Today at the Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum is astoundingly beautiful. Self only realized this today, when she actually went inside. She’s such a creature of habit: for a long time, she was mad that they moved from Golden Gate Park, for she loved wandering between the de Young and the Asian Art Museum and the Academy of Sciences.

She knew it was there, of course, standing right next to the San Francisco Main Library on Larkin Street.  But not once did she ever feel moved to step inside.  She’d look at it from the sidewalk and her overall impression would be one of heaviness, gray-ness. So unlike the MOMA, which is funky and cutting edge.

The closest she’d ever come to going to an exhibit there was the recent “Lords of Samurai” exhibit (ended Sept. 20, boo).  Ever since she discovered Kurosawa, and ever since son began to enjoy the novels of Lensey Namioka (nay, ever since she took Jeffrey Mass’s courses on the Japanese bakufu, at Stanford), she’s been fascinated by this aspect of Japanese culture. But she never actually made it inside the museum, until today.

October is Filipino American History Month (Which tireless groups worked to ensure that every October is a way for us to commemmorate our history?  Self would like to offer thanks to them, whoever and wherever they are).  Today was the first time that the Asian Art Museum undertook to host an all-day event celebrating Filipino American History Month, and self knows it took a lot of hard work and coordination between many many groups of people, but self thinks the bulk of the work was done by these three:

  • Vangie Canonizado Buell, FANHS National Vice-President
  • Edwin Lozada, President of PAWAINC
  • Baylan Megino, FANHS National Assistant Secretary

If some dear blog readers are puzzled by the acronyms, here’s what they stand for:

FANHS:  Filipino American National Historic Society
PAWAINC:  Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc.

Kudos, to these three.  We are so lucky to have you enriching our community.

Self was sooo glad she and hubby presented early at the Asian Art Museum, for she caught all of Skyline prof Liza Erpelo’s student readings (and thought each and every one of them was so moving!), and the presentation for The Forbidden Book (which self owns, and which she loaned to niece when niece was writing her senior paper at Stanford. Self hadn’t known until today that the Philippine American War resulted in 650,000 Filipino deaths and 5,000 American, which is a greater number than she’s ever been led to expect), and she got to look at some of the galleries (the ones on the 3rd floor, the Indian Exhibits, were the most moving, for many of the displays depicted scenes from the Ramayana, and self found herself remembering Ying, and our trip together to Angkor Wat, when Ying explained to self the meaning of the carvings on the temples: That is a scene from the Ramayana, she said over and over)

Self kept changing her mind about what to read, she had brought both Mayor of the Roses and The Lost Language. She also saw that the Museum Store was selling copies of Field of Mirrors, the anthology Edwin Lozada edited, and self thought she might want to read the piece he published, “Isa”  (which, of all self’s recent stories, is the one she felt most excited about, when she finished, when she got it published, because it was something of an experiment)

In the end, she read excerpts from “An Unruly Heart,” filling in for the audience the parts she was skipping.

Immediately after self came Janet Stickmon, who self had not heard in quite a while, and she loved the story Janet read (Thank you, Janet, for sitting through self’s reading: she saw you in the audience, and appreciated how you listened). Self also saw Vangie Buell in the audience, and Barb and her husband Oscar, but wouldn’t you know, hubby started to get hunger pangs right then (1 p.m., and he hadn’t had breakfast), so we left to scout out a Vietnamese restaurant on Larkin Street.

It was a great event, with very good attendance. Self hopes the Asian Art Museum makes this an annual event from now on. Many, many thanks to Vangie Canonizado Buell, who invited self to read. She wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

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