H.P. Mendoza’s San Francisco-set “Fruit Fly” closes CAAMFest Online: Heritage at Home on May 22. (Courtesy CAAMFest)

Jam-packed Asian Pacific American Heritage Month goes online

Share culture in books, food, films, fine art, music, panels

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and this year’s cultural and arts programming — presented by the APA Heritage Foundation, the Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Public Library and Center for Asian American Media — is online.

Beloved Bay Area chef Martin Yan is special guest at a Facebook live session at 6 p.m. May 7 celebrating Asian food – takeout included — also featuring Socola Chocolatier’s Wendy Lieu and cohosts Angela Pang and Chau Lam.

On May 8, San Francisco Mayor London Breed will preside over a community conversation at 4 p.m. on Facebook live.

Upcoming Facebook sessions on Thursdays include a focus on Asian Pacific American health care providers during the pandemic at 6 p.m. May 14; a video concert of new and past performances presented by SFGovTV at 6 p.m. May 21; and a program of inspirational comments by APA Heritage Month sponsors and guests at 6 p.m. May 28.

For the full lineup, visit https://apaheritage.org/.

The Asian Art Museum’s heritage month programs include online Thursday marquee shows. At 7 p.m. May 7, Ensemble Mik Nawooj, the edgy yet accessible Bay Area hip-hop and classical orchestra led by composer-artist JooWan Kim, shares and discusses it innovative style.

At 4 p.m. May 14, author Jason Bayani leads an interactive session, “Writing the Storm: Poetry in Upheaval Writing Workshop.”

At 7 p.m. May 21, “Zen and Self-Cultivation” features Rev. Takafumi Kawakami live from the Shunkoin Temple in Kyoto, Japan, leading a session in “self-cultivation and personal resilience.”

At 4 p.m. May 28, an artists’ talk called “Acting, Healing, Learning” features the museum’s head of contemporary art Abby Chen speaking with artists Jas Charanjiva, Chanel Miller and Jenifer K Wofford on how the COVID-19 crisis and rise in anti-Asian racism have affected their practices; the artists also share thoughts on how creativity can nurture positive social change. Visit https://calendar.asianart.org/

The San Francisco Public Library has extensive Asian Pacific Islander Month offerings, including a writers’ talk at 6:30 p.m. May 14 with Katya Cengel and Sieu Sean Do, whose books address experiences with the Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, as as well as Joy Ma, author of a volume with “the untold account” of the internment of 3,000 Chinese-Indians after the Sino-Indian War in 1962.

The library website features an excellent selection of Asian Pacific Islander-related reading recommendations in fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, for teens and kids and for the LGBTQ community. For details, visit https://sfpl.org/events/special-programs.

Viewers also can access films from the library’s collection as well as streaming offerings from the Center for Asian American Media, which is holding its annual film festival online from May 13-22. “CAAMFest Online: Heritage at Home” includes free online film screenings, interactive panels, watch parties and house parties featuring live performances.

The opening night film “I Will Make You Mine” (at 5 p.m. May 13) is the final part of the “Surrogate Valentine” trilogy by writer-director Lynn Chen (who also stars). The film follows three women who wrestle with life’s difficulties while confronting their past relationships with the same man. Following the screening is a party with a performance by Bay Area-bred musician Goh Nakamura.

The closing night program at 5 p.m. May 22 is a 10th anniversary screening and “Interactive Sing-A-Long (From-Your-Couch)” of fun local filmmaker H.P. Mendoza’s “Fruit Fly,” a musical about what it means to be gay and Asian in San Francisco’s Mission District, followed by a party and cast reunion.

In the spotlight at 5 p.m. May 19 is Ruby Ibarra, a Filipina American rapper, producer and spoken word artist from San Lorenzo who raps in Tagalog, Waray and English about her heritage and her experiences as an immigrant to the U.S. from the Philippines.

Filmmaker Alice Wu, whose movie “Saving Face” opened the 2005 CAAMFest, is showcased at 7 p.m. May 20 in a program about her new Asian American narrative feature, “The Half of It” on Netflix. She’ll be speaking about her career with CAAMFest Festival Director Masashi Niwano. Visit https://caamfest.com/2020/ to join the festivities.

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