese American National Museum’s West Coast premiere of MARVELS & MONSTERS: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986, we’re looking for you to submit monologues or short performance works that rethink, subvert, deconstruct, or satirize the eight Asian pop-culture archetypes depicted in this exhibition, which draws from science fiction author William F. Wu’s extensive collection of comic books featuring Asian and Asian American characters—widely considered to be the largest in the world.
The archetypes are:
THE ALIEN: The perpetual foreigner; the enigmatic, inscrutable, unassimilable outsider in our midst. His customs are peculiar, his beliefs heathen, his agenda secret; never fully understood, and so never fully trusted, he is best regarded from a distance with a mix of curiosity, revulsion and fear.
THE BRAIN: The hyperintelligent mind without a body; sexless, heartless, friendless, a self-hating prodigy more comfortable interacting with machines than people. The math nerd and mad scientist, the otaku and outcast: He may rule the world, but will he ever get the girl?
THE BRUTE: The gangster, the thug, the minion, the martial arts master—the Brute may be a staggering physical specimen, but he is a nameless and voiceless one; his is not to wonder why—his is merely to do, and more often than not, die, without complaint or commemoration. Stoic in his suffering, silent in his rage, he is infinitely interchangeable, eternally anonymous, limited in language to gestures of deference and the vocabulary of violence.
THE GURU: The mystical wise one, whose inscrutable ways disguise the ancient, awesome truths he holds within his soul. Aged and wizened, he speaks in vague riddles and impenetrable allegories, appearing at first glance to be mad, senescent, or both. Yet to the right individual, the apprentice who is destined to inherit the Guru’s secrets, he is a gatekeeper to limitless power.
THE KAMIKAZE: Human missiles screaming a lingering cry of “Banzai!!!!” as they plummet toward enemy forces; insurgents wired with explosives, eager to martyr themselves to earn vengeance and a reward in Heaven; nameless soldiers scrambling over the corpses of their fellows only to be mowed down in turn. The Kamikaze has many faces, but all are mindlessly self-sacrificing, zealously loyal, feverishly patriotic, and utterly dismissive of the value of human life.
THE LOTUS BLOSSOM: The long-suffering wife, the left-behind lover; the hostage, the victim, the betrayed and forgotten. The Lotus Blossom is patient in her doomed love and passive to her predestined fate—which is to be abused, abased, exploited, and ultimately destroyed by or sacrificed for the man she loves and serves.
THE TEMPTRESS: The exotic seductress, who uses her feminine wiles and sexual prowess to enthrall and ultimately, betray—lush of body, false of heart, her mocking laughter and the sharp rake of her clawed fingers may well be the last thing you’ll ever experience.
THE MANIPULATOR: The evil controller, the shadowy mastermind, the megalomaniacal puppeteer seeking conquest through nefarious intrigue; brilliant, yes, but twisted by an insatiable lust for wealth, power, and control—hoping, perhaps, that world domination might fill the dark and hollow void of his soul.
Eight winning pieces will be selected by a jury that includes exhibition curator Jeff Yang; winning authors will receive widespread public acclaim and admiration, a $100 honorarium, and the opportunity to present their pieces as staged readings at JANM’s “Marvels & Monsters: Unbound” Short Works Showcase on October 10, 2013.
Unleash your creative potential. Submit your entries today!
Entries must be emailed to email@example.com as file attachments (.DOC, .TXT, or .RTF filetypes accepted; email above if alternate filetype is preferred). You will receive an emailed confirmation of your submission.
1. Entries must be received by no later than 5PM PT on September 15, 2013 to be considered. Winners will be notified by 5PM PT on September 18.
2. The competition is open to all individuals, amateur or professional.
3. Entries should be no more than five minutes long in total.
4. All types and genres of work that can be performed live are eligible, including musical and solo performance pieces. Any instruments, props, or media utilized in a presentation must be provided by and are the sole responsibility of the submitter.
5. Works will be judged on their originality and quality, as well as their complementarity with other selected works and their relevance to the ideas and images depicted in the exhibition.
6. Winning submitters will be responsible for casting, staging, and directing their own presentations. JANM will provide space for one dress rehearsal before the showcase.
7. Authors retain all rights to their submissions. However, by submitting, authors agree to present their work at JANM on October 10, and to allow presentations to be taped for possible inclusion in the Marvels & Monsters exhibition and in documentary and video materials related to the exhibition.
With Comic-Con long over and summer superhero movie season coming to an end, are you looking for another pop culture fix? If so, search no more—Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 opens October 12, 2013 at JANM!
Through a selection of images from comic books representing four turbulent decades, Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 assembles a team of xenophobic archetypes to illustrate the roots of Asian misrepresentation in pop culture. Curated by Jeff Yang, Marvels & Monsters places these genre-spanning archetypes—the Guru, the Brain, the Temptress, the Manipulator, the Alien, the Kamikaze, the Brute, and the Lotus Blossom—into a historical framework and then follows up with a discourse between current Asian American creators.
View the most striking examples of these archetypes alongside contemporary Asian American graphic novels and interactive installations through February 9, 2014. This exhibition is a collaboration between the A/P/A Institute at NYU and the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections.
Don’t miss out on two FREE events to mark the opening of Marvels & Monsters!
Thursday, October 10th • 6PM – 9:30PM FREE & open to the public!
Join us for a special preview of Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics with curator Jeff Yang. Hosted by the JANM Young Professionals Network.
Target FREE Family Saturdays: Zap! Pow! Bam!
Saturday, October 12th • 11AM – 4PM Free all day!
Celebrate the opening of Marvels & Monsters at our comics-themed Target Day. Check janm.org/target for the schedule.
A Conversation with Lela Lee
Saturday, October 19th • 2PM
Lela Lee, author and artist of the comic book series Angry Little Girls will discuss her comics and their impact on Asian Americans and beyond. There will be an exclusive, members-only Meet & Greet with Lela at 1PM—stay tuned for details!
For all of our fans who headed down to Comic-Con today—once you’ve stopped by Stan Sakai’s booth (#4906) and gotten a sketch, we have a few more recommendations to check out:
Our longtime friends at Giant Robot are selling Tru Protection iPhone 4 and 5 phone cases featuring their robotic mascot! These fun cases are locally made and recyclable—and better yet, a portion of the proceeds are donated to JANM! Stop by booth #1729 and make your phone the envy of them all.
And for the first time ever, Hello Kitty is debuting at Comic-Con! Sanrio will offer a pop-up shop, nail art, and an interactive experience based on Alice in Wonderland, located at Comic-Con’s Interactive Zone.
Speaking of Hello Kitty and comic books, JANM has two upcoming pop culture exhibits that are sure to pique your interest:
Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 officially opens on October 12—but we know you’ll join us for the opening party on Thursday, October 10 too! Marvels & Monsters illustrates how racist comic book archetypes affected the way Americans viewed Asians. For more information, pick up a postcard at Stan’s booth.
Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty will open in October 2014, just in time for her 40th anniversary. As you’ve probably guessed, Hello! will look back on four decades of Hello Kitty’s influence on art and culture. Stay posted for more info!