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?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Recipes for Change with Catzie Vilayphonh: September 21st


Mark your calendars to join multimedia artist Catzie Vilayphonh for a special evening of food and storytelling. This program, presented in partnership with the Office of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and The Philadelphia Commission for Women, is part of Welcoming Week.

Welcoming Week is an annual series of events where communities bring together immigrants, refugees, and native-born residents to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone.

The event will be held at the Free Library of Philadelphia Culinary Literacy Center at 1901 Vine St, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Participants will sample mieng, a Lao lettuce wrap made from savory sticky rice, and hear the story of a trickster who uses mieng to teach an important lesson. This program also includes opportunities for conversation about life in Philadelphia and the unique challenges and triumphs immigrants and refugees who identify as women face and how we can foster a better community as a city.

Catzie Vilayphonh is an award-winning writer and spoken word poet. Through her work, she provides an awareness not often heard, drawing from personal narrative. A child of Laotian refugees, Catzie was born in camp, on the way to America, and thus considers herself part of the ".5 Generation".

Tickets are $5 per person and preregistration is required via Eventbrite. Limited free admission for participants who are SNAP eligible. Please call 215-686-5323 or email kitchen@freelibrary.org to inquire about registering free of charge.

Legacies of War: Mental Health in Laos


Legacies of War recently shared a letter from Dr. Manivone Thikeo on her perspective regarding the state of mental health in Laos. She is one of only two psychologists working in Laos today, and it's definitely worth reading about her experiences to understand the roots and continued need for expanded services and opportunities for treatment in Laos, especially among victims of UXO.

Hmong American horror comes to Minnesota: August 11th

Coming August 11th to the Twin Cities: Bedeviled, a Hmong American horror film by Burlee Vang and Abel Vang.

The brothers hold the distinction of being the first Hmong Americans to ever receive a Nichols Fellows from the Academy of Arts and Sciences (those Oscar folks). This ought to be a very interesting screening! The Pioneer Press has a nice article about their journey. The movie will run until August 17th.

Clear your schedules and see you there, folks!


Politico Magazine: When a Candidate Conspired With a Foreign Power to Win An Election


Politico Magazine has a fascinating article confirming a long-held suspicion about Nixon and Southeast Asia. Based on new notes examined by historians, it concludes that then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon interfered with Vietnamese peace talks President Johnson was arranging to bring an end to the war. It's worth a read, and considering some of the bigger issues in question in connection to today's contemporary politics. What we accept, and what we will not. I think it really increases the importance for Southeast Asian Americans to re-examine our collective and shared history, going forward.

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay Poetry and Soul Lao coming August 25


Lao American poet Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is partnering with COOK ST PAUL and SOUL LAO for a night of story sharing and specialty dishes inspired by Payne Avenue. Join us on August 25th 5pm-9pm at COOK ST PAUL! This event is part of the East Side Arts Council's Payne Avenue Poet project.

Also be sure to check out her broadside release party on September 1st for the St. Paul Almanac's Impressions project, where her poem will appear with illustrations by Koua Yang at Twin Cities light rail stations:


Lao elephants in the news

CNN recently highlighted the MandaLao elephant preserve in Luang Prabang, which couldn't come at a more timely moment considering the contrasting reports that elephants in Laos are being sold for as little as $2,500 to foreign interests at an alarming rate. Once known as the Kingdom of a Million Elephants, we may very well see the last elephants of Laos disappear in our lifetime.


Lao tank crew to compete in International Army Games


The Laotian Times is reporting that a Lao tank crew will be among the competitors in the International Army Games this year that's being hosted by China and Russia. They'll be driving a T-72B3 Battle Tank. Their first match will be against Uganda, Angola, and Tajikistan. Semi-final races will take place from 8-10 August, with the four finalists to compete on the closing day, August 12.

It looks like the event will be quite a spectacle. Alas, no word yet on the names of the particular crewmen who will be competing this year for Laos.

Using a three-man crew, the T-72B3 is a Russian tank, updating the classic T-72 with a "new engine, new gunners sight, new fire control system and have some other improvements," according to Military Today. It can reach a top speed of 70km/hour or 43 mph. For comparison's sake, the US M1 Abrams can reach speeds of approximately 72km/hour or 45mph. Some tanks have been able to reach close to 60 or 70 mph, for short periods of time under the right conditions.

Growing Up Khmer American at Intermedia Arts, 8/9

If you're up for a late-night show at the Minnesota Fringe this year, be sure to check out Peuo Tatyana Tuy's "Growing Up Khmer American" at Intermedia Arts on 2822 Lyndale Avenue S. in Minneapolis.

Peuo will share stories, particularly about growing up in Lowell, MA - killing chickens in the house, going to the ocean to get shellfish (for free), growing up hip-hop and loving rhythm and blues music (also sharing her first break beat/rap poem), her parent's surviving the genocide, and fighting the injustice system. www.PeuoTuy.com


Peuo Tuy is a spoken word poet, writer, motivational speaker, and workshop leader. Her poetry collection, Khmer Girl, is inspired by the traumas of her life, including escaping the killing fields of her native Cambodia and enduring the inequities of life as an immigrant in the United States.

 Peuo’s spoken word performances have been featured in video projects, including “Futurographies: Cambodia-USA-France,” a multi-media exhibition traveling to Cambodia and France in 2016. She was one of the original members of Urbintel's HerStory cast, whose performances were filmed and performed live at East Coast venues from Massachusetts to North Carolina.

She has appeared at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Bowery Poetry Club, Harlem Book Fair, and the New York Foundation for the Arts as well as various junior high schools and high schools.

For people of all ages, she conducts writing and self-empowerment workshops that focus on peace, compassion, and overcoming adversity in difficult times.

Peuo also has worked as a community organizer for CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities/Mekong NYC in New York and for the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL) in California, where she helped Southeast Asians and other immigrants gain equal rights in the public welfare system. She is one of the founding members of the new Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA).

She'll also be performing at Poets and Pints at Sisyphus Brewing, 712 W Ontario Ave, # 100 in Minneapolis on August 16th between 7:00PM-10PM.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Original Godzilla passes away at 88

Aw. Haruo Nakajima, the original Godzilla actor for the series of classic monster movies, died Monday at age 88. As many news outlets have reported, he portrayed Godzilla in the first 12 films. And the very first costume weighed 220 pounds because it was made out of concrete. A wartime shortage meant there was very little rubber available at the time.

Thank you for the legacy of memories, Mr. Nakajima.










The LA Times takes a look at the history of Cambodian jewelry stores


The Los Angeles Times has a recent article on how there came to be so many Khmer jewelry stores in Los Angeles and other parts of the country that shows the connection between the rise of the Khmer Rouge, the Killing Fields and the Cambodian diaspora, as well as a distrust of banks by refugees for many years. Well worth reading to get a sense of the history of the community. It becomes interesting because it feels like there are far fewer Lao jewelry stores out there and yet I know there was a similar initial distrust of banks for many for many years.


Monday, August 07, 2017

Jacqueline Kennedy visits Cambodia, 1967


50 years ago, Jacqueline Kennedy visited Cambodia in November,1967, here seen feeding the royal elephants. Who could have imagined the direction everyone's life would take from then.

Here, you can also read a little bit more about the cocktail created to commemorate her visit, the femme fatale, which is still served in Cambodia, "a mix of crème de fraise des bois, cognac and champagne, topped with a tropical flower."

On The Other Side Of The Eye 10th Anniversary Reading


Just announced: This month I'll be reading at DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis on Wednesday, August 30th from 6:30 to 8:00PM to mark the 10th anniversary of my first full-length book, On The Other Side Of The Eye, which set in motion much of my literary journey.  Copies of my award-winning book DEMONSTRA will be available for sale and autographs, due to On The Other Side Of The Eye presently being out of print.

There will be snacks and refreshments, a poetry reading, and reflections on where Lao American science fiction, fantasy, and horror has gone in the decade since.

DreamHaven was one of the first places where I read selections from On The Other Side Of The Eye in its initial release in 2007, so it seems fitting to gather here once again, 10 years later! DreamHaven has hosted readings from internationally acclaimed writers including Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, Clive Barker, Terry Brooks, William Gibson, Lois McMaster Bujold, Eleanor Arnason, Terry Garey, Samuel Delaney, Andrea Hairston, Catherine Lundoff, Kelly Link, David Schwartz, Kim Harrison, Kelly McCullough, Barth Anderson and many other masters of science fiction, fantasy and horror. DreamHaven Books is located at 2301 E. 38th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Hmong shaman murdered in Minnesota

The Star Tribune covered the murder of Mai Yer Cha in a parking garage in Minneapolis. "Cha was the youngest of nine siblings growing up in Minneapolis, and her family realized early in her life she had a gift for spiritual healing. At around age 22, Cha became a shaman and has healed relatives from across the country who have come to her. Cha “was the kind of person who would be there whenever you needed help,” her sister said." KSTP 5 also had an article on the incident.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Lucifer Nguyen arrested for Mendota Heights murder

The Pioneer Press reported that Lucifer Nguyen was apprehended for a murder in Mendota Heights. I'm not judging folks, but when you're picking names out, Lucifer should probably go in the reject pile in most situations. But apparently, twenty years ago in 1997, Lucifer Vincent Nguyen had his name legally changed from Thanh Hoang Nguyen, according to court records. Well, that wasn't tipping the hand early at all.

2017 Southeast Asian American Studies Conference a success!


Recently I had the honor of serving as one of the featured poets at the 5th Southeast Asian American Studies Conference at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell on July 27-29th. You can read the selection of poems I performed here. These included "The Last War Poem," from Bamboo Among the Oaks, "On A Stairway in Luang Prabang," from Tanon Sai Jai and the 2012 London Summer Games, and "What Is the Southeast Asian American Poem of Tomorrow," from DEMONSTRA, which one the 2014 Book of the Year Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association.

Overall, I hope these poems served as a fitting wrap-up for an intense conference of ideas, memories and opportunities.

I'll have an expanded write-up on the conference at Little Laos on the Prairie soon but for a fast recap, we were joined by hundreds from across the country from all sectors of the community. Scholars, students, elders and youth, artists and community builders from the many different cultures that comprise the Southeast Asian American community today, including Laotians, Hmong, Vietnamese, Khmer, Filipino, Burmese, Bhutanese and many others. You can read a great write-up by Katherine Webster here.


Lowell is home to the second largest Khmer community in the United States. There were many vibrant example of what we might hope other Southeast Asian American communities might yet establish for ourselves in the decades ahead. This year's planning committee included Dr. Ivy K. Ho, Dr. Sue J. Kim, and Dr. Phitsamay S. Uy. The theme this year was "Community Engagement, Research and Policy in Action,"


The opening session clearly established the urgency with which our scholars and community members must collaborate going forward. The Southeast Asian Resource Action Center's Katrina Dizon Mariategue discussed the current priorities of the organization to address challenges in immigration, health, and education that affected all of our communities. Channapha Khamvongsa, the executive director of Legacies of War gave an excellent overview of what we'd achieved together to address the problem of unexploded ordnance leftover in Laos and Southeast Asia over four decades since the end of the wars.  Dr. Khanh T. Dinh gave a presentation on "Coming Together For Southeast Asian American Youth."

Lao American-led workshops and panelists included Little Laos on the Prairie founder Chanida Phaengdara Potter, Saengmany Ratsabout of the University of Minnesota's Immigration History Research Center, Dr. Steve Arounsack of CSU Stanislaus, Rita Phetmixay, Catzie Vilayphonh,  and TeAda Productions' Ova Saopeng, Leilani Chan and Lidet Viravong.


 I was particularly happy to be able to demonstrate the meaning and impact of Southeast Asian American speculative art as part of our post-war reconstruction.

At the heart of my talk was the issue that  many Southeast Asian American communities came into the US as refugees during the rise of science fiction films and literature such as Blade Runner, Alien Nation, Aliens and Star Wars, while also presented with problematic works such as Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon or The Joy Luck Club.

I examined the journeys of acclaimed Southeast Asian American artists such as Jenna Le, Bao Phi, Saymoukda Vongsay, Krysada Panusith Phounsiri, Kulap Vilaysack, Sydney Viengluang, Mattie Do, Burlee Vang, Khaty Xiong, Sayon Syprasoueth, the Cambodian Space Project, and others during the conversation. I wanted our community to consider these efforts to engage in community building and social justice through creative works informed by science fiction, fantasy, and horror to subvert dominant narratives and perceptions of SEAsian American identities, and to address sensitive internal community topics domestically and abroad.


From an artistic perspective, it was clear the traditional dance and music of the Cambodian community was being kept alive and well by the award-winning Angkor Dance Troupe and NEA Heritage Fellow Yary Livan, who is one of the last of his people preserving a unique form of Cambodian ceramics.

This year was also an impressive debut of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association, a new network of talented Khmer writers such as Peuo Tatyana Tuy, author of Khmer Girl; Bunkong Tuon, author of Gruel; and Sokunthary Svay, author of the forthcoming Apsara in New York. Playwrights and performance artists from Flying Orb Productions and Vichet Chum gave detailed discussions on their journeys as artists that were well worth attending.

The next conference will be held in 2020 at CSU East Bay in Oakland, California. I'd start making plans now to attend. You can see more of my pictures from the conference at Flickr.


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Ahan on Spoons: An interview with Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay


Over at the Loft Literary Center recently, Irene Hsu sat down with Lao American writer Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay for an in-depth interview on her work and where she saw Lao American art and culture going in the decades ahead. Be sure to check it out, as well as Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay's exhibit at the Smallest Museum in St. Paul at the Workhorse Coffee Bar.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

SFPA On the Road

One part of this recent shift back to the Midwest that's been a positive part of it all has been meeting many of the new and longtime members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association along the way.This year, that has included:


The Texas chapter of the SFPA, including Deborah Davitt, Holly Lyn-Walrath and Michelle Muenzler were wonderful hosts during Comicpalooza in Houston, showing their wonderful talents as poets to a very supportive crowd.


That weekend, Saba Razvi wasn't able to join us at Comicpalooza, but I did get a chance to connect with her at the Houston Museum of Natural History and had a wonderful time looking at dinosaurs and other toothy denizens of our ancient past.


Ashley Dioses, who will be the editor for our 2017 Halloween poetry page at the SFPA. We had a great coffee and conversation on poetry and many things Weird and otherwise at the Rad Coffee Shop in Upland, where I picked up an awesome mug that lasted all of the way to Minnesota before the Great Old Ones absconded with it as a makeshift offering. Alas, K.A. Opperman was not available at the time to visit, but he was there in spirit.


I also had a chance to visit with Hmong American poet Renee Ya, who serves as the SFPA web designer among other duties for the organization in Palo Alto before I left California.


A good visit was also held earlier with Denise Dumars, Jaymee Goh and Deborah Kolodji during a panel at Los Angeles Harbor College. I also ran into Deborah Flores in Merced during my artist residency there with the UC Merced Center for the Humanities, but didn't get a picture, alas.


Poet Brian Garrison of Parody and a recent Eye to the Telescope guest editor for his issue Robots! in Portland, Oregon. It was a wonderful breakfast with him and his partner and a great stop before the Lao American Writers Summit, where I met SFPA members Krysada Panusith Phounsiri and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, although I didn't have much of a chance for photos with them at the time.


After the Lao American Writers Summit, I was able to connect with poet Jeanine Hall Gailey and her husband at the acclaimed Open Books, a literary emporium dedicated to only poetry. And she provided some delicious cookies for the journey.


By cosmic happenstance, SFPA Membership Director Diane Severson-Mori was passing through Missoula at the same time I was, so naturally we had to connect before she returned to Europe.


Arriving in Minnesota, I had the chance to connect with SFPA Vice-President Sandra J. Lindow, Star*Line Editor F.J. Bergmann, Ruth Berman, and Terry A. Garey. I'll hopefully be connecting with more of you during my time here in the Midwest as things settle down. But my thanks to all of you who've made this travel enjoyable and eye-opening!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Terror of the Batsquatch

In my line of work, you run into many odd and unusual things, and that often comes to a head at science fiction conventions. Among the places where I've consistently encountered this is Diversicon which just recently marked its 25th convening in Saint Paul.

The poet Barbara Jane Reyes has been asking at various points throughout the recent months why do we keep blogs in this day and age. In this instance, I admit it's because I have a feeling I will want to return to the story of the Batsquatch, which is not to be confused with Batman, thanks to a random conversation with Steve Fox and the writer SN Arly as we tried to identify possible SFF mascots for the various states who might be good candidates for the various SFPA chapters. Because that's the sort of conversation that comes up.

I'll add a picture to this post later, but for now some of the salient details to know about the Batsquatch are claims reportedly made in 1994, 2009, 2011, and 2014 in the Pacific Northwest of a large, flying hominid that resembles both a bat and presumably a sasquatch. Comparisons have been made to the Orang Bati and the Ahool of the Southeast Asian regions.

Having just passed through the region, I do feel like I missed out. Hopefully it won't be too long before I get a second chance...


Diversicon 26 Guests of Honor Announced: Charlie Jane Anders and Bryan Thao Worra

There were many highlights of this year's Diversicon 25 at the Best Western Hotel-Bandana Square this July, including the reading of the 2017 Rhysling Award Winners and speculative poetry round-robin, but one of the exciting things to announce is that I will be one of the Guests of Honor in July, 2018 along with acclaimed science fiction author and commentator Charlie Jane Anders

As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association and the 5th anniversary of my award-winning collection DEMONSTRA from Innsmouth Free Press, I'm very excited to be joining her to create a fun and amazing weekend for everyone! #StayTuned #Diversicon26


Charlie Jane Anders
is the author of All the Birds in the Sky, out now. She’s the organizer of the Writers With Drinks reading series, and she was a founding editor of io9, a website about science fiction, science and futurism. Her stories have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Tor.com, Lightspeed, Tin House, ZYZZYVA, and several anthologies. Her novelette “Six Months, Three Days” won a Hugo award.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Thanks, G-Fest!


A kaiju-sized thanks goes out to everyone who came to join me during G-Fest 26, the international Godzilla convention in Illinois this month, where I had the opportunity to present on kaiju in speculative poetry as the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. It was definitely worth the adventure to get there. I even met Godzilla himself, although he's much shorter in person than we're led to believe!

Everyone had a chance to compose some kaiju haikus to add to the fun of the weekend, and I think we made a great case for the future of poetry inspired by Godzilla, King Kong, and many other entities particular to the genre. I appreciate everyone who took the time to be a part of the conversation, and I look forward to upcoming years ahead where we can share new updates on this aspect of the field.

A special thanks goes to J.D. Lees for bringing us together year after year.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

2017 Laodyssey Playlist


So, recently it became necessary to make the transition from California back to the Midwest following a 6-year venture in community building and the arts, among other things. Because it's a bit of a pain searching around for radio stations that play my favorite music, and finding ones who don't repeat the same songs every other hour in horrible rotation, I wound up loading a Samsung tablet with a few to hold me over during the journey, because Manikab's DVD player is currently not working. 

So I have a record, the ones that wound up in the heaviest rotation were the following. Postmodern Jukebox and Puddles Pity Party occupied most of the list during this journey, as did Edith Piaf's "Non Je Ne Regrette Rien," and Tom Waits "I'll Be Gone" and "Hang On St. Cristopher." Jennifer Lawrence singing "The Hanging Tree," and Lana Del Rey's "In the Land of Gods and Monsters" also saw extensive play, along with War's "Gypsy Man," ZZ Top's "La Grange," and the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis. I should have brought along some more Sade.





Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Thanks, CONvergence!


There's still a lot to recover from and to process, but I want to express my thanks to all of the wonderful volunteers who put CONvergence together this year. There were some incredible panels and conversations, art, and costumes on display.


It was good to reconnect with so many professionals and fans throughout the weekend! I'm looking forward to next year's gathering as they mark 25 years of coming together. You can see many of my photos from this year over at Flickr. 


It was wonderful seeing Lao American playwright Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay as a Guest of Honor at this event, and she represented the community well throughout her panels, discussing everything from kung fu zombies to refugee life hacks and Asian folklore. Be sure to visit her at SaymoukdatheRefugenius.com


I was delighted to see SFPA Vice-President Sandra J. Lindow win the very first CONvergence Poetry Slam, and I look forward to seeing many more of these in the years ahead, as there were some fine poets presenting and sharing their work this year.


The panel on Get Out went very well with some great comments and observations made by panelists and audience members alike, even at a late point in the evening. It was clear there were many more points to be made. I appreciate Gregory Parks for bringing us all together for that.

Now the hamster wheel is already starting to spin on what to propose for next year's panels!