Showcasing new work, Take Out captures the freshness of contemporary expressive culture in queer Asian Pacific America. It brings together established and emerging artists to define their personal and collective vision as gays and lesbians. The visual, literary and performance works in this anthology probe a variety of topics -- inter-generational relationships, domesticity, pop culture, camp, Hollywood, fairy tales, and Asia. Take Out resists summary just as its contributors refuse limits on their artistic expression and attempts to objectify them as people.
"A brilliant play of ideas... a visionary work that bridges the history and culture of two worlds."--Frank Rich, New York TimesBased on a true story that stunned the world, and inspired by Giacomo Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly, M. Butterfly was an immediate sensation when it premiered in 1988. It opens in the cramped prison cell where diplomat Rene Gallimard is being held captive by the French government--and by his own illusions. He recalls a time when Song Liling, the beautiful Chinese diva, touched him with a love as vivid, as seductive--and as elusive--as a butterfly.
How could he have known that his true love was, in fact, a spy for the Chinese government--and a man disguised as a woman? The diplomat relives the twenty-year affair from the temptation to the seduction, from its consummation to the scandal that ultimately consumed them both.
M. Butterfly is one of the most compelling, explosive, and slyly humorous dramas ever to light the Broadway stage, a work of unrivaled brilliance, illuminating the conflict between men and women, the differences between East and West, racial stereotypes--and the shadows we cast around our most cherished illusions.
As the daughter of a Chinese-American mother and a Norwegian father, Paisley Rekdal grew up wondering where she fit in. The essays in this, her shimmering nonfiction debut, tackle thorny issues--race and identity politics, interracial desire, what it means to be a "hyphenated American"--with a fresh, feisty, and very funny new perspective.
Rekdal's family history is, as she describes it, "complicated and vaguely dangerous," and at the center of this strange world is her mother--a smart, stubborn, complex woman who adores her daughter. Rekdal exposes the foibles of family, friends, and lovers, but never spares herself, capturing both global and personal struggles with a critical, compassionate and humorous lens. The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee flows effortlessly from stunning cultural observation to a recollection of an embarrassing travel anecdote. Her destinations vary widely--a classroom in South Korea, a Japanese family's living room, Main Street in Natchez, Mississippi, a Taipei shopping mall, a beach in the Philippines, and even her own bedroom. In each, she explores the vast differences between cultures, the feeling of being an outsider, the constant battle to understand and be understood.
UNFINISHED MESSAGE includes fifteen stories, a novella, correspondence, and an interview with Toshio Mori. Some of this material has never before been published. Toshio Mori's well-crafted, humorous, wise tales celebrate the Japanese American community he knew so well and reach beyond it to describe the essential human condition. As William Saroyan, who championed his work, once wrote: [Toshio Mori] can see through the material image to the real thing; through a human being to the strange, comical, melancholy truth that changes a fool to a great solemn hero. With the Eye he has also the Heart. The fine heart of a true writer.
Set in the 1970s, in the era of the Vietnam War and its volatile aftermath, Land of Smiles tells the story of a young Southeast Asian man's journey from a refugee camp in Thailand to a housing project in Oakland, California.The novel opens with a Laotian boy, Boontakone, who swims across the Mekong River, leaving his old life behind, and losing his mother and sister in the process. In a refugee camp in Thailand, Boontakone struggles to decipher the secret codes of his new life. In this passage, T. C. Huo offers a glimpse into a world as highly ordered and dependent on proper observance of social customs and manners as any created by Jane Austen. Eventually Boontakone and his father make their way to America, where the young man will have to sort out impressions as dazzling and puzzling as the American high school, "Superman," and Saturday Night Fever. Balancing a moving account of dislocation and loss with gentle comedy, Land of Smiles is a new classic in the literature of the immigrant experience.
Winner of the Centennial Literary Prize in 1998, My Sad Republic is a story of love, obsession and loss, set against the epic background of the Philippine revolution against Spain and the Filipino-American War. loosely based on the life of a faith healer who declared a schism from the oppressive Spanish government and proclaimed himself the Pope of the republic, the novel includes a memorable cast of characters: Tomas Agustin, whose ambition to rise in society compels him to fight his own people; Isio, the folk hero who becomes his lifelong nemesis; Asuncion, the woman for whose affestion the two men wage a brutal war; and her son Felipe, who tragically attempts to unite his family and country. Gamalinda takes us to a world of relentless savagery and eerie beauty, seen through the eyes not of victorious colonizers but of the vanquished people who lived through it: people portrayed with humor, sensuality, intelligence and dignity
A collection need yield only one really great story to be, itself, great, and Peter Ho Davies's Equal Love offers such a story--the deceptively low-key "Cakes of Baby." A couple--he's Indian, she's white--spend Thanksgiving with the wife's family. Nothing much happens. The husband, Sam, plays with a toddler, the wife, Laura, argues with her sister. But Davies uses the short-story writer's most hackneyed milieu--the holiday get-together--to tell a thoroughly fresh tale about class.
Ephemeral lives, and souls lost in the tattered fabric of war, displacement, and ruined love find hope, redemption, and a common voice in Eugene Gloria's artful concoction of American and Filipino vernaculars. While some of these thirty poems deal with the landscape and folkways of contemporary Filipinos, others locate themselves on the streets and byways of present-day America. Like many poets of dual heritage, Gloria's work is concerned with self-definition, with the attempt to reconcile a feeling of exile and homelessness. Frequently taking the form of character studies and first-person narratives, Gloria's poems poignantly illuminate the common man's search for connection to the self and to the world."Eugene Gloria's Drivers at the Short-Time Motel is propelled by an imagistic sincerity and paced lyricism. Each poem seems to embody the plain-spoken as well as the embellishments that we associate with classical and modern Asian poetry. Though many of the poems address the lingering hurt of cultural and economic imperialism, worlds coexist in the same skin through magical imagery. Gauged by a keen eye, history is scrutinized, but through a playful exactness. These wonderful poems are trustworthy." --Yusef Komunyaaka
The novella and five stories that make up this collection reveal the lives of immigrant families haunted by lost loves: a ghost seduces a young girl into a flooded river; a mother commands a daughter to avenge her father’s death; and in the title novella, a woman speaks from beyond the grave about her tragic marriage to an exiled musician whose own disappointments nearly destroyed their two daughters.
Collected here are poems from Ai's previous five books—Cruelty, Killing Floor, Sin, Fate, and Greed—along with seventeen new poems. Employing her trademark ferocity, these new dramatic monologues continue to mine this award-winning poet's "often brilliant" (Chicago Tribune) vision.