Wednesday, August 16, 2017

FAWK Clapback At Microaggression Workshops a success

Congratulations to the Funny Asian Women Kollective who successfully convened their August workshop, The Clapback. A two-day workshop (2 hours per day) it introduced SEA/APIA refugee women to the idea of using comedy to combat or “clap back” at microaggressive behaviors.

FAWK and local artists have been facilitating participatory workshops on America’s complex history with race, social justice, empowerment, comedy, writing and performance. Participants can attend both days of the workshop or just one of the days.

Lead Artists for this project are Saymoukda Vongsay, May Lee-Yang, and Naomi Ko with Guest Artists. In this case, Heather Meyer was the guest artist, and she is a comedy writer, playwright and performer, creator of the yearly sketch comedy game show Women’s History Month: The Historical Comedybration, has taught improv and satirical sketch comedy writing with the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre and Steppingstone Theatre for Youth. She’s studied improv and comedy writing at the Brave New Workshop and The Second City: Chicago.

This workshop is made possible with generous support from Solidarity MN and their partners Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center and Pathway Learning Center.

I passed by to also show Saymoukda this year's proclamation for Lao American Artists Heritage Month:

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cthulhu Wars: Onslaught 3 Kickstarter wrapping up soon

In case you haven't been following along, Petersen Games' Cthulhu Wars: Onslaught 3 kickstarter is winding down this weekend for what is likely to be one of the last expansions for a while as they prepare their next games.

As a De Vermis Mysteris backer from the original kickstarter back in 2013, it's been a delight and occasional pain to watch as Sandy Petersen brought his vision forward. He was one of the original creators of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, which was a deep influence on me as a teenager and how I understood the work of H.P. Lovecraft and other writers of Weird literature. The end result with Cthulhu Wars more than justified the wait, and with his expansion, Onslaught 2, he proved they learned from the first kickstarter. I have no doubt that Onslaught 3 will be delivered even more efficiently now that we all understand the shipping and production process. I've often remarked that Cthulhu Wars is the boardgame I feel like I've waited my lifetime for, or at least some 30 years.

Thankfully, Petersen Games has been very committed to giving us a lot of bang for our bucks, from additional and variant miniatures, alternate rules, upgraded game materials and the like. The miniatures themselves are also very dynamic and transferable to other games if you so chose. If you're a gamer who lives the worlds of the Cthulhu Mythos and role-playing, I think it's very easy to make back your investment in terms of overall enjoyment and excitement.

Onslaught 3 has a somewhat different visual look for some of the pieces and people will either love or hate the takes on a few models. But in a nutshell we'll be adding a new faction, The Ancients with a bit of a steampunk vibe and their allies the Yothans. You'll also have a new map depicting the doomed world of Shaggai.

The Masks of Nyarlathotep expansion bring some great models of classic aspects of this fearsome entity including the Haunter of the Dark, the Shadow Pharaoh, the Bloated Woman, and the Dark Demon. Beyond Space and Time brings you a Hound of Tindalos, Wamps and the Vooniths, who will all be fun to add to many games. We also have an unexpected sculpt of Nodens, the Lord of the Abyss. All of the factions will also be getting new unique acolyte sculpts (although the classic acolytes still deserve a lot of love, in my opinion) and there are new sculpts of Azathoth and Cthulhu that will be available. Your mileage will vary on the new mid-Apocalypse investigators that are being added in to the game, but they will also give you a good preview of an upcoming project Petersen Games is working on.

As of this writing, there's a little over a day left for the kickstarter, but only a handful of stretch goals left to unlock. This kickstarter definitely has my strongest recommendation at this point. While I was initially debating if I needed this set, it quickly became clear this will be a must-have for Cthulhu Wars enthusiasts and fans of horror and fantasy games. One of the strengths of this game is that it can be played in a beer and pretzels style, but you can also make it very complex without going into Axis and Allies or Diplomacy territory. Check it out.

Kou Vang's Portraits of Hmong Women now available

In my work with helping the Hmong Paj Ntaub Voice Literary Journal and the Hmong American Institute for Learning in the 2000s I had the privilege to see many of the first pieces of Kou Vang's work to document refugee women rebuilding their lives in the US in the aftermath of the Secret War for Laos.

Considering that the Hmong did not have a written language until the 1950s and a creative literary and visual arts tradition was not really possible until the late 1980s, I'm delighted to see her work finally becoming available for the community and wish her much continued success. Check her work out when you can, available now as Portraits of Hmong Women, currently available as a 113-page e-book on Kindle, but a print edition is forthcoming.

Friday, August 11, 2017

National Lao-American Artist Heritage Month 2017!

A big thanks to all of you who've helped us to make this possible over the years! This month we celebrate many wonderful Lao-American artist anniversaries, gatherings, birthdays and other celebratory occasions. What are some of the ways you'll be celebrating in your community?