Fermented foods and saying hello to strangers: Two unique arts events in Philadelphia this weekend


Sunset at the Edges (2014), acrylic painting on canvas by Mala Iqbal

There’s two unique (free!) art events in Philadelphia that are worth checking out.


As part of the First Friday reception for a new exhibit at the Asian Arts Initiative featuring work by Mala Iqbal and Matthew Lee, the are holding a community meal called “Pallets and Palate: Placing Taste, Sound and Sight“. Sample an array of fermented foods curated by Heidi Ratanvanich and Eileen Shumate.


How would the world change if everyone said “Hi” to a complete stranger? duplicate. until response., a group concept exhibition curated by Laris Kreslins attempts to answer this question.   Dozens of artists mailed artwork to unsuspecting strangers randomly selected from phone books and asked for feedback. The artwork, and the communication exchanges are on display for this exhibit.

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival Kicks Off Tomorrow!

PAAFFThe Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival kicks off tomorrow through November 22nd! They’ve got an impressive collection of films, panels and parties lined up.

I’m of course curious to see Farah Goes Bang and see what my fellow first generation Iranian American mediamakers are up to.  I’m also excited to check out this panel, Reflections on the Evolution of Asian Cultural Influences in the Hip Hop Community which includes legends like Jeff Chang and DJ Rekha.

“Worn Stories” book release party in Philly this Thursday!

The lovely fellows at All Ages Productions (producers of my web series) are hosting a free party tomorrow evening to celebrate the release of a book they made a cool trailer for–Worn Stories by Emily Spivack. The book features stories from: Greta Gerwig, Piper Kerman, Albert Maysles, John Hodgman, Marina Abromovic, Rosanne Cash, Maira Kalman, Ariel Schrag, Matt Wolf, and others

Some reasons to go to the event (in no particular order):

1. Book features stories from a cool list of people and you’ll get to hear some of them
2. There will be drinks, food and AN ICE CREAM BAR from Little Baby’s Ice Cream
3. Support art

Free in Philadelphia this Sunday: Behind the Screen with Shawn Peters

Still-Standing-Stills-2Join BlackStar Film Festival’s Artistic Director Maori Karmael Holmes for a Behind the Screen conversation with renowned cinematographer Shawn Peters on the intersection between film, music, and art.

The Brooklyn-based Peters uses light and form to tell unique stories. He has been recently recognized for his work in the Sundance selected feature film An Oversimplification of Her Beauty as well as the documentary series The Triptych. He has been a sought after eye for music videos since he burst including collaborations with Pharoah Monch,Cody ChesnuTTGregory Porter, and Esperanza Spalding. Peters also serves as the consulting Performance Producer for the Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn.

The Barnes Foundation offers free admission and programming on the first Sunday of every month. Visitors are welcome to attend talks, performances, and hands-on activities throughout the day. Tickets are limited and cannot be reserved in advance; they are available on-site starting at 9 am. First Sundays, 10 am–6 pm; programming 1–4 pm.

Free tickets can be obtained on-site at The Barnes Foundation beginning at 9 am. Advance reservations are not available for Free First Sundays. This offer is limited to tickets for two adults and two children per transaction. Tickets are limited and available on a first come-first served basis. Tickets include access to the Collection gallery, special exhibition and any programming taking place that day.

Free “Trans Literary Salon” event this Thursday

In conjunction with the 2014 Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, Leeway presents its Second Trans Literary Salon highlighting the work of emerging literary artists from a diversity of genres including poetry, fiction, memoir, and spoken word. The salon will feature readings from Annie Mok (ACG ’13), Dark Matter, Imogen Binnie, J Mase III (ACG ’07), and KOKUMỌ. Audience members are invited to bring work to share. Hosted by J Mase III. Thursday, June 12 from 7:30pm – 9:00pm at the Leeway Foundation (1315 Walnut Street, Suite 832). More details can be found here.

New Jennifer Baichwal documentary “Watermark” screens at I House Philadelphia

300589340253825120-watermark-banner.fullI haven’t seen Watermark yet so I can’t vouch for this film, but I can say that Jennifer Baichwal’s 2006 film Manufactured Landscapes–which like Watermark is a collaboration with photographer Edward Burtynsky–is one of my favorite documentaries. The film screens next Thursday at the International House. Details are available here.

Award winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, beautifully weave together diverse stories from around the globe that eloquently detail humanity’s relationship with water through the ages: how we are drawn to it, how we use it, and the magnitude of our need for this rapidly depleting resource. Full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terra-forming element and the scale of its reach. This is balanced by forays into the particular: a lingering memory of a stolen river, a mysterious figure roaming ancient rice terraces. These images, both beautiful and haunting, create a compelling global portrait that illustrates humanity’s past, present and future relationship with the natural world. In WATERMARK, the viewer is immersed in a world defined by a magnificent force of nature that we all too often take for granted – until it’s gone.